Saturday, September 20, 2014
"You Can't Please Everyone....
.....you got to please yourself." (Joe South, Garden Party).
Whether you are your harshest critic or or not, you are your only critic that matters. There are only a smattering of people who understand why I do some of the things that I do. That does not matter. There lives would not be any better for the understanding and mine is none the worst for their lack of understanding.
I do not understand the cliche that many young people cut themselves so they "can feel something." Perhaps I should understand the phrase. I push myself just so I can feel something.
When I was 19 I was misdiagnosed with Lou Gerhig's disease and told to expect death to come just around the corner. (It is not that I somehow beat that horrible disease--the diagnosis was incorrect). When was 28 the orthopedic surgeon told me that my spine had arthritic changes that made it appear as the back of a man thirty years older. He told me to quit playing soft ball. Said that my body could not handle it.
Soft ball--not even thirty years old--"could not handle it."
After a year or two I started walking. Then I progressed to walking while pumping hand weights. My first effort involved 1 pound weights in each hand. I walked three tenths of a mile and, in complete exhaustion, I returned to read more about this idea of walking with weights because I was certain I must have misunderstood how this was to be done.
With in a year I was walking ten miles every day while curling a ten pound barbell in each hand.
In ten years I was taking alternating walks of forty yards with nothing in my hands and forty yards of curling 50 pound weights in each hand. At the time I was in my mid forties.
About five years ago I came to realize that if I was to continue to respect myself I had to ride 100 miles in less than 24 hours. This does not make sense to most people. That does not matter. If everyone in the world understood that would not matter either.
The only critic who I seek to impress lives in my head.
Worst of all, several failed efforts to complete a 100 mile ride had me inclined to believe that I could not do so. In March, with the support of a dedicated contingent of my riders Terry and I rode 109 miles in seventeen hours.
I was 54 years old and she was 55 years old.
That achievement gave me enough self respect to hold me for a few years.
Yesterday morning three young people that I think the world of made their first effort at riding 200 miles less than 48 hours. They set out at 3:00 am. With Kelly's help they had built a solid plan and horse list to use for the ride. They completed several circuits in good time.
But then the unexpected, unplanned for, and utterly out of the blue hit them. One of the riders became ill. (One simply cannot ride long and hard while sick. I once set out to do a 100 mile ride while in the early stages of the flu. After 69 miles I could not ride another step.)
They had no choice but to postpone the achieving of this goal.
No, they did not quit. They rescheduled. They did what was prudent.
They will knock off two hundred miles in 48 hours in a few months. They will have to wait until deer season is over so we will have the woods to ourselves.
Not failure just postponed success.
A silly person asked me if I was disappointed in them for not completing the 200 mile ride. I am too busy being proud of them for starting a 200 mile ride.
If one could assemble every rider in the nation who set out on a two hundred mile ride yesterday in one spot--they would all fit comfortably in my truck.
I am proud of each of them.
Posted by Steve Edwards