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