The Best Part of Life
Welcome to my New Year’s Ramble! If you’re looking for something profound, you probably won’t find it here. But I can give you a tired old rant about freedom, like Peter Fonda in the Roger Corman classic, WILD ANGELS…
“We wanna be free… free to do what we wanna do… we wanna be free to ride…”
Last Sunday the Santa Ana winds were whipping through Southern California at a pretty good pace, but even so, Brian and I wanted to ride, so we hopped on the motorcycles–him on his Fat Boy, me on my Bonneville–and we high-tailed it out of Orange County, through the fragrant cow fields of Chino, and up to Mt. Baldy. It was one of those days on the bike when everything felt perfect and I had this urge to keep on going, like we do on our big trips, when we ride and ride and ride until we find a place we want to stop for the night. Sadly, we only get to do that on vacations, and since I had to be at work the next day, we got to the Buckhorn Lodge in Baldy, snapped a couple quick shots, flipped a U-turn, and headed back home.
It got me thinking about the best part of life. Freedom. I suppose it’s what everyone wants, but how realistic is having true freedom? How do we create that freedom and still make a living? It’s sad that, while we have health and youth, we can’t just take off for months on end because we have responsibilities, the bills need to be paid somehow, right? Our futures need to be secure, or at least that’s the way I’ve always thought. I envy people who say screw it all and go have an adventure regardless of what the future might bring. I’ve always been cautious in that regard, always needing to know where and when that next paycheck will come from, to know the mortgage will be paid and food will be on the table, to guarantee I won’t end up in the poorhouse when I’m old.
But then the flip-side is, hey, I ain’t gettin’ any younger and time is flying by ridiculously fast–which means, yes, the freedom of retirement is getting closer, but what if I’m not physically able to ride a motorcycle cross country when I’m in my mid 60s? What if by work, work, working until 65 I miss my window? Why keep living for the future? Why not grasp it now? I’m not saying I’m going to quit my job tomorrow (don’t sweat it Jefe), but rather, I need to make the most of what freedom I can squeeze out of life NOW.
I suppose I feel more comfortable in my skin now than I ever have. Things are pretty good all the way around. I’m a successful photojournalist. I finally, after ten years of ups and downs in the writing world, bypassed the traditional publishing houses that I’d been working with, and put my novel out there on my own, so that eased up a part of my brain. I no longer have this crazy desire to be in the mix. I don’t need to be seen, don’t need to fight the crowds and the traffic to get to an event. Does that mean I’m givin’ up on life? Nah… quite the opposite. I just want more of the good stuff, and I reckon that means a simpler life–which I suppose is part of getting older. Ha! The idea of having a garden and a goat and endless roads with no cars sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Anyway. I’m just yammerin’ for now. Until full-time freedom finds me, I’ll take those little moments where I get them, grab weekend rides here and there, take Bondorella cruising, exercise all of our little critters, like my trials bike pictured above. This August we’ll be riding to Nashville. And we really, really, really hope to make some major progress on the Motor Palace. And of course, I’d like to accomplish some stuff with Bondorella. Sounds like an adventurous year, right? Mini-adventures, maybe, but they’ll have to suffice until the next big one.
Yep. Living for now is my New Year’s Resolution. Profound, eh?
Until next time…