My mind’s calendar flips through memories like a Vegas blackjack dealer shuffling two decks when I’m on my bike. The years slip by like miles in the middle of a Century.
Not long ago I fired a quick note to my college roommate reminding him that another 10 years have passed since we moved on from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and his response quite frankly baffles me.
“That just makes me feel old,” he said.
I find that surprising since I nurture an opposite reaction.
I feel young and reborn, as though boundless possibilities once again dance before me like endless waves lapping upon an ocean beach.
The flash of countless memories of my life dart through my mind so quickly I find it impossible to savor each one, yet accept it’s quite possible to squeeze every one into this single thought.
As I inhale this breathless scope of time its sheer magnitude overwhelms me. I exhale and create an equal amount of space for new experiences that lie ahead.
My next lifetimes.
My mind carves my experiences neatly into lifetimes, each so unique upon itself yet bound together by a single thread — me.
Some of those lifetimes smoldered for years, while others blazed by quickly.
They can be sliced and diced a number of ways.
Sometimes neatly grouped by geography: Fort Atkinson, Dubuque, Carlsbad, Boulder, Austin (did ya notice the eerie reverse alphabetical order?), Knoxville, Eugene and Dallas (OR) (and heading back alphabetically?).
Some congregated by job or lack there of: Sportswriter, Freelancer, Magazine Editor, Startup Editor, Dotcom Crash Unemployed, Mr. Mom (aka 9/11 Unemployed), Outdoor Columnist, Great Recession Unemployed, Marketing Manager, Outdoor Editor, Covid Unemployed and now Substitute Teacher/TCI Columnist.
Some associated by personal title: Brother, Buddy, Boyfriend, Husband, Father, Grieving Son.
In total they amass a treasure chest beyond my wildest dreams.
I could spend hours savoring just the memories of the past year, not to mention the past five, or 10, or more.
All these adventures feel as recent as a blink of an eye.
As invigorating as a deep breath of mountain air.
As enchanting as a haunting hoot of an owl.
As inspiring as my daughters’ smiles.
As fulfilling as my wife’s embrace.
They live here today, and on forever.
And through it all, endless memories of rolling through time on my bike.
Time to ride.