What makes us do what we do? I really don’t know if I can truly come up with an answer. Our lives are an accumulation of our experiences. From the time we are born to the very moment we are all at, those experiences contribute to who we are at that very moment. So what has the most defining role in who you are at that moment? Is it the longest time you have been exposed to something? Could it be your parents or caregivers as you grow up? Maybe school, church, or work? Is the sum of who you are able to be influenced by small changes, or in life’s average do they have little effect?
There are times in my life that just one sentence, look, encounter have contributed greatly to who I was at that moment. Now how long does that effect last? Does it become part of who you are forever or does it all fade with time into the average of your life? I guess this all determines things that we can label that are a long list of personality traits. I’m not sure if I know anyone who hasn’t struggled at some point in their lives with who they are and who they want to become. I know I have and as you can tell by this post I am thinking about who I am.
When we meet people on the road we can choose to make that person a part of who you are or to pass by and keep on going. I have been trying to make it more of a point to connect with the people I am meeting along the way. For example, say a simple hi to someone who is passing by, as you are hiding in the shade of a feed bard, trying to get out of the heat. And that person deciding to turn around and stop instead of keep on going.
It was the first person I’d had seen going my direction and actually touring and not out for just a day ride. When she stopped the conversation started as many have before that about where we were going and why we were riding. She told me of her brother and how she started her trip on the Golden Gate Bridge and was riding home in memory of him. We talked about my ride and the Ride 2 Recovery group for which I am raising funds. After our stories were done we both got on our bikes and headed down the road.
She was traveling much lighter than I, well everyone is traveling lighter than I am, and was soon out of sight as we climbed the next hill. On the other side I was able to catch back up and from then on we just kind of started riding together.
Over the next few days we shared the road together and I know that she helped me get over some of those hills. It is really nice to connect with someone and support each other with the struggles of heat, hills, and wind. I believe that we as a human race are here to help each other. We are not meant to be, or for that matter able to survive, totally on our own. We all have a dependency on each other in some way or another.
We can live alone but we still can’t survive alone. No one and I mean no one can. We band together and build cities because we depend on each other. In that world of interaction we still build our own walls to keep others out. Whether those walls are actual brick or mortar, or just the bubble (wall) we put up around ourselves they are there. It is rather strange with our need for each other that we still try so hard to separate ourselves.
I know that as I took a day of rest today and she continues on home that loss of someone to share the road with is felt. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of feeling on the road. I knew that someone might ride with me and it would help boost my moral and energy but I didn’t expect the feeling of loss when that person would be leaving and living their own life.
I said I was trying not to have any expectations during this trip but I am finding that is an impossibility for me. I know for myself that no matter what happens I live life by expectations. It is how I get from one day to another. It is when the unexpected happens and how I react to it, that becomes part of the sum of who I am at that moment and possibly for the rest of my life.
I will use this time to continue to add to my life’s average and make those interactions with others a part of who I become. I know I plan to see Jennifer (yes for those who know me it is the same name as my ex-wife) again since my planned route comes within about seven miles of her home. She said she would come back out and ride with me as I pass through her part of the country.
Until then I will press on discovering the wonders of this country, of the people, and of myself.
BIYLJ (Jennifer knows)