Monday, September 12, 2011

Sometimes I think too much

I imagine as a person ages they come to crossroads and reflect upon where they are and where they are headed, how they spend their free time and what they want to achieve in the future as it pertains to hobbies, or travel. A man of Iron recently had these reflections which he blogged about recently HERE . I too came to the same intersection about a decade ago. I was always first to offer my services which people expected that I would jump to their rescue and many times I did. As photography has been my lifelong hobby "friends" with limited budgets would pounce on me to take their wedding photos. Even friends of friends have come knocking and expected that I too would "bend" to their desires. In the past, with good friends I would offer my services as a wedding gift, I would give them a day of my life, produce the negatives and give them to the lucky couple. All this for no payment and with my best wishes.

When our daughter got married, I called upon my photographer friends to help me snap a few photos. I would have taken them myself if I wasn't in the wedding party, so I left my camera at home. No one came to my rescue and thus I had to hire my own Wedding photographer just like everyone else. You may ask, what's this got to do with being a riding instructor and giving up all my free weekends training new riders ? Same analogy, just differing skills.

The first crossroads was exactly like the Man of Iron mentioned before. I too reflected on my free time, and all the stuff I did helping others on my free weekends, some appreciative, and others not so much. Ever since I made the decision to act upon my own priorties, over the whims of others who infringe upon my free time, I feel happier as I am steering my own course.

Lately I am feeling like I am too old. Nothing has changed, I still feel healthy except for my foot, but I can still walk under my own power, and I can still ride my motorcycle but I have come to my second crossroads. Thus, a good friend recently said to me that . . .

"I think too much"

And this is probably true because I came to a major crossroads in July when I should be retiring, except for the fact that the economy has collapsed again and we are dipping into another recession. I am a bit worried about the future and lack of income, so I trudge on and continue to work like many others of my generation. I have been issued a Gold Care Card which signifies that I am receiving my CPP: Canada Pension Plan and OAP: Old Age Pension and the fact that I am now officially an Old Person. I didn't really feel any different when I turned 65, but when I received my first pension payment, things changed. I call it Retirement Mode and I am using this transitional time to try and do things that cost less (or free), and I have been staying at home more to watch the grass grow.

This week I am on Vacation but I decided that I would stay close to home and find out what it would be like to "pretend" that I was retired . It is very rare that I would not plan to go anywhere when I have time off work. Of course the idea would be to do things that were cost efficient.

This morning I got my V-strom ready to go for a ride


I had no plans but ended up Downtown on Denman Street, then rode around our beach areas over to UBC: University of British Columbia where I parked in the motorcycle area


It was still early in the day. I was planning on going down to Wreck Beach to spend an hour or so but it was still cool and windy so I continued my ride to a viewpoint overlooking the Fraser River


The YVR: Vancouver International Airport is in the distance (left horizon)


There is not much beach access on this section of the UBC endowment lands. There are dangerous steep cliffs on the south side.


I decided to return home and park my bike. It was suggested to me to ride out to Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park but that is nearly 2 hours for me, each way and I didn't feel like navigating the traffic mess to get there. Being officially old I thought that I would prefer to keep a closer radius and just enjoy the day at a slower pace


I know it's not safe to sit on the railway tracks, and there are No Trespassing signs warning of danger but today I wanted to be a daredevil


Yes, we have a helmet law here for cyclists. I dread the thought of having to ride home from this spot as it is 5 kms all uphill and my legs are feeling like jello


and I had to stop a few times to catch my breath and rest. I must have looked like the walking dead, for one of my stops a lady came out of her home and asked if I was Okay. As I neared the top of the hill I noticed a red deux chevaux 2cv


Well, I managed to ride all the way up the hill under my own power. Not bad for an Old Guy, even though I had to stop a few times. I suppose it will get easier each time. I used the bike route and I was passed by a few other cyclists who "left me in their dust" . It's not easy to see them pass and a block later they are nearly out of sight.


It was a pleasant afternoon for a ride, a chance to get a bit of exercise and to build up my sandal tan



  1. Getting reflective is probably a natural effect from ageing Bob but the person who said you think too much has a point! As long as you're forward-thinking, that's ok. It's when the "if only I had...." creeps in that you're in trouble.

    Look forward my friend, do positive stuff and above all else, enjoy yourself. Oh, and in retirement, you're just as busy as when working. It's just that you have more control over what you do and when you do it.

    Thanks for the guilt trip re: cycling. I must get out more on my bicycle too :-)

  2. I prefer people that might think too much to people that don't think at all. Too many of those in the world. I am taking a few days off work this week, but will be spending half days doing some volunteer work for a little charitable event.
    Being reflective is a good thing. I have done a lot of it lately. New perspectives and goals can be the result. I like how you spent the day.
    Carpe diem, my friend.

  3. Hmmm, sounds all too familiar. It seems like there used to be enough time for everything but these days less so. I used to volunteer to help others, both friends and complete strangers, with all sorts of tasks and don't regret any of the time spent. During that time, helping others was how I spent my free time. About ten years ago, I was asked what my hobbies were. I couldn't think of anything that I did just for enjoyment or relaxation.

