Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Lake of Life

Life and... a lake?

Life is weird, man. Seriously. It's like living on the edge of a lake and each event that happens is like a stone being dropped in the water.  Calm can be found, but it never seems to last very long. Most things are like small pebbles, leaving little ripples that fade quickly. Others though, feel like boulders, smashing into the surface with such force that the waves crash into the bank, causing permanent and lasting damage.

Some stones are the ones that we throw in, others seem to fall right from the sky. We control a lot of them, but some are completely out of our control. Those always seem to be the biggest of them- those life altering, long lasting, painful events. Things like, losing someone close to you. Or watching someone you love throw their life away making stupid decisions, or maybe just choosing to be miserable in order to make someone else happy. Sometimes we make poor financial decisions, or we lose ourselves in our own stubborn selfishness, and we end up missing out on great opportunities for happiness.

A Grand Design and the Rule of Threes

I'd like to think that the whole lake analogy is actually part of some grand design that I happened to stumble on and that by recognizing it, I can somehow figure out how to keep those lake waters of my own life as calm as possible. But let's be honest, recognizing the similarities just makes it harder to control. I mean, let's think about this for a second- for the past twenty years I've worked in, let's call it, a customer service field. I've seen, first-hand, the affects of the full moon on the public at-large. In my observations during these past two decades, I've seen people become more and more obnoxious during the ole waxing gibbous (as it's known by smarter people than me). It seems that during the week before a full moon, people just embrace being rude, driving more aggressively, losing control of their emotions and acting on impulse. This all may sound crazy to some, but I consider myself to be a casual observer of our society and I take notice of things like this. I'm not special, not by any means, I just happened to start noticing the patterns a long time ago, then spent the next several years taking mental notes of it. But even though I make a point to recognize the signs of the impending lunar cycle, I often find myself falling victim to its affects... until I catch myself that is. Of course, by that time, I've usually already done something stupid.
And what about the rule of three? You know, if something happens, it usually happens in threes- accidents, illnesses or even deaths. I've seen proof of that too, but I won't get into those details just yet. These are weird observations, I know, but bear with me for just a little longer. My point is, that even though we may recognize the patterns, we often don't (or can't) avoid what happens next.

We can't control everything

No matter how hard we try, we can't control everything. So, if our lives are like the waters of a lake, and the events that happen to us are like rocks of varying sizes being tossed in, how can we mitigate the damage from the biggest stones? How do we deal with the lasting affects of those big waves coming in, hitting us over and over? 

I don't know. We just do. When someone we love dies, that's a big stone. We will usually get those first few waves, the biggest of them, right at first. But then, after some time has passed and we think our hearts are finally healing, when we are sure that the waves of that event have all finally passed, we are hit with another wave of emotion when we are least expecting it and we have to face that pain all over again. But with each wave, the severity seems to lessen, and the hurt seems to not last as long. And this cycle continues, over and over, until we are finally okay. 

The big one is coming

So, how do we deal with it? With time, patience and preparation. Time heals all wounds, as most of us have been told. As we hurt, we heal. We begin the process of rebuilding what has been damaged and we build it stronger so that it can hold up, hopefully a little better, for the next big wave that is coming. 

It's also important to remember that we can control some things though- things like, how many of those stones we throw into our own calm waters; how we prepare for the big stones when they hit; and, understanding that, no matter what we do, those big ones are going to hit eventually


Trying to prepare for life's unexpected events seems like it could be one of the most perfectly paradoxical conundrums we face. After all, how does one go about expecting the unexpected... it is by definition... not expected! But, I assure you, by taking small steps in preparation for big events, you can actually mitigate the confusion and frustration when the proverbial shit hits the fan. 

