Monday, November 9

Busting stress with riding time...

By Wednesday of last week, I had already worked nearly 40 hours. In an economic context where many people are experiencing hard times, it's difficult to complain about work. Some people are impatient and simply don't want to hear it; they are likely to tell you things like, "Just be glad you have a job." Or, "At least you're not unemployed." And,, "You're blessed to have a paycheck coming in." I understand these sentiments--though times are not lost on me. Still, responses like this are annoying. In fact, they are lame and thoughtless. Yes, relative to many situations, I'm doing well. Personally, life isn't a relative matter IMHO! I never feel better knowing that someone else feels worse. One's pain isn't lessened knowing that someone else's is greater. To offer, "Well, it could be worst, you could be unemployed," or, just be happy that you have a roof overhead," is to buy into a form of self-denial that devalues one's reality. It's sort of like saying, something I heard on television. A woman was saying that she knew her husband was a cheater but at least he didn't beat or abused her like some husbands did. What??? That is just insane! I think we all feel a little better when we feel heard.

I am acknowledging that the events in my life, at the moment, are making me nutz! So excuse me while I rant a bit about time and how little I feel I have to experience joy. I'm exhausted from work. Riding the 'cycle is a stress buster for which I've always made time. But on days when I've arrived home at 11:30pm after having arrived at the office at 7:00am that morning (or before), I have little energy to do anything. I have forced more late night rides than I care to count, but I know when I'm really pushing that envelope to the danger point. That was an awful work week. I fired up the bike only for grocery shopping.

Given that winter is knocking on fall's door, I want to take advantage of every ride-worthy day that comes my way. I've loved my 33 degree F morning rides! But I won't mount the bike if I'm exhausted. I'm spending too much of my time doing things that rob me of spending time doing the things I love. I used to own my own business and each year since reminds me of how much I miss that freedom. I definitely worked harder then but I loved every minute of being able to exercise control over my time.

The weather in Chicagoland this past weekend reached the low to mid 70sF! Motorcyclists were out and about. Prior to the weekend, the roads had been lonely on those cold morning rides. Finally having others to wave to made me think of spring rather than Thanksgiving. Didn't do nearly as much riding as I wanted this past weekend but I did enough to give me that rider-rush I seek. Saturday, I had no destination in mind. My main ride consisted of riding Dave's GS home for him. Sunday, I took a trip to an arboretum to be alone and reconnect with nature. Hundreds of other people had the same idea but the vast grounds hummed with people on foot, bikes, and in cars. Sunday was heavenly.

I was able to get my fix in. One of the best things about motorcycle riding is the need to be singularly focused on the ride. When I am, I strive to that place where I can feel myself zooming in on the ride and zooming out distracting clutter like the mental noise that a stressful job can produce. Work becomes a non-issue. Those who don't ride might not understand this, but riding a motorcycle is a most relaxing activity--even when I'm stuck in traffic. To ride well and safely, I need to block out all those things that tax the cells and clog the immune system. I enjoy that motorcycling demands sharp attention. I feel both alive and extra worldly when the riding seems automatic, the gear changing is smooth, my lower body moves my hips effortlessly to maneuver the bike, I'm relax--there's just nothing like it. Old, lightly traveled county roads, with tall cornstalks lining each roadside, have become genial, hiding places for weekend solo retreats. These rides are time well spent; they save me from appearing in the headline news--if you get my drift!

Time. It is elusive. We all have the same amount yet we use it differently. I had a woman tell me that she was bored and had nothing to do. I tried hard to understand her. I have been bored before; but never, to my knowledge, have I ever had nothing to do. I will continue to try to reign in my time robbers--even though the biggest one is the one I have the least amount of control over. Oh well...

For November, my time now includes Nanowrimo. By the end of the day, I will have over 18,000 words toward the 50,000 needed to crank out the first draft of a novel. If this amazing and strangely warm weather continues, I smell a weekend trip in the air.

I will not take time for it.

I will MAKE time for it.

Safe riding


Chris said...

