Hard to believe, huh? Another year blown by and I hardly remember blinking. Haven’t you always heard “time flies when you’re having fun”? Well, trust me .. it’s exactly the same when you’re broke, depressed and miserable! And I’m guessing with the present state of our economy, more of us can identify with the latter premise than not. So, now that we’re all on the same wavelength .. let me at least try to put a smile on your face for the moment. There’s plenty of time for all that other depressing crap later.
I guess for some people .. the end of the year brings about the traditional “New Year’s Resolution”, whereby statistics show over a third of those “resolutions” are broken within the first two months and over three-fourths have completely evaporated by year’s end.
More specifically, 45% of Americans usually set NYR’s; 17% infrequently set them and 38% absolutely never set them. Only 8% of people are always successful in achieving their resolutions. 19% achieve them every other year; 49% have infrequent success, but 24% never succeed and have failed on every resolution every year! Simply put .. 3 out of 4 people almost never succeed.
It appears that the younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve your resolutions. The less happy you are, the more likely you are to set a New Year’s Resolution. 41% are not happy, 34% are moderately happy, and 25% are happy. But the kicker is this: there is NO correlation between happiness and resolution setting/success. People who achieve their resolutions every year are NO happier than those who do not set resolutions or who are unsuccessful in achieving them.
A bit of Google research garnered these specific results, so if you don’t agree with the stats, don’t blame me. The Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ compiled the tid-bits, and their survey has a margin of error of 3%. Whoop-ti-doo, huh?
On New Years Day, and by using MY simple deductive reasoning in relation to making a “resolution” .. my thoughts are this: If I have a 75% chance of NOT achieving a goal, and it has absolutely NO effect on my happiness one way or the other a year down the road .. what can I do to improve my level of happiness TODAY , rather than thinking my happiness lies in the future?
The answer to that query is rather simple .. get Bosco out of the garage and go for a scoot. That’s been the tradition for many years .. regardless of the weather. I can even remember years that I had to shovel a pathway through knee-deep snow just to get to the road .. and then it was a sloppy mess until I got to a main highway where traffic had at least made the “balancing-act” odds a tad bit more in my favor. Then I’d meet up with some of my biker friends at “The Mouse” in Yorktown and we’d all laugh and debate whether we were so “cool” or just plain “stupid” for taking the risk. Trust me .. it’s always worth it .. and it’s the perfect excuse to spend the necessary hours removing the road salt and detailing every square inch before storage.
While I’m out with my face in the wind .. it’s a good time to reflect on the year past. And, assuredly, this “contemplation and reflection” will run the gambit of tears and laughter. One of this year’s most significant fact I pondered was that in the last 24 months alone, I’ve had sixteen (yep, that’s 16!) close friends, including my own father, die from an array of reasons. A variety of health maladies are easier to understand than accidents, suicides, and even choking to death on a stupid piece of steak .. but it sure gives me more fodder for contemplation.
And when someone refused to quit smoking when he only had a 17% lung capacity due to COPD & emphysema, I’ve created a whole new category for him: “compromising health suicide”. I may not be a smoker .. but who am I to judge? The fact remains, I do miss his intellect and stimulating conversations. And at this moment, he makes me laugh when I just realized I labeled him as an “intellectual smoker” .. who’s the dummy now?
It’s no surprise that so many resolutions end up broken .. people are generally weak .. and rarely follow through with “good intentions”. By and large, a person’s word today carries less weight than it ever did .. as deceit and deception have become the norm in political and business dealings. Is it any wonder our everyday existence has become such a dilemma?
James T. McKay said, “tomorrow .. you promise yourself will be different .. yet tomorrow is too often a repetition of today”. People reflect upon their past .. and may “wish” things are different in the future .. but sometimes, to see the future .. you have to turn your back on the past.
Too often, people spend so much time dwelling on the past that they miss living today. Unfortunately, every journey into the past is complicated by delusions and false memories .. that’s just the way it is. People lie to themselves .. and if they do it long enough .. they’ll soon convince themselves that their version of the truth is, in fact, real. I believe that if you want to have a future .. you have to make amends with your past .. or at least, try.
Over the last several years .. I’ve written and collected many other biker’s thoughts and anecdotes from various magazines that I’d like to pass along as “food for thought” for the new year. I’m quite sure you’ll relate to many of them.
“Lessons from an Old Biker”
You only live once, don’t leave it covered in the garage.
Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.
Life may begin at 30, but it doesn’t get real interesting until about 70mph.
You start the years of life with a full pot o’ luck and an empty pot of experience .. the object is to fill the pot of experience before you empty the pot of luck.
