Check the Tires
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
You ever try to ride a bike with a flat tire?
If you haven't, let me assure you, that it is incredibly difficult to do.
You won't get far, and you certainly won't go fast.
These days, I look back on a good majority of my life, and very matter of factly consider it to have been an exercise in futility.
Oh, I've tried, alright.
I mean, the bike was shiny and new. It was sleek and lightweight, with super cool grips, a padded seat, and a freshly oiled chain.
It had more gears than you could shake a stick at, an aerodynamic design that was clearly built for speed, and a frame that was sturdy enough to survive the long haul.
I looked the part, too. I wore the shorts (literally...I have worn the shorts...yikes), the helmet, shoes, shades, and official participatory jersey.
Yep, I was a one man Tour de France, yet still felt like I was finishing last after every leg of the race.
In short, I was riding on flat tires.
It's not that I hadn't noticed.
It would have been hard not to have known.
But I had convinced myself that I could overcome flat tires, bent rims, or any other mechanical deficiencies by pedaling increasingly harder, and faster.
Athletic analogies aside, and in case it isn't obvious by now, my life wasn't working.
In fact, it was a mess. But it was MY mess. And you may as well stick with what isn't working for you, right?
At one point, after the dissolution of my first marriage, I consulted a behavioral psychologist to help steer my children through the wreckage of my latest failure.
At this point, I offer a well deserved congratulatory victory lap to all those who at one time or another muttered the phrase, "That kid needs to see a shrink.".
Well done, peeps! I should have listened.
In any event, I went for my children. I stayed for myself.
I learned. A lot.
Every trip to her office was like going to see the "feel good hit of the season", but for more money, and without the bucket of popcorn.
I mean, I laughed. I cried. It kept me on the edge of my seat, each and every time.
At one point, we began to discuss my skill set. What was I good at?
Truthfully, it was difficult to think of anything.
Well, that's not really true. I already knew my strengths.
But saying it? Out loud? Where someone else might actually HEAR it?
You have got to be kidding me!
Now, if she had asked me about my weaknesses?
Ok, NOW we're talking. I could have waxed on poetically for hours on end, about my ability to suck, and not even begun to have scratched the surface.
But this chick was having none of it. She was going to sit there, wait me out, and force me to say something nice about myself.
GAWD, I hated her.
What can I say? She wore me down.
I caved, and I told her the truth. I was very strong in creative endeavors.
Writing. I had been recognized for it as far back as elementary school, and had continued to sharpen and cultivate that ability throughout my life.
Music. I was born into a musical household. I was a good singer, and had a good sense of melody, and phrasing.
Speaking. I had always had a good grasp of language, and my time spent playing in bands had afforded me the opportunity to learn how to read a room, and communicate with an audience, and do so in entertaining fashion.
Depends on your taste, I suppose.
At least, I didn't think so.
But these were my passions.
And no one has been more surprised than me to discover that in 2019, these "Creative" skills are not only appreciated, they're actually sought after.
Digital marketing agencies, public relations firms, the political arena, non-profit organizations, the corporate world, small businesses, and more...
They all use writers, public speakers, and audio editors.
The point here isn't to brag or complain.
It's not to ask for sympathy, or to solicit your support.
The point of this, is to share.
Plain and simple.
What we have in common is the human experience.
The human condition.
We are all in this together, and life is too short.
Be good to yourself.
Don't be afraid to hop back on the bike, and hit the road.
Just, check the tires.
ALWAYS. CHECK. THE. TIRES.