Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mile 2,303: Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

I am to the point in my life where I rarely have to go somewhere I do not want to go. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Some of that is a choice that involves rejecting certain things, and some of that is about shifting attitudes to find the good in something that might otherwise be completely uninteresting.

As my grandmother would say, "It's not that life is too short, but that life is too long." Life is just too long to spend it doing things that suck the life out of you. Granted, we all have to do things we do not want to do. The goal is to try to limit such things as much as possible. And when we cannot change the situation, is it possible to change ourselves?

This morning I forced myself to go to a meeting, more in support of a colleague than for my own personal edification. The meeting was tolerable at best, but somehow the ride there, and then the ride to my office made it all worthwhile, especially since I did not ride at all this past weekend.

Nothing really compares to a summertime morning ride. The warmth of the early sun hits your arms. The sounds of the cars and city noises surround you, only to be outdone by the sound of your own voice singing "Ace of Spades" as you round the exit ramp off one highway onto another. Up and down the Houston roads, waving back at the children going berserk at the sight of a motorcycle from their carseats, all the while avoiding the imbeciles with steering wheel in one hand and evil little black rectangle in the other, way overconfident in their four-wheeled cages. Like the song says, "Going with the flow, it's all a game to me." But the stakes are high, so I choose to have my wits about me.

Then after the rides to and from the meeting, the coolest thing of all happened. I dismounted Rocinante and walked into my office. Waiting for me on my computer was a message from a friend who saw me riding down the highway this morning. She had the presence of mind to snap a picture, which you fellow motorcycling enthusiasts know is a special moment indeed. You get very few pictures of yourself riding unless you are Michael Lichter's best friend. But for the rest of us circus monkeys, such a picture is a real treat.

Even if it's a ride where the destination leaves plenty to be desired, at least it's a ride!

And that brings us full circle back to the beginning, spending as much time as possible doing things that build you up, and build up those around you. Enjoy your ride, and enjoy the people you love and who love you.

I tell people I work with all the time: You are going to run into two kinds of people every day. Those who fill you with life, and those who suck the life right out of you. Find ways to spend more time with the fillers than the suckers. Identify the things that are really not that important in the long run. And when you see the unimportant things for what they are, just repeat this mantra:

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

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