Thursday, August 31, 2017

Getting a Flat Tire

I hate it when I get a flat tire. It hinders my forward progress, immensely! But, it happens to the best of us and it’s part of owning a vehicle, bike or even a body! Sometimes, you just have to sit on the sidelines and relax until you get the chance to change your tire (or, maybe you are waiting on Roadside Assistance to come out and do it for you). When you think about it though, sitting out for a bit isn’t the worst idea. You can evaluate how far you’ve already come and you can ponder what lies ahead. The thing is, you don’t want to sit out too long, because it might affect your desire to keep going.

I understand this loss of desire better than you’d think. About a year and a half ago, I got a flat and rather than fix the issue and get back on the road, I just languished in the emergency lane and watched others keep driving right by me. Once that happens, the vicious cycle (not the kind of cycle I want to be riding, by the way) just kept dragging me further and further away from my goal. And I was OK with that. I shouldn’t have been, but I was.

Finally, I decided to get out of the emergency lane and fix the flat and get back on the road. I also learned that when you see someone stopped along the side of the road, they may not be ready for you to offer assistance. Until they come to their own decisions to get moving again, there isn’t much you can do, except try to keep them in your rearview mirror and keep an eye on them. One day, they will catch back up with you and you can merge into traffic and be on your way ­– together.

If you get a flat and don’t get right back on the road, it’s OK. Just make a promise to yourself to never give up. If you’ve gone 1 mile or 1000 miles, you’ve already made progress, never lose sight of that important fact.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Should I Pedal Faster?

Well, the answer to that question is “it depends”. Pedaling is situational. Finding the right pedaling speed (cyclists call it a “cadence”) for the terrain is important, making sure you aren’t wasting energy, when you should be conserving it. Just like on this long strange trip I’ve been on for the last several years, if I’m doing something that is sapping my energy rather than increasing it, then I need to shift gears and correct my cadence.

That’s where I am now. I’ve shifted gears, but learning to correct the bad habits that have slipped back into my life will take some time to undo. As I’ve said all along, it’s ok. It is imperative that I listen to my body (although, now that I’m getting older, it seems to complain so much more than it used to!) and make sure that when it is telling me that I’m doing something wrong, I trust that my behavior needs to change.

Shifting gears, shifting mindset. It’s pretty much the same thing. One of the most important keys to having success while trying to accomplish a large-scale dream is continuing to make the adjustments as you go along. The steps you take at the beginning will not be the same as the ones you take in the middle or at the end. Your gears will shift and your cadence will adjust.

I’ve shifted my gears and now I’m working on finding the correct cadence for this terrain. Things will change again and I’ll make more adjustments when that happens. I know now that it’s OK – encouraged actually – to change things up and not stay the course. Dare to be different, as they say.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Changing Vehicles

I know, I know. Just the other day, I said I would change things up from car analogies. To be fair, the blog IS called Road Trip. Also, as I was out riding my bike the other day, and it dawned on me. Just because you’re on a road trip, doesn’t necessarily mean you are in a car. So, with that in mind and my recent re-dedication to this journey, I’ve decided to tackle this from a cycling perspective, at least for a while. If you think about it, the change makes a lot of sense. It takes longer to get somewhere on a bike than in a car. But, you get to see more things along the way and you have more fun when traveling in a pack, with your friends.

Restarting, starting over, rededicating yourself. These are all terms that sound like you failed at something and are making another attempt. It’s not the case. There’s only one way to fail, and that’s to never start. Well, there is one other way to fail: to always compare yourself to what others are doing. Don’t feel like you have to live up to someone else’s expectations or accomplishments. Rather than letting the competition get the best of you, gather your friends to join you on a nice bike ride. It’s a good way to ensure you are surrounded by a supportive group of people. Life is challenging enough. There’s no reason to go it alone. If, for some reason, you find yourself on a solo bike ride, find others who are looking will welcome you to their pack.  One thing that I’ve learned is there will always be slower riders and speed demons, no matter the vehicle. I’ve got to find a pace that I can manage and start there. If I surround myself with others who are successful, then I can only improve.

I’m excited to look at the road from a different angle and speed now. Come along for the ride! It’ll be fun!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Running Off the Road

Sometimes it happens. Sometimes you run off the road. You know how to drive, after all, you've been doing it a while. But something happens and it completely derails you. This interruption can be as simple as one wheel grazing the shoulder or as complex as totaling the car into a tree. Either way, you've survived the ordeal and need to be sure you aren't afraid to get back behind the wheel.

For me, I think the answer is pretty obvious! It's been over a year since I wrote anything. Yeah, I hit the tree! But I have been trying to get back on track. The key word here is TRYING. If I really wanted to get back to it, I would just do it, no trying about it. I haven't been at my best for a while now, as there's been a lot that's been going on over the last year. I won't go into details, because it doesn't really matter, whatever I said, it would just be a list of excuses.

Those excuses are done. I'm back! I've been doing some things right, physically, but mentally, it has been a challenge. I'm ready to get going again. I will need to make some changes along the way and that might include this blog. I've always done it from a driving perspective, but I don't know how many more car metaphors I have in me. So you'll have to forgive me if I veer off that path on occasion and just use this space as a way to get my inside voice, well, outside!

