Support your local group ride

Only if you want to.

With daylight saving coming and going (and who could forget Pi day which I had reluctantly forgotten) so begins the season of spring / summertime bike racing. But more importantly, group riding. If you have been lucky enough to hear me wax poetic about this topic, you know it holds a special place in my heart, legs, and gag reflex. I owe a tremendous amount of personal success to group rides. My current circle of friends and physical fitness are both rooted in group riding.

Group riding provides a safe space for everyone to not only become familiar with one another, but reduce the pressures of competitive, formal bike racing. While there is an unwritten code of ethics and etiquette when discussing the topic, once executed successfully, the benefits are tremendous. 

Some of you may have guessed that yesterday marked the start to a local group ride out here in the 818. There were many people who showed up for the maiden voyage. Most admitted they have been thinking about this day since last week. Some to regain their fitness they once had, others to catch up with others whom they do not regularly see. For me, it’s a bit of both. Also to see new faces and to take note of any physical or mental growth. 

What better place for people of different collars and creeds to get together and co exists for one common goal? It’s a stretch, but it’s one step towards a utopian world. I cannot say enough good things about weekly group riding. Some weeks go better than others. I would be lying if on occasion fatigue sets in, poor decisions are made, and tempers flare as a result. 

With that being said, last night we all met up at the local university, caught up on life, rode bikes, and parted ways on a good note. This may come off as vague and boring, but one much experience it to grasp the weight of the environment. I deeply enjoy group riding and enjoy my current fitness level along with the time of year. What an exciting time to be alive. 

Until next time…. 

Memorable Moments

2017: The Year of getting your (my) life together. Not that things were catastrophically wrong and needed order to begin with. Between beginning to ride competitively again, weight loss, and crawling out of the hole that is financial debt, I feel as though life is beginning to regain it’s order.

All of the above mentioned actions have grown the seed in my head that believes that a more memorable existance is achieved with a healthy relationship with fatigue. Some might be able to see where this is going. For those who need a little more explanation, please allow me to share my point of view.

Let us imagine a trip, whether it is a cross country vacation, a honeymoon, or an escape to an isolated destination to a local park. Everything has been prepared, there are no significant delays, many pictures are taken, you as a result feel that this trip has enriched your life in one way, shape or form. To that I agree. Here lies the twist. Even though this trip went for all theoretical accounts according to plan, there still remains this increased effort to retain all of the positive things that have happened. We might have albums with many photos to capture the memories of time well spent. Others might precede to write things down in a journal, or phone a friend to share all that happened as best as we can remember. Some may go a step beyond all that and paint a mural, direct a film, or support a cause of their choosing. All (and while it is by no means the sole reason for asking so) to recall all the events that have taken place.

Now imagine if things did not go according to plan. Your luggage gets lost, there are travel delays, you lose your wallet or lose your way home. Sure you might manage to jot a few things down or get a photo from when things go from bad to worse. It is my belief that you require less mental assistance when it comes to recalling memories of less successful events. Ever ask someone about a thing they did that didnt go so well? Ever notice how they are able to recall more details from memory then pulling out the phone to jog other positive thoughts?

Full disclaimer: I do not want my point to be exaggerated and made to believe that I wish everyone I know lose their stuff and their minds all for the sake of memory. I believe that there is a balance that can be kept in which we are able to have a more memorable experience.

Call it fatigue, stress, or grit. The term you use does not matter. The act of enduring outside your comfort zone no matter how it manifests itself allows us to mentally and physically capture the experience in a more effective way than others. What you choose to do with these memories is up to you. I understand that there are hundreds of thousands or atrocities that go on on a day to day basis and that the best course of action is to do our best to forget some memories of when times were tough. Forgetting may be more difficult to do as a result. To put a positive spin on things, lets think of when this can be used to benefit us.

