Note: This is version two of this article, which I had already gotten halfway through and then scrapped, because I didn’t like where it was going.
I realized something on a Sunday in October of 2010. It took me a long time to arrive at this conclusion, but it changed my perspective.
I was alone, riding a trail I had built a few months earlier. It was warm for October, maybe 60 degrees. The sky was bright blue and the leaves were falling. I heard the rush of leaves scattering behind my tires, and marveled at how tacky and fast the trails were riding, due to the light rain the night before.
The message, sent out on social media the night before was one inviting my friends and riding acquaintances out for one of the last few days before the bike park would close for the season. And out of the 50+ people I rode with regularly, only a few even bothered to respond. “Sorry man, Steelers are on.”
I was the only one in the bike park, and conditions were amazing. At first I was pissed off at them, but this feeling passed almost immediately. I lapped the park for hours alone. Each jump, each drop, each near-miss or perfect execution witnessed only by myself.
“My friends are missing this moment so they can watch a bunch of other guys go out onto a field and do something they love.”
I thought back to the beautiful Sundays I had spent sitting in a climate-controlled room, shoveling pizza, chicken wings and beer down my throat while staring and yelling at a screen, and felt a surge of anger rising up at myself.
“What a stupid fucking way to waste this beautiful afternoon.”
And how many had I wasted? Too many to name. Too many Mondays through Fridays wasted sitting at my desk, waiting for the clock to strike 5:00. Saturdays spent sleeping until 2:00 in the afternoon because I was hung over. Sundays flushed down the toilet killing time in front of the TV when I could have done anything.
Go out and do something before you’re too old to remember how to.