Be your own champion

While watching a documentary on the band Queen, they spoke about the songs, “We will rock you” and “We are the champions”. Both songs are now used at the end of major sporting events. There will only be one champion. One winner.

But in life, this is not always the case. Being number 1 is not something we all strive for in our lives. It’s not that we want to be at the bottom of the barrel, but we don’t feel the need to prove ourselves to anyone else.

The only person we need to better is ourselves. In sports, or at work, I do my best and that’s what gets me out of bed every morning. On the bike I chase down my PBs and strive to break one every time I get on the track. At work, it’s the same, I strive to do better than I did the day before. Sometimes easier said than done.

The only way to be a winner in life is to be honest with oneself. If we can do this on a daily basis we will continue to move in the right direction. It’s the moment we begin to lie to ourselves that everything is OK, then we head down the rabbit hole and never find our way out.

If we want to be a champion, we need to look deep into our own lives and not try to work out anyone else’s life. Our own life is complicated enough without delving into another’s life.

It’s high time to delve into what we really want, and what will make us a champion of our own life. Don’t wait another moment as tomorrow may never come.

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.

Never be defined by tragedy. Let it shape you.

When something disastrous happens to us, the very first thing we do is to think, why did this happen to me? What have I done to deserve this?

But in reality, there may have been nothing we could have done to have avoided the situation. Sometimes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time is more than enough for disaster to strike.

So in saying this, I know first hand what it feels like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just because I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. I still came out second best when a car cut in front of me as I cycled down along the peninsula on a morning ride.

Metal crashing against metal is one of the loudest sounds I can recall. Especially when the action was upon me and not in the distance.

Having survived a serious cycling accident involving a car, I was devastated and very much broken. Not just physically, but mentally. And in many ways, emotionally.

In this time of darkness, I could have taken the easy way out and given up and not pushed through the pain and frustration. I could have stayed in bed, feeling very sad and sorry for myself for the situation which had been thrust upon me.

But I didn’t. I suffered through every single day until I was able to get out of bed on my own and then fend for myself once again. One step at a time. Slowly I wandered out of the house and to the end of the driveway. Then to the end of the street. And finally around the block.

I’m back to a point now that I am able to complete 10km run and not suffer all that much the next day. I still hurt, but its it’s a good hurt.

What did happen to me has changed the way in which I see things, and it has shaped my life in a way I didn’t expect. It changed the way I look at things and the people around me. I see good in people where others don’t see the same thing.

I see a sunrise in ways that some people would say its it’s just another morning. The way in which I see a sunset is also very different now than it was back then.

It’s because I am still able to enjoy those simple pleasures that are taken for granted.

I no longer try to take life so serious as all it does is add to the frustrations I already have to put up with on a daily basis as I continue to recover.

The biggest tragedy would have been if I had given up at the beginning, and not continued with my life journey.

My journey had taken a few detours, and there are more ahead. But I’m happy that I have the opportunity to take on the detours that life throws my way.

Life is a journey, not a destination

From the time we expel our first ear shattering cry a few moments after we are born, until the day we take our last breath, our life is one long and very complicated journey. There is no doubt about it, our destination is already set in stone, as we will all end up in a pine box, six feet beneath the surface of the earth.

Our journey through life will have many twists and turns, as well as a few detours. It will take us to such dizzying heights that are so breathtaking we can only look down and wonder how we will plant our feet back on terra firma.

Then there are the lows in our life travels, the ones that leave us gasping for breath and make us think we are drowning in a world of lies, deceit, hate and misery. We sometimes think we can’t sink any lower, but we are so far from the truth. The lows in our lives go deeper than we can fully understand, or even believe.

In the middle of all of the twists and turns throughout our journey, we come across enough forks in the road to fill an oversized cutlery drawer. These forks offer us the opportunity to take a different path from the one we are traveling. They make us think about what we truly want, need and desire for the next part of life’s journey.

There are no right and wrong directions we take once we hit a fork in life, they are just that. A different direction. A direction that will continue until we are presented with another fork, and another decision to make.

My own journey in life has had twists, turns and a few detours thrown in. It has also included a number of speed humps and some potholes which were deeper than they looked.

The speed humps have certainly rattled my body and given me a decent shakeup. In reality they should have slowed me down and made me proceed with extreme caution. But alas, they jarred my back and sent pain throughout my body. But the slowing down part hasn’t lasted forever.

The most important lesson I learnt from the speed humps was to ensure my suspension should be always be up to scratch. And not let something as small as a hump in my travels stop me from doing what I want in life. Because if i did stop, it would be downhill for the rest of my life’s journey.

As for the potholes I have fallen into, they have done more than buckle a wheel or two, they have sent me into dark places where very little light shone through. And when light managed to circumnavigate the depths of the pothole, it was of very little use.

And with every pothole I hit, I realised how much more time and effort it required to crawl out from. Each one sapping more energy, and seemingly bigger and deeper than the one before.

In the end, it would have been easier to accept the dark depths of the pothole as the last part of the journey and all allow it to be the only presence in my life.

But then, that’s not how I operate and my internal programming is not set to self destruct. I haven’t given up yet and I can’t see that happening during my journey. Each twist, turn, detour, speed hump or pothole gives me another reason to plough through and continue, onwards and upwards.