If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
Midnight bugs taste just as bad as noon-time bugs.
Saddlebags can never hold everything you want, but they CAN hold everything you need.
It takes more love to share the saddle than it does to share the bed.
The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rearview mirror.
Never be afraid to slow down.
Don’t ride so late into the night that you sleep through the sunrise.
Sometimes it takes a whole tank full of fuel before you can think straight.
Riding faster than everyone else only guarantees you’ll ride alone.
Never hesitate to ride past the last street light at the edge of town.
Never do less than forty miles before breakfast.
If you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride.
A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.
Respect the person who has seen the dark side of motorcycling and lived.
Young riders pick a destination and go .. Old riders pick a direction and go.
A good mechanic will let you watch without charging you for it.
Sometimes the fastest way to get there is to stop for the night.
Always back your bike into the curb, and sit where you can see it.
Work to ride & ride to work.
Whatever it is, it’s better in the wind.
Two-lane blacktop isn’t a highway .. it’s an attitude.
When you look down the road, it seems to never end .. but you better believe, it does!
Winter is nature’s way of telling you to polish your bike.
Keep your bike in good repair: Motorcycle boots are NOT comfortable for walking.
People are like motorcycles: each is customized a bit differently.
Sometimes, the best communication happens when you’re on separate bikes.
Good coffee should be indistinguishable from 50 weight motor oil.
The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.
When you’re riding lead, don’t spit.
Catching a yellow jacket in your shirt @ 70mph can double your vocabulary.
If you want to get somewhere before sundown, you can’t stop at every tavern.
There’s something ugly about a NEW bike on a trailer.
Don’t lead the pack if you don’t know where you’re going.
Practice wrenching on your own bike.
Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don’t. Some can’t.
Don’t argue with an 18-wheeler.
Never be ashamed to unlearn an old habit.
A good long ride can clear your mind, restore your faith, and use up a lot of fuel.
If you can’t get it going with bungee cords and electrician’s tape, it’s serious.
If you ride like there’s no tomorrow, there won’t be.
Bikes parked out front mean good chicken-fried steak inside.
There are drunk riders. There are old riders. There are NO old, drunk riders.
Thin leather looks good in the bar, but it won’t save your butt from “road rash” if you go down.
The best modifications cannot be seen from the outside.
Always replace the cheapest parts first.
You can forget what you do for a living when your knees are in the breeze.
Patience is the ability to keep your motor idling.
Only a Biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.
There are two types of people in this world, people who ride motorcycles and people who wish they could ride motorcycles.
Never try to race an old geezer, he may have one more gear than you. (Now, I have SIX!)
The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.
And lastly, a friend is someone who’ll get out of bed at 2am to drive his pickup in the middle of nowhere to get you when you’re broken down.
And with that “lesson” .. I’m reminded of the time my cherished “brother”, Terry Hunter, came to my rescue in the wee hours of the morning out in the middle of nowhere. A little over ten years ago, in fact, an electrical problem completely zapped my battery. Lights dimmed out and Bosco rolled to a slow death. Luckily I had a spare battery, but it was sitting on my workbench at home .. so Terry came to my rescue. He first retrieved the battery then held the flashlight while I changed it out. I knew I’d have enough juice in it to get me home .. but he followed me just to be sure.
That’s a lesson in “Character” that one never forgets .. as it speaks volumes about the type of person he is at his very core. What’s not the least bit surprising, is that his amazing son and daughter, Brad & Krista, are undeniably cut from the same cloth. Without a doubt, either one would do anything possible for friend or family .. no matter what time of day or personal sacrifice was required. I’m certain that what he instilled in their character from childhood has now passed to the five children between them. I love them all dearly .. and to this day, they never fail to exchange Christmas cards or periodic email. That’s character.
With a New Year and a new riding season ahead of you .. I won’t tell you to make a “resolution” .. but I will remind you to learn from your past. With winter coming upon us .. remember “isolation fosters depression” .. so get up, get out and get going. You’ll feel a whole lot better for doing it.
Mao Sou said “when I let go of what I am .. I become what I might be”. And I’m a firm believer that it’s never too late to become what you might have been, or to reach out and touch those you love before it’s too late. If I was reminded of anything at all this last year .. it’s that this Life IS so very short .. especially when our sole connection to this earth at times is only about six square inches of rubber .. and the speed at which we fly through it is actually irrelevant .. it’s always too fast. But to me .. it’s no more precarious than hurling through space into the unknown on a spinning rock filled with molten lava .. and isn’t that basically what we’re all doing?
Until next time .. ride smart .. ride safe
and the Adventure continues …