For example, several years ago, my wife and I started thinking about the "what ifs" of our own lives. So, in an effort to be more responsible parents, we made some grown-up decisions and started having those difficult conversations. During those talks, we figured out that we needed more insurance, we needed wills and we needed to establish our final wishes. I know it seems terribly dark and morbid, but having those hard talks when we did, allowed us to have the peace of mind of knowing that we won't have to deal with that stuff when the time comes. After all, it's a helluva lot easier to make those decisions together when your minds are clear and your hearts aren't hurting, than it is when you're heartbroken and can't think clearly. A little bit of preparation can go a long way... I've seen that first-hand, too. 


We can also control how many stones we throw in our own calm waters. We need to recognize that if things are calm, we don't have to kick the top off of the anthill. We can let it be calm and actually enjoy those moments of peace and happiness. We can take the time to enjoy the calm, the peace, the laughter and the good times. Breaking out of the analogy for a minute and speaking literally- stop stirring up shit in your life. Don't talk about people behind their backs, be happy for other people when they succeed and help them when they need a hand. Don't start drama. Don't get involved in someone else's drama. Find joy in the moment and don't take the things that are most precious to you for granted. Be bold and be confident. Be bold enough to start your own business or be content working for someone else, but either way, be happy with your decision to do either. Be confident enough in yourself to make a big decision and be flexible enough that if you don't like what you chose, to choose something else.

We can't control what happens, but we can control how we deal with it, when it does. 

Find happiness now

It's also important to find happiness now. Don't wait until tomorrow, next week or next year. Find something that brings you joy and peace, and find it now. Remember also, that while it's important to be able to share that thing, whatever it may be, with those you love, it's just as (or even more) important that you are able to enjoy it when you're all alone, too. 

For me, as many of my friends and family know, I've found happiness in motorcycling. Not just riding them, but working on them, researching and learning about them and writing about them. I know that may sound superficial to some people, but it's a fun hobby for me. Sure, I enjoy other things, too... but for now, right now at this time in my life, I'm exploiting my love of motorcycles for all it's worth while I still can. I share my passion with my friends and family (even those that don't ride), but I also enjoy slipping out to the garage and turning wrenches in solitude and going on solo motorcycle camping trips in the mountains, too. 

I encourage each of you to find something that brings you happiness. Whether it's motorcycling, bicycling, fishing, hunting, hiking, or just watching the world go by. Find something that makes you happy and that you can do alone and with your loved ones and start doing it now. As my wife wisely noted recently- don't wait to eat off the fine china or drink out of the heirloom crystal, do it now while you can still enjoy it. Buy the motorcycle, that new putter or that dress you've been eyeing. Open that special bottle of bourbon or wine that you've been saving for some "special occasion" and let yourself enjoy it now, because TODAY IS THAT SPECIAL OCCASION... you woke up and you were blessed with another day of life and there are a lot of people who didn't get that same gift.  

Don't wait until the next big stone drops into your lake before you start enjoying your life. 

Do you want to see your bike featured as the MotoWriter's Bike of the Month? Email me in your high-res photos and your personal motorcycle story to me and, if I pick your bike, not only will you get some pretty rad bragging rights, but you'll also receive a small bit of swag to show off your support of the MotoWriter! Thanks for all your support!

Saturday, August 14, 2021



"the strength or force that something has when it is moving; the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes."

How many times have you been cruising down the highway, at a completely safe distance from the person in front of you, when all of a sudden, someone up ahead hits their brakes and causes the whole damn line of traffic to break their speeds, hit the brakes and slow down? Just as you are about to start cussing, you see the car in front of them, turn off. So, what made you cuss? Was it the idea that someone had the audacity to drive their own drive and the gall to slow down to turn? Of course not. If they took their turn at highway speeds, they would surely end up in a pile of twisted metal. Is it because they weren't driving in such a way as to accomodate everyone following behind them? Again- of course not. That's ridiculous... it's up to those following to give themselves the space to react to the dangers ahead of them. I don't know about you, but what aggravates me is that I lose momentum. I have to deactivate the cruise control... in my mind. I have to snap back into focus. I don't know why it's so frustrating, but it just is. Losing momentum is aggravating. 

