My new hoop came in from Velocity Wheels so I decided to ride it up to the shop rather than drive it up there… I get bored with driving, I do it a lot. Of course, I ride a lot too, but I never tire of that.
Now, if you look at my Venge on the “My Bikes” page, you’ll see some sharp looking Vuelta Corsa SLR wheels on the bike… You may be wondering why I switched to Velocity for a new hoop. Well, I busted my rear rim on a pothole during DALMAC. Unfortunately, Nashbar only will sell a full set of two wheels (rims [or hoops], spokes, hubs). They won’t be bothered to part with one hoop, so rather than blow another $360 on a new set of wheels, I just bought a hoop, the closest thing Velocity had, and I’ll just have the new hoop relaced with the old spokes and hub… I’ll save $220 and end up with a better, sturdier (if slightly heavier) wheel.
So I’m riding the five miles and change to the shop, my new hoop slung around my shoulder and down the opposite hip, one hand on the bar top, the other on the hoop to keep it in place, at better than 18 mph, and I’m smiling at nothing.
I tend to smile a lot when I ride a bike…
I get to the shop and find out I won’t have to shill for new spokes (
probably I wont, they worked) because the two rims are so close, the wheel builder thinks it’ll be just fine.
Matt was chuckling at me and asked if I’d gotten anything done, being in the shop twice already… Of course I had, when you wake up at four in the morning, you’ve got an eight hour day in at noon. I’d already put a number on, and secured, an upscale steakhouse in Ann Arbor and let him in on that. I chuckled and said, who knows, I’m doing well right now, Christmas might come early and I’ll have you order me up those Roval 40’s before Mike gets that hoop laced up. He said, “Man, every day seems like Christmas for you”.
I laughed and said, “You know what? You’re right. It’s close.”
I left, hopped back on my bike and pedaled off to nowhere in particular, contemplating the neatness of Heaven on Earth, or at least my approximation of it. Lovely wife, awesome kids, good job, lots of cycling with my buds… I gotta admit, it’s good.
Of course, that’s just the outside… Nobody, especially the owner of the bike shop, sees the stress, the hard work, the sweat. One company I did work for stole $40,000 from me last year. I took the word of a close business mentor that they were okay to work for. He was mistaken. I had some other good jobs that made up for it though, and things worked out…and I definitely learned my lesson. Point is, it’s not all good times and noodle salad, but things seem to work out okay in the end. Or they have so far anyway.
I’ve been working with a sponsor on the “Back to Basics” of the Twelve Steps and I needed it. Technically, I’m co-chairing the program, and it’s kinda cool, being in that chair as an old-timer, so young. Exactly what I needed. We’re working with some very new people and to see that kind of raw fear and pain in them… It really takes me back to the bad old days.
I remember that fear, terror really, about the unforseen future. The horror of contemplating cleaning up the wreckage of my past. The fear of choosing a life without alcohol or any form of escape. Working with newly recovering people brings that all back, but in a good context.
I know how that Act closes. I made it, simply by having a little faith in a Power greater than myself, not drinking, working a few simple steps, changing the manner in which I process thoughts… And by doing the next right thing at any given moment.
That Act in the Play closes with me riding my bike, smile on my face, wind in my hair (through my helmet vents of course), plenty of cares in the world but knowing I’ll be okay. God has shown me He’s got my back and I have faith that if I do the next right thing, at any given moment, things will continue to get better.
In short, my thinking has changed. What used to be waiting for the other shoe to drop, envy, greed, gluttony… Has become positive action, gratitude, contentment, and giving it away to keep it.
It is Christmas every day for me, it’s just not how most people think Christmas looks nowadays. I’m good with that though.
I am grateful for what I am, for what has been taken away, and for what is left. I’m thankful for being saved from the hell I created.
All too often I see people trying to find shortcuts, to find an easier, softer way. Too often I hear people complain that it’s not fair, that it’s too hard, that someone else has it easier! Envy, that is. Greed, that is. Self-centered. The beliefs that it’s not fair or that someone else had it easier are poison. The poison to happiness. Doing what’s right and good, no matter how hard, is always the easiest, softest way.
To test this theory I need only look back on those times when I said or thought “it’s not fair” and ask myself, “In all of that time, did it ever become more fair because I thought it wasn’t? Did complaining ever fix anything? Did coveting someone else’s “ease in life” ever make mine better?” Of course not.
Were he alive, my dad would add: “Weigh that jealousy in one hand and shit in the other… Tell me which fills first.”
My life only got better when I did the easy thing and quit looking for the easy way out.