Matt Barlee shares with us a personal story on why it is important to live in the present and not the future.
“I posted the above photo on Magic Places social media with the caption ‘This is why we ride.’ I wasn’t referring to the stunning landscape, but instead to the belief that if I didn’t make the opportunity to get to Hawaii and ride the West Maui Loop, then I may never have the chance again”
Sorry Dad, you were wrong.
I just returned from a short bike trip to Maui that was spontaneously spurred on by a number of reasons. Although there were disparate reasons for making the decision to book the flights, they all coalesced to a single point which I realized as I sat gasping in the thin air after reaching the volcano summit of Haleakala…
Sure, who wouldn’t want a short tropical getaway before the mayhem of the holidays, but in truth, we just wanted a break from the stress of an impending move, I had always wanted to ride the famed Maui roads, and I needed a distraction from the looming 1-yr anniversary of my father’s passing. All pretty damned valid reasons to escape, I thought, but as the days passed, a single, salient point revealed itself to me – Dad was an idiot.
I grew up in the stereotypical Canadian nuclear family – a hardworking and enterprising father who supported Mom and us four kids. Vacations were rarely further afield than a couple of tanks of gas because we lived in BC, so you didn’t need to travel far to see some pretty cool stuff. Having grown up through the depression, my folks had a very strong sense of ‘saving for a rainy day’ and if they worked hard, the easy life would come upon retirement, when they could kick back, snowbird down south, and maybe even see some of the world with their free time. Cancer had a different plan.
Dad was one of the most well-read, intelligent men I’ve ever known and he placed great importance on ensuring that I valued knowledge and learning as well. Yet the decision to put off travel and its associated life experiences until retirement was one that ultimately cost both my parents many lost opportunities. Wait for retirement? Fuck that.
I posted the above photo on Magic Places social media with the caption ‘This is why we ride.’ I wasn’t referring to the stunning landscape, but instead to the belief that if I didn’t make the opportunity to get to Hawaii and ride the West Maui Loop, then I may never have the chance again. We see reminders each and every day around us that demonstrate how uncertain and fragile our futures are, so why would you wait? Will you be younger? Healthier?
We can always, always find justification to squander even the most enticing of adventures before the wheels even get rolling. I can’t afford it. I can’t find the time. It’s too selfish of me. All very justifiable excuses, but personally I wish that instead of leaving their kids an inheritance, my folks had spent the money, been more ‘selfish’ and taken the opportunity for adventure when they could.
An old national teammate, Svein Tuft, has a tattoo on his forearm reading ‘We will never be here again’ as a constant reminder that we only have now. He’s lived his life by this motto, and the rest of us should aspire to do the same.