You always hear about people that claim they've no regrets...
My first thought was always; Damn! they must not have lived much.
How could a person have ridden through life and not have made mistakes? You'd have to be a pretty callous slob to not regret the major F#@* Ups... right?
Over the years I've come 'round to take the perspective that; Where I've been and what I've done is what's made me who I am... And I Like Me... So in that respect, claiming to not have any regrets could be an honest place to be.
I got a message yesterday that a food friend of mine, who I've ridden tailgunner with for a couple of thousand miles is layin' up in a hospital a few hundred miles away. He had a stroke and is partially paralyzed. I know for a fact he was not... is not... ready to park his bike...
It's times like this that life... and the inescapable loss of it is shoved up in your face Not to Be Ignored.
Which brings me back to regrets... If pushed I'd have to say any I have would need to be listed in one of two categories; and even those are so intertwined as to be inseparable.
The opinions of others and too many things left undone...
Life is so fragile... so quick. My regrets at this point; and I could have forty years left, or forty minutes; is having surrendered too many times to fear. Fear of things that likely weren't even there. Fears that have led me to leave Things Undone...
I have found myself surrendering to fabricating excuses to NOT pursue some thing that deep down in my soul... I wanted to do... due only to the opinions of others.
I find it regretful, and a bit comical, that though I claim loud and boldly; I don't care what people think... the reality is often far different. Too many times I have cared. Cared so much that I allowed Those People to choose my life rather than me, and ended up cursing myself for cowardice. It can't be denied, I've surrendered to exactly that fear. The fear that I'd be ridiculed for chasing something that was MY dream.
That is something I find hilarious. I've been in situations, so many times you can't help but ask; Boy? Are you learning disabled or what? ... where I stood against things that could take my very life... Sure, inside I had the jiggly quivers... but I stood rock steady. There was nothing else my pride could abide.
yet... have a few old women point their fingers and giggle and the crusty old biker cowboy is ducking for cover... WTF? :)
The consequence of that regret is; My willingness to criticize others for anything other than rude, arrogant, judgmental behavior inflicted on others is pretty much gone. I've come to firmly hold the belief that a person has the Right to make stupid decisions... without the interference of a bunch of cackling "Old Ladies"... as long as the only physical consequence lands on him... It's His/Her life.
Leave 'em the hell alone.
The second consequence is that now, after 60 summers, my worry about what others think of me is finally met with a shrug and a wave. Do I care? sure... I think ever'body does, whether they want to admit it or not... just... it's lost its power over me...
The thing that is most important is what I think of that ugly bastard that greets me in the mirror every morning. That's 'bout the only thing I've any control over. Finally, after all these years, I pretty much ride my own road.
You know some will say that's an awful self centered way of thinking... I say; I am a mirror. How I feel inside... about me... is what I reflect to the world around me. If I am accepting of my own faults and limitations... I can't help but look at ever'body else with the same eye... It's kinda that "Charity starts at home" sort of thinking...
I once read that the greatest improvement of life would be to be born at eighty and gradually approach 18... Now THAT would be SUH-WHEET!
So... "Regrets? I've had a few... but then again..."
Grab Your Handles and Ride
You're right about other people making decisions for you and you react to their prejudices and preconceived notions. There is fear of going into the unknown . . . but often times when you get there you find that it wasn't bad at all.
I am finding that you have to shape your own life and take control sometime, sooner than later. If you don't turn your dreams into action then you may not be physically able to pursue them. You just never know when your time is up and if you keep waiting for the "perfect" time, then it may never come . . .
Riding the Wet Coast
A great post Brian and food for thought.
I am one of those that probably comes too much about what other people think even though I try not to. I am better than I used to be at it though.
I too have the fear. I try to overcome it with something my husband likes to say" What would you do if you weren't scared?"
I even chanted that in my helmet all the way to my motorcycle training class back in 2002. I still say it on some occasions.
I hope your friend heals up quick and the paralysis dissipates.
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