Life choices

From the moment we wake up from our deep slumber, to the time we crawl back into our well made bed after a long day, we are forced to make multiple choices.

Some of these daily choices are as simple as what to have for breakfast. And for most people this choice is rather simple. Breakfast can be toast, cereal or just coffee. Personally, I get by with coffee until lunchtime, so I have one less choice to make. Then there is the tougher choice. What do we wear for the day? Jeans and tshirt work for me most days, but that’s not for everyone.

But these choices, as tough as we think they are, pale in comparison to some other choices we are faced with, and the descion we make can impact our lives, and the lives of people around us.

So as I sit here in the hospital waiting room once again in preparation for another operation, I need to make a very tough choice once I have fully recovered. Do I go back to road cycling and possibly be collected by another car, and this time, not live to tell that tale. Or do I stay on the bike path tracks and trails?

I keep getting told how truly lucky i am that I lived through a cycling accident involving a car and my carbon fiber road bike. I guess luck did play a part, and there was also lots of bad luck. But that’s in the past and I try not to dwell on it. Well, at least most of the time I don’t.

Once I recover from this operation, I need to think long abd hard if I will continue road cycling, or head back to riding tracks and trails to stay away from cars. Trucks and buses.

I know many people will say the choice is simple, get off the roads as it’s so much safer. Yes, in some ways it is, less cars and trucks and no angry cyclist hating motorists to hurl abuse and other objects at me as I ride past them.

But riding tracks and trails takes away part of the freedom road cycling offers. If I wanted to head north at a set of lights I could, or I could go whichever way I felt like heading.

On a bike trail, the options are fewer, so part of the freedom is taken away. Not that i can’t use different paths to ride on, it just takes away the one thing road bike had always offered me. Complete freedom.

In the past few months I have ridden some glorious tracks and trails. Some were easy, and in the last week i have discovered some tracks that have left me gasping for breath half way up. That’s all part of cycling.

After the operation I will have time to contemplate my future cycling routes. But right now, that seems like an eternity away.

Good to be alive

Perhaps it’s the cold morning air, or the way the wind rushes past my partially frozen face that makes me feel so alive. Or it could be the fact my heart is racing due to the pedal power involved in heading up the very first hill before i hit the dirt trail, where the track levels out and i can cruise along for a few hours at a reasonable pace without the interruptions of passing cars, trucks and busses.

It really doesn’t matter what it is that’s making me feel so alive. It’s the mere fact I am alive, and am still able to get on the bike and head out to destinations unknown. And if not a destination unknown, a very familiar track, like an old friend, waiting with open arms to take me back. No questions asked.

And that’s what we all need in our lives, that friend that will welcome us back with a tight hug and a warm smile. No matter how many miles have passed, No questions asked, as no answer is needed. Just knowing that all is good in the world, at least for that moment in time when sharing a coffee, and a laugh.

I would hate to try and live life without someone close to share a laugh, or to unload my thoughts, fears and even my tears with. Oh, and for me, life without coffee would make the world a much harder place to live, but not impossible. There is always a cuppa tea.

You never miss the life you don’t live.

As I sat at my desk surrounded by a few workmates and discussed what we were having for lunch, one of them jokingly suggested a healthy salad. It didn’t bother me as I already had my tuna and kale salad, packed and ready to be devoured with much gusto.

So during the very heated food discussion, the topic of buying pork crackling from Mr Crackle came up, and very quickly had us all salivating at the mere thought of devouring a bucket load of perfectly fried crackling to accompany our salads.

It was then that the healthy side of my brain crawled out from where it normally hibernates and piped up and said ‘That will take off a few years of our lives’.

The response I got back from one of my colleagues was one that made my head spin. ‘You never miss the life you don’t live’. And it did get me thinking.

We live for the future and what we can do with ourselves down the track. We look forward to our next weekend, our next holiday or our next fishing trip. Some of us even look forward to our next 100km ride (Sad, but true).

But what happens if we don’t get to that weekend, that trip or even that ride? We have no idea what lays install for us in the next moment, let alone in a year’s time.

We need to make the most of the very limited time we have while we are living and breathing. Being six foot under doesn’t count as time well spent on this blue/green planet of ours.

The time we do have is time we need to make the most of. I know I have said it before in my previous blog, Two dates and a dash, but essentially, that’s all our lives will be if we continue to look so far down the beaten track, that we don’t make the most of the time we have now. Not next year, not next month. Not even tomorrow. Now is the time.

If there is ever a time to get up and do something you know will put a smile on your face, make you drool with delight, or even make your heart skip a beat. Just do it. Do it now and don’t hesitate for a single second.

Don’t just make plans for what you want to do later in life. Now is the time.

It takes guts – to leave the ruts

As time progresses, all of us become very comfortable in the way we do things, the way we live and the situations we end up putting up with for much longer than we really should.

I understand this is human nature and once we are in a comfortable rut, we don’t make a huge effort to change the situation. If any effort at all. Even though we know there is something better and another way to move forward in our lives and not be stuck in the same place just spinning our wheels and not going anywhere.

I have discovered that even the simplest of things in life become second nature to us. But what has really happened is that a rut has set in. It’s something that slowly happens over time and we don’t realize until it’s either pointed out to us or the realisation hits us like a ton of bricks.

It can be as simple as taking the same running route every time you head out for a walk or a run. I have noticed that with my walks and runs. I now take the same route when I head out in my running gear.

Not that the path I take is any easier than others in my area, I know that turning left at the first street would be less hilly for the first few kilometres and then I would get the hills, rather than struggle with hills at the start of the run. I would still be covering the same distance, but I would have some slightly different scenery as I puff and pant my way through the run.

The same applies when I head out on my road bike. I can go anywhere I want and end up in so many wonderful locations and see sights I have never seen before whilst out cycling. The world is truly my oyster. But after checking my Strava account, it really seems that I am a true creature of habit.

I have logged hundreds and hundreds of rides over the years, but a majority of them seem to take a very similar path. There may be a slight detour here and there, but the end destination is the same for more than 95% of my rides. Boring perhaps?

It’s not that I don’t have an adventurous streak in me, I know that’s there and has been proven on many occasions, some occasions more stupid than others, but it’s there, waiting to be set free on a regular basis.

Then there is the daily grind which can easily become a rut as we don’t make an effort for ourselves and for our family and partners. The people who mean the most to us also become a rut. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Getting out of a rut that has well and truly set in takes effort. Sometimes a lot of effort. It’s not going to happen on its own. We need to make a conscious effort and get off our butts and take the first step to leave the rut behind.

That one first step becomes two steps. Two steps become four. And before we know it, the rut we were in so far behind us we can’t see it anymore.

As simple as it sounds, it will take effort. If the rut that has set in involves more than one person and has just about been set in stone, effort and patience is required. By the truck load.

In the end, we are the only ones who can pull ourselves out of a rut that is holding us back from achieving greatness.

We owe it to ourselves to to keep moving forward and leave the ruts behind.