Saturday, July 31, 2021
We moved to Prince Edward Island in September of 1992. My first real job. I had just turned 24. Before the bridge. Young and naïve. Overworked and underpaid. In so many ways, such a rude awakening. Real life. My wife (fiancé at the time) was going through a tough time personally. And I also felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. I was homesick. I made new friends in PEI but still never really felt like an “islander”. I also didn’t fit in with my old friends back home anymore either. In no man’s land. Back and forth. Our jobs were on the island, but most of the living part of our lives was still in New Brunswick. We stayed for 4 years. Ever since then I have mixed feelings every time I go back. Certain old unprocessed distressing emotions from this time resurfacing. Revisiting outside making me also revisit inside. I’ve been wanting to ride the Confederation Trail for years now. A 449 kilometers network of gravel paths built on the old railway bed that run the full length of the island. No cars. No ATVs. Bikers, walkers and runners only. Gravel heaven really. Last Sunday, my Giant Revolt and I hopped on the trail in Charlottetown. Perfect weather. At my own perfect pace. Through quaint island towns. In no man’s land in between. Almost to Summerside. Back towards Borden through Kensington. 113 kilometers. As I get older, my PEI visits have slowly become more and more therapeutic for me in so many ways. Something about now knowing what my younger self didn’t know 29 years ago. Something about being mature enough to cherish the slower pace of life. Appreciate the simplicity. Feeling lighter. As much as I wanted out 25 years ago when we moved back, now I long for that island tranquility. Out there, on my bike, I rode with my younger self and brought him home.
Friday, July 23, 2021
I have been alive on this earth for over 1.6 trillion seconds. For over 1.6 trillion moments. Where did they all go? So many wasted. So many simply endured. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting for the nice weather. Waiting to graduate. Waiting for the next big thing. So much time squandered paying my dues. So many of these moments exhausted as a means to a thought to be better future end. Our entire lives are really but a series of moments. Forever fleeting. Forever passing us by. What can we do? We’re taught to make every moment count. But what if we simply focus on making all moments equal? What if we stop giving more importance to certain moments than others? What if we stop cheating ourselves of so many present moments? Looking back, as a child there was always something to look forward to. Summer vacation. Christmas. Birthdays. But, for some reason, I didn’t dull or minimize the other moments as much as I do now as an adult. I didn’t try to set myself up for bigger moments. I simply lived more moment by moment. That’s one thing that I hate about bucket lists. They reduce life to too few moments. Living a good life isn’t just in the highlights. It’s everything in between. I rode out to Sackville twice this past week. Nothing special. Just me and my bike. Two different bakery cafes. Reminding myself that we’re all always running out of moments every single moment. Savor this very moment. No one knows how many we have left.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
I recently read that extreme or ultra-independence is a trauma response. This really spoke to me. So many dots connected. Society tends to look at independence as strength. Reading this made me look at it differently. It also made me look back at my own life as a sexual abuse survivor. I definitely recognize a shift that happened inside of me when it all happened where I felt a very strong need to learn how to do everything myself. Maybe from a lack of trust? Or more likely as a means to try to control. I mostly ride alone. Something about making my rides more personal I guess. I’m always riding at the ideal pace. I’m never waiting for anyone or trying to catch up. And then there’s also the necessity to be self-sufficient in the case of a mechanical. Carrying the right stuff. Not too much. Just enough to get you home safely. I guess you could say that I’m very independent like that. I hate over-complicating things. I hate drama. Whenever I feel like getting out for a ride I usually just go. By myself. Keep it simple. This past week on vacation I rode every day. Over 250 kilometers on all the different bikes. Six out of seven days solo. I’m working on letting others in and accepting help when I need it. But I’m still very much okay with my extreme riding independence.
Monday, July 5, 2021
“We have two lives. The second begins when we realize we only have one.” – Confucius
My second life started 5 years ago today. My last race. I almost didn’t go. I just wasn’t feeling it. Bell lap. That rooty downhill. Too tired to be descending that fast. My hand slipped. The helmet didn’t break. A minor concussion they said. Everything should be back to normal in a week or so. But it wasn’t. It still isn’t. Certain changes in my brain chemistry. A rewiring of sorts. A hard reset. Most everyone doesn’t realize how much that crash has changed me. There is the me before. And there is the me after. Two different people. I can’t explain it any other way. The impact of my fall changing the vibrational frequency of every single cell in my body. Killing me and bringing me back to life. Shattering my ego. Waking me up. Completely smashing me wide open. All of my past trauma fully exposed. Working on myself. The daunting task of cleaning up this mess. Letting the old me wither and die. Releasing what wasn’t mine to carry in the first place. Healing. Better than I was before. Happier. Heartfelt happiness unlike the short moments of elation that I was constantly chasing before, always right there but still forever fleeting. Deep-rooted. A knowing that everything is going to be OK in the end. The courage to change what I have the power to change. Some days are amazingly good. Other days are still painfully difficult. A new mental health perspective slowly gained. And, through it all, the one thing that I am certain about is that I like me better the second time around.