    I wouldn't worry about thinking too much. It's refreshing to hear in these days of folks not thinking at all. Maybe you need to run for political office. Thinking is rather rare in that group.

    And it sounds like you need to start climbing that hill everyday on your bicycle. Once you can ride forty miles, you can easily ride across the continent or even around the world. (given enough time). Along those lines, a few years ago, there was a retired gentleman from Fairbanks who had something to say to those in Washington D.C. so he hopped on his bicycle in September and headed east. He had his say and arrived back in town the following summer satisfied (and probably in really good shape). This could be you if you keep thinking and riding that bicycle.

    I must be getting old.....


  4. Dear Bob:

    Reflections of the old and athlete's foot have one thing in common: the welcome they get from the general public. Here are a few helpful tips:

    1) Being older means no one will instantly suspect you if you slip out to a go-go bar twice a week, claiming it is the library.

    2) Finding a 57-year-old girlfriend will now give you a thrill.

    3) Having a great bowel movement may become the highlight of the day. If so, don't tell any 57-year-old women you may be trying to impress.

    4) The retirement age in the US is now 97-years-old. I spent my 401K yesterday on a MacDonald's Happy Meal.

    5) 64 is the new 55. 65 is the new 87. Release figures carefully.

    6) Get a part-time job in a camera shop.

    7) Become a part-time bartender at Hooters.

    8) Become a part-time wedding night photographer, and start an interesting trend.

    9) And remember, if you are feeling low, you could always be eating cat food.

    10) Never be surprised when folks turn out to be scumbags... But give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  5. Another great post Bob and great photos to go with it. Your thoughts, and more importantly your photos that evoke your view of yourself and of the world around you, strike a chord in me. My wife and kids say I'm quirky. They say that because I'm the only grown-up they know who rides a motor scooter to work. They have other reasons as well. I take it as a compliment. I see myself in many of those photos. For instance, I'd love to have a Citroën 2CV. I can see myself sitting on a railroad track. I'd love to drive an antique fire truck. I look at all of this the way Wayne Dyer does: "It's never too late to have a happy childhood". The best we can do is dare to live our lives. I fail at that more than I succeed. I choose to keep on plodding as best I can. Good for you Bob, very inspiring thoughts.

  6. Bob I think you are a wise gentleman who is kind and a good friend. I think people when they get their gold care card somehow feel shocked because it is sort of a new stage of life. I would look at is another segment where you have time to do things and explore new things. Its almost like being a teenager again when you are discovering new things, the best part for you is that you are wiser and won't waste your time or make the stupid mistakes of the young. As for your friends who didn't help you on your daughter's wedding day they should be ashamed of themselves and maybe it is time for you to be a little more selfish with your gift of photography.

    You are a riding instructor?! Wow! I think people who have you as a teacher/mentor are very fortunate!

    Great pictures have you thought of selling some of them to magazines?

    I never thought at 47 I would be riding a scooter and taking a motorcycle course. My daughter at first thought my scooter riding was a little dorky, but it has grown on her. Her friends think I am cool because I am getting my motorcycle license. Apparently there is a new term for all us middle aged old farts who take up new things, it's called middlescence. Enjoy it and remember 65 is only just a number and you are a pretty cool dude!

    Your friend,
    Snicklefritz :)

  7. Geoff: Thank you for your sage advice. I shall follow your excellent example if I can ever afford to retire.

    Jimbo/cpa3485: I am glad you are progressing forward and still manage to find time to help others . I often find time to reflect on things when I am alone or riding, more so lately

    RichardM: Helping or doing favours for others makes a person feel good, but you should find some time to do things for yourself. I used to do a lot of cycling before, until I wrecked my knee and stopped, that's why I am taking it easier. I prefer something with a throttle.

    Jack: I used to cycle up and down the lane looking for that frustrated housewife. Every neighbourhood has one, but I never got lucky


    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood" those are wise words. The older we are the more we think about our "time left", places to travel to, projects to finish, experiences to experience. Twenty years ago an adult friend once asked me "when was the last time you walked barefoot in a pool of mud ?" It's one of life's simple pleasures I have yet to experience. (if you do it first, post a photo)

    Snick/Dar: NO, I am not a riding instructor, it was analogy that we each have different skills we may be proficient at and use what we know to train or help others, sometimes without appreciation.

    co-incidently I purchased my first m/c 47 years ago, even though I had ridden years before and owned a few mini bikes and a moped, so you have many years of riding to look forward to

  8. Thanks for the post. It was helpful. Right up until the part about yet ANOTHER crossroads I'll be facing.

    Seriously, reading some of your comments and this post have helped with perspective.

  9. I just like the pictures. :) hehehe

    Good post. I know you and I have discussed it recently and we are in agreement. So do for yourself that which makes you and your loved ones happy.

  10. Oh yeah...and WIMP for not going to Alouette Lake. Perfect time to go when everyone else is stuck at work!