We are programmed to move

In life, it feels like we are programmed to move- to gain and maintain our momentum. When we were kids, we were always on the move, always running, jumping and advancing forward. We just sort of learned to always be anticipating the next thing- birthdays, grades, dates, moments, etc, etc, etc. We base our lives on the concept of always moving forward- we anxiously await advances in technology, advancements in medicine and advances in our careers. We take advanced classes, achieve advanced degrees, we strive for advances in status, position, rank, credit and so on, and so on, and so on... for what seems like forever. We have cruise control on our cars (and some motorcycles) so that when we are driving (or riding), we can maintain that momentum on the trips we take. At work, we might have some "big project" that we have to "gain momentum" on or, we're encouraged to "keep that mometum going" so that we can set a good pace to finish on time. Contractors know the importance of staying on track, maintaining their momentum on a project and finishing on time, or even better, finishing ahead of schedule. When you're having a contractor build your house or your garage, you definetly don't want him to lose his momentum on your project. 

Writing requires it

I can't stand it when I lose my creative momentum. Look, I'm not one of those road-rage guys that loses his mind when he has to tap the brakes and cancel the cruise control, but I absolutely do get frustrated by it. If I'm working on a project at work, I want to get it done... especially if it's a crappy project that seems like it's sucking the life out of me. I just want to get the damn thing started, set a decent pace on it and get it done. The same goes for when I'm writing. When I get an idea for a new blog post, or more recently, another slideshow article for my other, other job and my inspiration is flowing, I just want to sit down in front of the computer and get all of those thoughts out. As ironic as it may seem, I actually had the idea for this piece a couple of weeks ago.... and I ended up losing my momentum on it! Argh!! 

Life gets in the way

Often, life simply gets in the way of our plans, much like that person ahead of us in traffic needs to slow us down so that they can turn off of the highway. A couple of weeks ago, while driving home from work, I was in the right hand lane of the highway, cruising with the flow of traffic and listening to some tunes on the radio. All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, some selfish jerk two cars up just had to make their turn. How dare them! It was ridiculous that I was suddenly so aggravated by someone making their turn, and then I realized it. Boom! The writer's block that had been stifling my creativity had suddenly been knocked aside and I had this epiphany to write a, hopefully insightful, piece on momentum. A half an hour later, I arrived at my peaceful country home and did all the things that you do when you get home from work. The next day was Friday, so I went to work and did it all over again... but this time, I was buzzing with anticipation to sit down and write this piece over the weekend. After all, the weekend before I had squeaked out my first motovlog in months, "highlighting" the rainy conditions of our coastal home. But before I could get started writing, there was actually a break in the rain, finally affording me the first opportunity in several weeks to mow my terribly overgrown lawn. The problem with that is, cutting the grass at the ole MotoWriter estate is basically an all-day chore. Also, I live in South Mississippi so, when it's hot and sunny... it's awfully hot, Sonny. So, after spending a sweltering day in the sun, my Saturday was pretty much shot and all I wanted to do was drink a cold beer and relax in the air conditioning. The next day was busy with other projects and, of course, in those brief rainless moments, I tried my best to get a few miles of actual riding in. Before I knew it, the weekend was over and I was no closer to starting this piece. Another day, another week, another weekend of chores, repairs and miscellaneous tasks that must be done and here we are, nearly three full weeks later and I'm just now sitting down to write this. 


Isn't that how it always goes though? That's life and life happens. Things come up. As adults, we have to triage and priortize everything in our lives. What's most important, what's next? What bill gets paid first, what project gets done first? As kids, we acted on impulse. We saw something and just friggin' went for it... our credo was SEND IT!! We didn't think about prioritizing or triaging our tasks or chores. If we saw something fun, we'd look at it and just effin go for it! If we got hurt... oh well, we knew we'd heal eventually and have a cool scar to show for it. So when the hell did we get to the point in our lives when everything had to be scheduled, prioritized, moderated and controlled? I couldn't tell you when it happened, but these days, I suddenly find myself doing a helluva lot more "adulting" now than I used to. Don't get me wrong, being an adult is pretty great- we get to ride motorcycles, we can stay up late, drink booze, eat pizza for breakfast and have chocolate cake for dinner (although I don't recommend doing that... especially in that order). But, we also have to pay bills. We have to go to work. We have to go to the doctor for "check ups" and we have to watch our cholesterol. We also have to prioritize what we do, because there just doesn't seem to be nearly as much time in our days as there was when we were kids.

