Saturday, September 20, 2014

"You Can't Please Everyone.... 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.


Unknown said...

I'm most impressed with their loyalty and concern for one another. They set out to do this together and they will.

Linda A said...

They have my respect and I look forward with them to the completion of their goal.

Anonymous said...

Some smart guy once said, "The attempt at greatness is in itself greatness. He probably said it more than once, because it is a pretty good thought.

A Navy Chief Petty Officer goes through a "period of training and trial" when he or she is selected to that rank. Only about one percent of all Sailors that ever serve attain that rank. It is pretty tough. Worth it though. I no longer wear my anchors on my collar, but they are always right there, tattooed on my heart.
This initiation is obviously not anything like the Huskinaw of days gone by, but is essentially a return to boot camp, all done while you perform your day job.
A part of this custom is that a selected leader makes a "Charge Book," and while I will not go into detail here about what it means, a part of this task is to take this book to those who have worn the anchors before, and draw them out (Read: "Be amusing.") enough to get them to spin some old guy wisdom upon one's unlearned and unwashed squid gourd. My mentor would not let me off so easy. (5 foot tall redhead female Hull Tech. Tough lady.Think red headed Rosie The Riveter.)
She wrote in my book words to this effect: "If you were absolutely guaranteed success in anything in the world, what would you attempt?"

I looked up and watched the spider working in the corner of her (Soon my!) office..she told me not to strain myself.

No, I got this. I told her, "Nothing."
At which point she almost blew a fuse.
"I would attempt nothing because with guaranteed success one loses the the challenge, one is merely doing, not living, not achieving. Oh sure I could spin out something lame..cure cancer, end poverty and war...whatever. and of course if I had that one chance at perfect success, I would likely do something worthwhile...but not for myself." Nothing..apparently was the correct answer, as I did not have to do any pushups at that point. She did make me get her a cup of coffee (cream two sugar) and a Butterfinger..which I already had prepared about my person...Mentor well on Chiefs and horses.

Anyway..the point is, Even if you are already on top of the game, and it is not necessary to do more, or faster, bigger, better...those who get to the top of their game, and are worth their salt, do not rest upon their laurels..or not for very long.
I am glad to have a fresh horse under training..I am running out of things to teach Snow on Her, although I may have to hit the books and find something new for her to do... -Lloyd