Hard work is hard for a reason. While I have no idea why that is the case, the fact remains that in order to do something with increased difficulty, there is a more likely chance that stress will come as a result in one shape or another. I am under the impression that this type of stress keeps us sharp. It can be useful, however too much of anything can be negative towards our well being. We all have different ways in which we benefit the most from stress. Some have different tolerances and those need to be acknowledged and respected by others. There is an ebb and flow that comes with enduring stress. In certain environments it is used as a tool, while in others, it is a pest that needs to be eliminated from our headspace.

All to say I am projecting my own experience in an effort to justify its normality. Most of what I do involves me being a degree of separation from a level of comfort. Call it sadistic, but I have recognized that this can be used to achieve some beneficial and memorable existance. I am not expecting everyone to agree with what I am saying. Perhaps consider the thought the next time you find yourself in a sticky situation. Be mindful of how well you (or someone you know) is able to recal recent events that ended on a sour note, or encountering an obstacle along the way. What better time to share this than on a gloomy Sunday morning right? With all that being said….

Until next time

Conflicting Conversations

The transfer of thoughts and ideas. Simple enough right? People have many options when it comes to how they want to get an idea to one another. Once all is said and done, mission accomplished. Right? Say what you need to say, then the exchange begins.

I’m not here to explain something we all are aware of and know how to do. My concern is the flow in which this process takes place. For anyone who has stayed two weeks in in a biology class, the term fluid mosaic shohuld jog some familiar thoughts. Organelles moving in unison with one another, working together, performing separate tasks for the greater good. If it is good enough for the human body, it’s good enough for myself.

My concern is, if a model such as the human body works so well as a majority ( I am aware there are many flaws, but given the phisiology, we as humans work pretty well) why cannot we apply these principles to other aspects of human life? Why can’t conversations work in this same way? I was in a work meeting not too long ago and the clash of speech was discomforting to say the least. I canno’t grasp how speaking over others is an effective form of communication. As someone who communicates best by thinking before I speak, I get cut off in conversations almost every day. Trying to be the patient change I wish to see, I cannot help but point out this to other people. The strange thing is people seem to have little to no sense that they are doing this.

How can you sleep at night knowing that you as a person are getting through to someone when they haven’t finished speaking? I understand that there is a limited ability to do more than one task at a time. This doesn’t hold up in the long run. This clash makes me want to shut off immediately. I know we all get wrapped up in thoughts and feel that we need to say right away or else we will lose the resale value on our homes, get points knocked off of our credit score, or heaven forbid, forget. Please, from someone who functions best in a less vocal, fluid way, please be considerate of the way you communicate is affecting others.

Until next time,

My Existance is: Piecing itself together

Rich, fruitful, questionable, futile? I haven’t the slightest idea.  I want to try and make some sense of my impact on this planet

Today my existance is piecing itself together. Realizing the benefits order can have to One’s own life experience. Some requires more than others. I personally fall under the category of requiring an increased amount of order to have comfort in my own skin. The feeling of control is an intoxicating and empowering emotion. At the same time, once order has been established if there is something that brings us bliss (I.e: bikes) the balance of order and the raw, blank canvas that is riding bikes justifies existance if only momentarily.

A lot of philosophical talk about the perks of having a clear head (clear of distractions) and an able body. A lot of changes are going on both upstairs and on a more visceral level. World views are being defined. Personal goals are being set based on their impact on the psyche. This vulnerability is having effects on those around me. Some for better, some for worse.

My existance at this point in time is answering the big questions like, “What do you want to do with your life? What is important to you? What are you willing to take a stand for?”

Up until recently, I have not had a clear idea of answers to these questions. Both time and other’s experiences have begun to carve out a refined path. Glossing over some of the finer details, things are beginning to improve. The best part is there is tangible feedback. Getting this behavior in order has done great things for my mental well being.

When the order is in the proper place, some of us (myself) prosper. 

A March with Anxiety

Woke up sore today. Not sure if it was from the late night, bumping elbows with thousands of people in Los Angeles, or the aftermath of experiencing my first anxiety attack.