Maybe slowing down is a good thing

Maybe losing a little momentum isn't as bad as we think, though. When we were kids, we couldn't wait to grow up; as adults, we wish we could go back to the time in our  lives when the world was simpler. As sentient creatures, living in this modern society that we've created for ourselves, we are never happy with what we have or what we've been blessed with. But maybe it's because we need to slow the hell down. Maybe, just maybe, we need to change our priorites and make room in our busy lives for our families, friends, and even ourselves. Slowing down gives us the chance to catch our breath. It gives us the opportunity to see something that maybe we haven't seen before. It gives us an opportunity to be thankful for being alive and for being free. It allows us to take a step back and appreciate what we have, who we have and make the most of the moment. After all, yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't promised to any of us.

When my kids were growing up, my wife and I quickly realized that this high-tech society we were living in would try to rob them of their time, so we made a point to go to a cabin in a state park, every fall. It was rustic, but not uncomfortable. It had power- lights, air condtioning and heat, and of course, running water, but it was completely devoid of electronics. No television, no radio, no internet. It was amazing. We would hike through miles of trails, listen to the wildlife and the wind rustling through the leaves; we'd carve walking sticks out of tree branches and eat our lunches on the banks of the river. Best of all though, we would interact with each other. We would talk around the campfire at night, make smores and burn hot dogs, all while laughing, telling stories and sharing our lives and life experiences with each other. It was a very special time for us. Every year, we would look forward to that trip, up until a few years ago, when our boys were finishing high school, preparing for college and joining the work force. Life got in the way again, it would seem, and our lives started picking up speed once again.

Make a conscious effort 

2020 was a difficult time for everyone. It seemed as if the entire world was being collectively kicked in the teeth. I refuse to give that cursed year any more of my life, so I'll make my point quickly, then move on. While the year seemed to never end, at the exact same time, everything seemed to be spinning out of control, moving at a break-neck speed... like when you were a kid and the merry-go-round was spinning so fast that you couldn't even get your feet under you, much less slow the goddamned thing down enough to get off of it. By the time that 2021 had finally started settling in, I found myself looking down at two separate headstones. I could barely catch my breath. But somehow, I was able to slow down, just enough to let my equilibrium settle and I was able to draw in a long, deep breath. When I did, I  began to recognize that we are living our lives like we are in some kind of race to the finish line, without ever realizing that the finish line is our own deaths. We don't even realize it until it's too late.

So maybe, just maybe, we can start making a conscious effort to slow the hell down, be more patient and be more understanding of that person up ahead of us that is slowing down to turn off. We have to break the momentum. We have to recognize when we are speeding up and running down the wrong hill. We have to have the strength to hit the brakes, slow down and get back on the right course before it's too late for us. 

We are all in a race to the grave, but I'll be damned if I'm going to keep going full throttle, barreling toward my own demise. Life's not short, it only seems that way when you spend your 75 good years going as fast as you possibly can. Well not me. Not anymore. I'm going to take vacations. I'm going to ride my motorcycle. I'm going to see the mountains, drink from rivers, smell the forests and warm my skin in the sun on every road trip I can take. I'm going to laugh with friends, hug my family, eat well and do my best to live and love every day of the rest of my life as if tomorrow isn't promised to me, because it isn't. 

I challenge each of you to do the same. 

Ride safe and make good choices, y'all.

Do you want to see your bike featured as the MotoWriter's Bike of the Month? Email me in your high-res photos and your personal motorcycle story to me and, if I pick your bike, not only will you get some pretty rad bragging rights, but you'll also receive a small bit of swag to show off your support of the MotoWriter! Thanks for all your support!