If you're still here and have been waiting on me to get the hell out of the rest stop, thank you! I expect that by the end of the year, I will be in a better place and it will be because I've rejoined the Road Trip!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sometimes It's More Than Just a Road Trip

I’ve always thought if I could go somewhere exotic, I’d have a chance to sit in a little cafĂ© somewhere and think up the next great American novel…or more likely the next (better) 50 Shades. Either way, I’d be doing what I love: traveling and writing. Then I found out I was scheduled to go to Barcelona for business! What better way to test my theory. And you know what? It worked. I realized one reason I’ve been in the “donut tire” lane for my blog lately is that I haven’t really done anything worth discussing, writing or road tripping. I’d become so monotonous, that I’d lost my inspiration and why I started this journey. The reason for writing was to remind myself why I was trekking the first place. For a while, I felt like I’d said everything that needed to be said or did everything that needed to be done, and I was having trouble connecting with the part of me that was enjoying the stops along the way. Life interrupted my train of thought. Hell, life derailed my train.

Getting outside my everyday routine, and the borders of the country, helped me realize that there really is more than just getting up and doing the same thing every day. I enjoy what I do for a living, I’m lucky that it’s not something I dread doing every day when I get up in the morning. However, I still have to take time to do what I love. And I love to write. I’ve been trying to write a novel for a few years now and keep getting sidetracked. I think it’s because my heart knows it’s not the right story. The blogs, while I’ve been told are enjoyable, sometimes feel forced and I’m letting myself and others down with what I end up posting. It’s possible that with the life-changing news our family recently received about Bonnie that I’ve come to understand I am supposed to tell her story.

Life is a journey. I get it. That’s about the most clichĂ© thing that anyone can say. But how else would you describe it? When you start, you have no idea what lies ahead, you have to make last minute decisions that may, or may not, send you off in the wrong direction. When you get lost, you have to figure out how to find your way back to the main drag. Face it, life is a whole lot like going someplace you’ve never been. When you keep doing the same thing over and over again and you’re looking for a new experience, well, that is what they (and by “they”, I mean Albert Einstein [allegedly]) refer to as “insanity”. We all have limitations (money being the #1 limitation), but a lot of times it’s fear that keeps us going in circles. Tomorrow is never promised, of that I am more certain more than ever. Just get out there and start driving. You never know what adventure is awaiting.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

When a Detour Becomes the New Route

Oh, hi. I know, you all feel like I've been neglecting you lately. Well, I actually feel the same about myself. For the longest time, I was solely focused on me...and then somewhere along the way, it changed. I'm working on that refocusing stuff, but in the meantime, I've been put on a major detour. And I'm not talking about going down a side road, when you want to go through a major intersection, I'm talking about being rerouted to Hwy 41 when you know you're supposed to be on Interstate 75! 

While I will always struggle to keep my vehicle on course, sometimes what's going on outside the car is a little more important. Recently my Aunt Bonnie (one of my biggest Cheerleaders in my weight loss journey) has been diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme. Basically, it sucks. And it has given me the opportunity to reevaluate everything that is important in life. She is only 12 years older than I am and she is the youngest of her sisters. What is happening to her absolutely sucks, but what I've learned over the last several years is that once we put our minds to something, there is no road block that can keep us from our destination. Things won't be easy and, as her husband, my Mom and Aunt April can attest, they are already challenging, but it's amazing what the support of family, friends and total strangers can do. Life is the most uncertain of things that we wander through and at a second's notice, the life we once expected can be turned on its head. Never get comfortable in the driver's seat, you never know what hazards lie ahead.

While I usually make this blog about my experiences, I thought it was a good time to get Bonnie's story out to the world. There is a lot of shit going on right now and we could all use some good news. Bonnie is the queen of spreading happiness and good news and anytime you can help share her story, we are grateful. Now, if only we could hear good news of acceptance from Duke's Brain Tumor program. But if that's not written in the directions we are currently following, we are just going to have to re-write the directions.

If you are interested in hearing more about Bonnie's GBM battle, can donate or would like to spread the word, please click HERE.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Distracted Driving

I'm sorry. That's really all I can offer at this point. It has been far too long for me to have been away, and I am paying the price! 

Have you ever gotten in your car to go somewhere familiar, like to work or home or to drop the kids off at school? Somewhere you travel every day, only to get there and go "wait, how did I get here? I remember getting in the car, but I don't remember actually driving!" That's pretty much auto-pilot. And it's not a good thing. When you switch to auto-pilot, you may be reaching your destination, but you may have missed some things along the way, maybe you ran a stop sign. If you're lucky, there were no major repercussions for the mental lapse, if you aren't, maybe your zone out caused an accident. The fact is, you may not suffer immediate consequences for not paying attention, but it is likely to catch up, if you don't do something to snap out of it.

Only recently, did I realize that's what I've been doing for these last several months. I put my car in "drive" and am blindly following the same path, doing the same things and making the same mistakes along the way. Getting caught by the same Red Lights, hitting the same traffic spots and just not really enjoying the trip. What I've got to do now is mix things up a little and catch the fire that I had in 2011 when I got in the car to start this trip. I've said all along that it's about the journey, not the destination, but what I've come to realize is there is no finish line. The up side is, I think I've found my focus again. I don't want to get where I'm going, only to realize I missed the whole drive because I was dazed and confused. I realize that I think I've been searching for something for the last year, but I don't know what that something is (I've never felt like Bono so much in my life, since I still haven't found what I'm looking for!), but I wasn't going in the right direction.

So, now, with renewed interest in my surroundings, and a promise to take alternate routes to help keep my interest behind the wheel, I plan to put my energy back to where it belongs and finally get back on the road and get back to me.