When riding a motorcycle, we learn to look where we want to go. Look as far down the road as we can and look around or beyond hazards in the road to avoid hitting them. Look directly at something in the road and the bike will veer right towards it, and hit it.
In life, we also need to look down the road to see where we want our future to go. Don’t look directly at the problem or obstacle, but rather concentrate on the solution. If we constantly concentrate on what holds us back, we can’t move forward.
A moving motorcycle changes direction by leaning. If the bike doesn’t lean into a turn, it will run off the road and crash. To initiate a lean, we learn to push forward on the handlebar grip in the direction we want to go and the bike follows.
When life opens up a new exciting road that we want to follow, we must act, and act fast, by pushing that handlebar, leaning and heading down that unchartered path. Without the push, all the wishing and hoping in the universe can’t help us change direction. And sometimes, when we fail to change direction, we crash and burn as well.
Riding a motorcycle involves risk. It is not a secret that riders have a greater risk of injury or death should they be involved in a collision. Riders accept these higher risks in exchange for rewards of freedom, adventure, and the pleasure they experience from riding. The same can be true in our personal or professional lives. Greater levels of happiness, success and reward are often achieved by those who take the bigger risks.
Okay, where am I going with all this?
Every ounce of my body and soul aches to be riding every single day while writing, speaking and reaching out to others with MS along the way. In order for this to be possible, I need to leave the constraints of my day job. It has been the obstacle in the road, blocking the path I can clearly see I need to be on. It is holding me back and I am wasting daylight. It is at great risk of course, as I don’t have the means yet in place to financially support a full-time riding career, and by leaving the security of my 40-hour a week job, I truly will be putting all my trust in the belief that if I ride, financial support will follow.
Although living with a progressive disease that has no cure may make it easier to accept more risks, I found myself at this crossroad many times before my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Risks, chances, long shots; I’ve never shied away. I have been told by family and friends that I wouldn’t make it, couldn’t make it or that I was putting too much at stake or risk, more times in my life than I care to admit. Sometimes the loudest advice to play it safe came from within.
It was during a competition in 2001, thumping along a lonely Wyoming highway at a top speed of 25 MPH on a poor excuse for a motorcycle that I almost gave up on one of the biggest risks of my life. Chugging along, limping to the next town, the drone of the one working cylinder began to take on a very distinguishable verse:
“GU-HUM, GU-HUM, GO-HUM, GO-HUM, GOHOME, GO-HOME, GO-HOME!”
Not a soul on earth gave me a shot in hell of even finishing that event and after days of breakdown after breakdown, the torturous steel stallion’s song almost convinced me they were right. But from somewhere deep within my soul a sudden surge of energy erupted as I stood up on the foot pegs, opened my helmet visor and screamed at the top of my lungs,
“I WILL NOT GIVE UP, AND I WILL NOT GO HOME.”
I scribbled this statement across my windshield with a grease pencil. I then vowed, no matter what, I was going to finish the event.