You must be in my head! I agree with you entirely about the zen-like state that concentrating on the ride creates.

Great description in the "One of the best things about motorcycling..." I've been thinking of writing something very similar on my own blog.

Keep riding!
Everyday Riding

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I'm in your head and everything looks great--all brain functions appear top notch! ;-)

I am looking forward to your musings on capturing what it is like and means to be on two wheels.

cpa3485 said...

You express so very well so many thoughts I have had about motorcycling demanding sharp attention. I haven't been able to come up with a way to express it so clearly how those feelings work and what they mean.
Those are also some very nice pictures.

Unknown said...

to Sharon, my BFF:

You are so perceptive and usually right in realizing that if you can't give riding your undivided attention, then you shouldn't. I ignored the warning signs not long ago and after much thought have come to realize that my minor mishap could have been severe. I think it had to do with blood sugar levels and lack of good nourishment before I left home causing me some disorientation.

Can I presume that those pictures were taken with your new D300 ? My friend is selling his D300 when his D700 arrives, and I'm still thinking about it. I really wanted something smaller, not bigger.

take care
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

irondad said...

My ears are open. Rant all you want! You're right. Comparing things to something worse doesn't make it better.

That's one tough looking squirrel, by the way.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner (Sharon):

I wondered what had happened to you, and figured work had you on the ropes. I didn't want to intrude. I have been wanting to write you a letter for so long (from one professional to another), but have fallen into the trap of believing that nothing I can say is of any immediate importance and I am writing to convey something that only I think is important.

That stops me dead in my tracks every time. Furthermore, to another writer under the gun, getting something that requires an answer of any length or coherence is like getting punched, especially if it robs two minutes from something else you'd rather be doing.

It was 70ยบ here on Sunday too. I rode to ocean... Ate seafood... And had a couple of drinks to the last hurray of the warm weather.

I have decided to put my own priorities first for the recovery. No one will ever pull the rug out friom under me ever again.

Let me know when you decided to ride to Gettysburg or Valley Forge.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Thanks. I think you should work on getting your words out about this too. We're the ones who can make others understand and the more voices doing so the better. Take care.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...


That roller coaster blood sugar will get us if we don't watch it. Thing is, by the time we figure something isn't right, it's usually too late!

Yes, those pics are with the D300--I'm not happy with the calibration of my computer because it doesn't pick up how amazing the files really are. The RAW files on my D300 are better, more colorful than the RAW files on my D80--still, the D80 is a great camera and I continue to use it too.

I understand about wanting something smaller. I'm thinking of developing my skills in architectural photography and needed something a bit better and bigger.

For small, have you checked out the Leica d-lux 4, panasonic lx (it is the same camera as the Leica--but without the great Leica resale value). I've heard great things about the Ricoh GRD III--I've put it on my Santa list--only thing is, Santa thinks I have too many cameras. But I've been so good this year!

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...


Thanks! I really felt a bit guilty and self-absorbed complaining. Thanks for your support.

BTW, that squirrel stood his/her ground when I walked by and turned to watch me as I passed. It was evidently gathering food for the winter and was not about to take any shenanigans from a human! I definitely toed the line.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...


You are never intruding! I am always glad to hear from you. The stress of work has settled in my lower back and it is giving me pure hell.

70degrees--sounds like heaven. A ride to the Ocean--even more heaven. Lucky you! We've had some nice weather here too--but rather up and down. I'm taking it as it comes.

Rug pulling---you are so right. The days of us even thinking that we are safe on a job are long over. We will not stay at a place long enough to retire. We must come up with multiple streams of income or we will be left out in the cold.

Jack, you are a fab writer and humorist. Whenever I hear an essay on NPR, I think of you. Your material is great read and spoken--I know, 'cause I've read it aloud to friends and often have to stop for them to laugh and catch their breath.

Life is too short. We've got to find a way through in one piece...

Best to you. Hang in there. And, again. I'd never see you reaching out as intruding.

Your friend, Sharon