Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Musings on Resolutions
This is an enhanced photo of the sun setting over Lake Superior.

It's that time of year again. With the sun setting on this year, folks are looking ahead to the New Year.
Out comes that list entitled "My New Year's Resolutions".

I've tried to warn you ahead of time of what to expect in this blog. That's why I chose to name it what I have. Sure, the blog's about riding to work. There's practical tips from a motorcycle commuter who's ridden a long time and is still here to tell about it. There's some street survival and riding tips from an experienced and seasoned professional trainer. I've tried to include some tales of adventure, some humor, and hopefully, some wisdom. That's the Intrepid Commuter part of the blog name.

Then there's that word: Musings. Here's some thoughts from Webster. ( you know, the dictionary guy? )

Musing: Thoughtfully abstracted: meditative

Muse: to become absorbed in thought, to turn something over in the mind meditatively

I like this statement in the dictionary: "a guiding genius." That's me, a guiding genius!

The long ride to work gives me plenty of time to think. We ride to work because being on the bike helps us to shed stress. Not only that, but it's a heck of a lot of fun! We ride because it puts us into an empowered state to understand this life. We find the perspective that helps us decipher what's really important. We find enrichment and enlightenment. It's from the resulting enlightenment that I offer this particular musing.

Every year about this time people start thinking about all the things they'd like to do or become. These are converted to "resolutions". Grabbing pen and paper, a list is duly created. The list is entitled "My New Year's Resolutions". Maybe it's shown off for a couple of days. It's usually based upon good intentions. Whatever. By the end of January or mid-February, the list has somehow gone out with the newspapers for recycling. Never to be seen or referred to again. I stopped participating in the process a long time ago. This kind of process for change just doesn't work. Think about two very important questions.

1. Am I wanting to do or become something to fit a mental picture that someone else has for

2. Am I wanting to do or become something to fill in or clarify my own mental picture?

The answers to these two questions are the crux of why New Year's resolutions don't work. If a person's answer to question number 1 is "yes", then it's doomed. Sooner or later the incongruity of being what someone else wants us to be will start a collapse. It may be sooner, it may be later, but the rebellion is inevitable.

On the other hand, what if the answer to question number 2 is "yes"? Chances are that we've already started the process to incorporate whatever qualities we desire into our life. In my own case I set long term goals. Then I back-fill in the steps needed to get there. I'm sure most of you do the same. So I'm already doing whatever it is I feel I need to do at the appropriate time.

You know darn good and well what my answer to question number 1 would be. Probably the same as yours. Isn't that another reason we ride? Thinking about being forced into someone else's ready-made "box" for us is totally unacceptable. Choosing two wheels over four is our way of proclaiming our independence in a civil but assertive way.

Read these quotations and see how you respond inside.

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." John F. Kennedy

"Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind." W. Somerset Maugham

"In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone." J.K. Galbraith

How did you feel when you read these? I rest my case. Since we've already set our own course and have no intentions of conforming to someone else's pressures, there's no reason to bother with New Year's resolutions.

The desire to become a better rider starts a journey of self-improvement. There's some pitfalls and keys to success one should become familiar with in order to succeed. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Miles and smiles,


Combatscoot said...

I've been kicking back at conformity for thirty some-odd years. Sure is a rough road, with many career changes, but I'd much rather fight for my right to be what I believe in.

Steve Williams said...

The New Years roll around faster and faster. And resolutions come and go too. I can look at journals I wrote 30 years ago and I have some of the same resolutions now that I did then --- eat better and exercise more just to name two. I'm not sure if these fall into category one or two but I do know that both have dogged me for a long long time.

I don't do much anymore to conform beyond the cosmetic required to perform at work. Both Kim and I listen to our own music and march accordingly. Riding is just one for me. If I was overly concerned about conforming I would not be riding a Vespa.

My own mental picture of my life is at the same time simple and complex. I have to tend to it daily in order to know where the path is. Riding helps. Writing in a journal helps. Writing Scooter in the Sticks helps. But the piece that I often leave out is action. I can do a lot of thinking without a lot of action. If I have a resolution this year it is a call for more action!

The quotes are sober reminders of the challenge of following what you believe. Lots of things whisper "conform conform" and it takes courage to walk a different path.

Reading your post today is one of those gifts that comes along if I pay attention. Thanks for the reminder!

Have a great New Year!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

irondad said...

Some things do require that we "blend in". Things like basic civility, etc. Still, a person needs to think and do for themselves. Keep the faith.

You touched on a key point of mine when you wrote "I have to tend to it daily in order to know where the path is." It's something that happens on a continuing basis, not just once a year.

We need both poets and warriors. You're the former, I'm the latter. Living well, like riding well, is not one dimensional.

If it helps with the resolve to keep in shape, remember that being in good physical shape REALLY makes a difference in surviving on two wheels!