Toronto Ontario. August 21, 2010. Well, I finally had my aha moment. At long last. This was the moment that didn't happen on our ride. I guess it took a week or two to hit me. It's not that big a deal. It's just something that didn't occur to me while we rode across the country.
My aha moment pertains to dreams. Rather, it pertains to the pursuit of dreams. It has to do with achieving a dream. So here goes. Here's my big aha moment:
Having and pursuing dreams is more inspiring than actually realizing them.
Here's how I got to this thought. Since I hit the beach just about two weeks ago in New Hampshire, I've been feeling a bit, for lack of a better word, empty. I'm not depressed. I'm not in a funk. Actually I am very happy to be home. My bed feels great. The food here is fantastic (even though I've only gone for Chinese food twice since I got home). I can have fresh fruit any time I want. There are no rainy or windy days to contend with, and I am beginning to feel my big toe again on my right foot.
I think it was weird that the day we dipped our wheels in the Atlantic Ocean that I didn't feel a euphoric rush of any kind. I was sad that the trip was over, but as I said that day, I mostly felt relieved to have arrived safely, especially after my two falls earlier in the ride (and the accidents that befell Margo, Ann, and Bruno earlier the last week). I kept waiting for some type of emotional rush or feeling all that day and on the drive home to Toronto the next day. Didn't happen though.
On another note, I will say it was very cool driving back on I-90 paralleling our bike route from the previous week through Albany, Little Falls, Liverpool, Henrietta, and Niagara Falls. By the time we hit the Canadian border, The Duchess had rolled her eyes about 20 times after every mention I made of "we rode over that". I've seen that look before. It's The Duchess' "enough already" look. I get that look from her a lot.
Anyway, back to the aha moment. So, I've been getting back into the routine. The office, the gym, the house, cycling (albeit much less mileage than the trip). We've seen a couple of bad movies (WARNING TO ALL MARRIED MEN – avoid Eat Pray Love with all your might!). We've seen friends and family. It's all good. I am the luckiest person on the face of the earth.
Yet, I just feel kinda empty on the inside. And then it occurred to me. Here's a bit of an analogy. Back in the 1980's the Toronto Blue Jays started building a contending ball club. They were very good and made the playoffs a couple of times. They began to smell a world championship and the ballpark sold out 80 out of 81 home dates (the Jays were the first team in MLB history to top 4 million in attendance in a single season). The whole city of Toronto, province of Ontario, and country of Canada were gaga over the chances of us winning the World Series. Network TV ratings skyrocketed. Jays t-shirts and jerseys were everywhere. Then the worst thing that could have happened took place.
We won the World Series in 1992. Then, even worse, we won again in 1993 on one of the most dramatic home runs in MLB and World Series history.
The chase was over. The dream was realized. Now, 15 or so years later, the Jays barely get 15-20,000 people at a home game. You rarely see Jays jerseys anywhere. The games on TV were reduced to a second rate TV cable station, and we don't stand a chance against the three best teams in baseball (NY, Boston, Tampa Bay), all of whom are unfortunately in our division. Do you see what I'm getting at? I'll bet that if the Jays never won a World Series, Jays fans would still be in perpetual anticipation of a dream yet unrealized. That would propel them forward to continue to dream. The unfulfilled dream would inspire them to be passionate forever.
That's what has happened to me. This dream of mine to ride across the country preoccupied me for decades. As long as it was out there, I had something to chase after. But that's not the case any more. I don't have any other big dreams. I've got the best wife in the world (OK, in the known scientific universe), 3 amazing kids, a great business, wonderful family, and fun friends. I live in a safe, low-crime, clean country with a stable democracy that protects people's rights. I live free from persecution. My kids have the greatest opportunities of any children in the world. I work with great people at Due North Communications. My clients are fantastic.
In short, I live a dream every day.
So, now I've figured this out. What next? Nothing, in terms of dreams. I'm not going to come up with a dream just so I can have a dream to pursue. No, dreams like riding across the country by bicycle have to be organic. They have to come from within. So, the only advice I have to anyone bored enough to still read this blog is to keep dreaming. It'll keep your spirit alive.
And, until something comes from within, for the time being, I'll have to do without.