I’m up early on a Sunday morning out of a nightmare. It’s a recurring one where I’m forced to do nonsensical things at work designed to run me into the ground and make me feel like my presence is meaningless and I don’t matter. It’s your typical lack-of-control nightmare and I always wake up from it in despair, but relieved that it isn’t what’s actually happening (at least not that badly).
I’m in that space late in my career when I want to direct rather than act but don’t have the network around me that enables me to do that. As I approach retirement I know more and more people who have crossed over into it. I also know more people who are getting properly old and are struggling with the complications that brings. Getting old is difficult and few people seem able to do it with any kind of grace.
Getting old and retiring from riding has come up before in TMD. A few years ago Jeff and I rescued a BMW from a retired rider which led to For Whom The Bell Tolls. This guy had ridden the BMW home from a conference fifteen years earlier, parked it in his shed and it then sat there. He finally sold it on to Jeff when he honestly told himself he was never going to ride again. I get all Dylan Thomas about that and think I’ll be riding to the end no matter what. Twenty years of deterioration with no time in the wind at the end of life doesn’t sound like living at all.
|Hasn’t happened yet in 2022 and I’m missing the Frostbite.|
This is the kind of thing I don’t usually carry with me because I’d go out for a ride and ruminate on things until I found my quiet centre again, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance style, but I’m in another never-ending Canadian winter with COVID piled on top (and on the verge of WW3), and instead of being in the wind I’m stuck inside. This is the only year in the past many where I haven’t managed a cheeky February ride on a clear day. Riding and aging are both very difficult things and doing them well is more than many people can manage, for me it’s even worse when I can’t get out into the wind.
Nothing like a bit of poetry to create some perspective:
Do not go gentle into that good night
Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1:
Tao Te Ching Chapter 4
Tao Te Ching Chapter 5
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