I crawled out of our frost-covered tent into the bitter cold Arizona desert and surveyed my surroundings. As my eyes landed on the many frozen piles of puke dotting the ground, I wondered, for perhaps the millionth time in the past four months, just why I was here. What could possibly have possessed me to haul my 8-year-old twin sons around North America on bicycles? What kind of madness caused me to subject my darling boys to numerous mad dashes out of the tent in sub-freezing temperatures to barf in the woods? The same kind of madness, I finally decided, that allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful people on earth, see some of the most spectacular landscape possible, and to live my dream.
You see, I believe in living my dream. I believe in taking advantage of “now”. I’ve lived each moment of my life as though it was my last, and cherished every minute of it. My biggest nightmare is the thought of being old and gray and sitting in my rocker saying, “I wish I woulda…”
But I also knew that living my dream wouldn’t always be easy. I didn’t set out expecting it to be a walk in the park. There were times when we pedaled through torrential downpours or against horrific headwinds. There were times when we were hungry and cold and tired beyond belief. But there were also times when the wind was at our backs and Mr. Sun rose to greet us. There were times when seascapes beckoned or mountaintops called.
I came to understand that living my dream was a little bit like making a pot of chicken soup. The good days and the bad days all worked together to make “soup”. Somehow each ingredient enhanced the whole, making the whole pot a yummy concoction. The good times and the bad times all melded together to make the whole. If I could have somehow gotten rid of those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days to live only the good ones, our journey wouldn’t have been quite so rich.
After a friend’s son committed suicide, I knocked on her door not sure what words, if any, I could say. As it turned out, her words to me were the most powerful words I’ve heard. Through her tears she whispered, ‘Spend every moment you can with your boys. Cherish this time and treasure every minute. You just don’t know… tomorrow may never come.’
As I pedaled around North America I thought of her words. I just don’t know what lies around the corner or what tomorrow will bring. Sure, I would like to believe tomorrow will come, and that I will continue living my dream. And yet, I just don’t know. Life is unpredictable. How many people do you know whose lives have been irrevokably changed by disease or an accident? I like to think that I’ll still be pedaling around in two years, but I just don’t know. None of us do.
And I guess that’s the best reason around to live my dream now.
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