I turned 60 this year.
Kind of a milestone; if I’m honest. It means I’m well past the halfway mark we all have in mind as a general, modern American lifespan. It also means that if I’m going to do any of the things I thought I’d do in life, like travel, write a book, or get a camper van, now might be the time
Last year I mentioned to my kids (those thirty-somethings I’m so proud of) that I thought it would be cool to bike the NYS Erie Canalway Trail/Empire State Trail in my 60th year. Not all at once, of course. It’s 360 miles! They called my bluff and bought me a bike.
With the challenge accepted, I started planning. That led to maps, and websites, and Facebook groups, and downloads, and book purchases, and photographs, and dedications, and waiting for the weather, and hours and hours training on a borrowed spinning machine, and notes about blog entries and posting ideas, and all that led to too much to do, self-imposed obligations, exhaustion and “I can’t do this” doubts even before my first run.
Then, as often happens, when I get snarled up in writing a scene, overthinking it and giving in to the inner critic (whose nasty streak always includes dousing me with ridicule), the muse floated in.
She’s always off my right shoulder, just out of peripheral view, and sometimes she’s kind, but not this time. She barked at me, in that manner she has, that cuts through all the bullshit, “Just say what you want to say!”
It was the Nike slogan moment I needed. I drove to a starting point with my girlfriend and my daughter-in-law, got on the bike and rode 6.5 miles as the first leg of the trip. It was a beautiful sunny day, we all felt good, we took some pics, ate a celebratory piece of fruitcake, and that was that.
So, I learned. Keep it simple. Enjoy the moment. If no one gets hurt and no one gets lost, it’s all good. My projects can’t be burdensome endeavors, weighed down with obligations and complex tangents. It will be a good year, a fun couple of rides and a good attempt, no matter what the outcome.