I’ve wanted a motorcycle since I was a kid. In high school I dreamed about it and got into fight after fight with my parents who obstinately refused to allow me to get on one of the two wheeled death machines. After I left home and grew up I could have gone ahead and bought a bike and I thought about it and planned it out many times. I knew exactly the one I wanted, a maroon 1988 Suzuki Intruder.
Life moved on and I never got that bike. Instead I found the love of my life and married her and we started having kids. I started thinking about that bike again but this time it was Jamie’s voice telling me “No way” instead of my parents. More years went by without that bike.
Life was good and it was busy. I was very happy but still every now and then I would dream about that bike.
When I hit 40 I started to take a pretty serious look at my life. I had been a cigarette smoker for the last two decades, wasn’t exercising like I should and over all was not in great shape. My health started to weigh on me and I thought often about how heart disease ran in my family. I was worried about dying young and knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to be around for my family.
I tried getting healthy but frankly I just couldn’t quit smoking. I tried everything but it just didn’t take. When you’re smoking a pack a day and coughing up all sorts of shit there’s not really much of a reason to eat salads and get on the elliptical machine.
I finally just gave up, ended up purchasing a lot of life insurance and telling my wife that I probably wouldn’t be around for too long. Oh yeah, and I bought that motorcycle.
Man, I loved it and riding that thing around was the best feeling in the world. I would go on Saturday morning jaunts for hours and just tool around the countryside. It was the one time I could be totally free of the stress of life and just ride.
Then life changed again. Much to my surprise, I ended up quitting smoking and getting healthy. I was going to the gym everyday and going out for hikes and walks around the block constantly. What I wasn’t doing is riding my bike. I wasn’t really sure why, I just kept walking by it and getting in my car. Weeks went by… the bike just sat there. Then one day I went out, snapped some photos of it and put it up for sale. Two days later it was loaded onto a truck and gone.
Jamie couldn’t believe I sold it. She knew how much I loved it and asked me “Why?” Until she asked me that question I really didn’t know the answer. But as I sat there and thought about my response I realized that I now had something to live for. I know that sounds morbid and she was shocked when it came out of my mouth.
I remembered the depressed feeling that I had when I was unhealthy and the feeling of despair knowing I would probably be dead soon. I remembered thinking “Screw it” as I lit another cigarette. Climbing on a motorcycle and riding down the road was no big deal.
Heck, wiping out in a blaze of glory seemed like a much better thing than keeling over of a heart attack.
But now I knew I was going to live. Everything had changed. I wanted to be around to see my grandkids born. My vision had expanded. I never knew that I was so depressed about my health and I never knew how things would change when I fixed it.
I’ve got an exciting future ahead of me and you know what? I don’t miss that bike at all.
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