I would like to think that I have a higher tolerance for stress. Between riding bikes, the nature of my job answering phones and multi-tasking, I keep a level head through most of the day in and day out. That being said, it has become very clear that we all have our tipping points. I hit mine on Saturday. What seemed like a good idea to be among others who were upset by the recent election results (the same demographic that represents the majority of people who voted for our current president based on gender and race, but that is an unpopular opinion for another day) slowly backfired. I have had a similar experience about five years ago when I attended the Halloween costume party held on Santa Monica blvd in West Hollywood. Being in close proximity to that many people is bad for introverts. I did not have the same reaction as I did this weekend, but it felt similar.

There is an insightful video in which an average man goes into an oxygen deprivation room to understand what fighter pilots must go through in order to determine their hypoxic  tolerance. This is the closest thing I can come to as far as a comparative explanation. Now I didn’t turn blue or lost the ability to recognize and say my name, but I slowly felt the need to escape from a confined space to no avail or reprieve. There was without a doubt an overwhelming amount of people in the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Buses were saturated. Streets were  saturated with people. My emotional tolerance was also saturated.

As a result, I am left conflicted as to whether in my personal experience, this march was worth the levels of stress I encountered. In retrospect, I can sympathize with ‘why’ this event took place. People are shocked and upset that the majority of our country’s population voted a president in office who is able to do serious harm to the people they are chosen to represent. People got together to let off some steam, and encourage others to continue to be good people. I get it; sort of. Despite the popularity and the underlying reasons to why this march became so popular, I was forced to deal with a severe case of anxiety that I have never experienced. I know most people I know and am friends with were there and spirits were raised (if only temporarily) but other than being physically held in a time of need, I am having trouble seeing the positives, if this was the result.

I now know big groups are not my thing. In attempting to rationalize what had happened, I recalled what other setting could resemble something like a big group of people occupying a space. Nightclubs? Not for me for this exact reason. Bike races? Yes, but there is no more than 100 to maybe 200 people at a bike race in southern California. Hospitals? Hospitals can become crowded, but there are opportunities to escape when the mood gets tense. I was stuck on Saturday with no escape and had to deal. I had a good cry and am glad it was through this way and not through a syncopal episode where I would have needed a medical escort from one dense space to another. Next time, I’ll try and anticipate what I am getting myself into the next time I think an event like this is beneficial for a hermit like myself.

until next time….

What do you Hear / See when….

Now for a lighter subject to observe.

Music and almost all other forms of art are heavily based on that person’s perception. It (in this case, lets focus on music) is why there are a plethora of music genres that resemble and are far between one another. We all hear things both from a group mindset and from a more individualistic perspective. This is why things such as radio stations exist and also why artists who have not received radio play still receive critical acclaim. If anyone has walked through a museum, there is a strong chance that a thought resembling some type of understanding for why people do what they do will fill our heads. I want to stray to a similar but different question. What stands out to others when listening to music?

Is the the lyrics, tempo, volume, melodies, harmonies (two different things) or something else I have not mentioned. It struck me as odd when people mentioned if a song I was listening to was sad or a happy song. I never saw songs with that type of lense before. Why? I would argue because I primarilly listen to the instruments that do not involve the human voice. I find that I am more receptive to melodies, tempos, and what instruments stand out. Having never given an honest attempt at singing and having played other musical instruments in the past, I gravitate to the craft of playing other instruments more than singing and lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I am able to appreciate it all. Lyrics are usually not the first thing that stands out to me.

The same can be said for film. I find myself asking others questions to the extent of, “what about this movie stands out most?” and “what do you look for in a movie that you wish to enjoy?” What fascinates me about this is that most of the time, you get a different answer depending on who you ask. Five people could be watching the same movie at the same time, in the same place, and have five different interpretations of what they have just seen. All shedding light on the bigger picture in the grand scheme of things. This thought experiment Isn’t necessarily to reach an end goal. More to see how far we are able to expand on a particular subject. I personally get a kick out of this and enjoy trying to duplicate this is more ways than one.

The strange thing is that when it comes to movies, writing stands out to me. Dialogue is important and can either make or break a performance. When it comes to music, I look more toward the written notes other than the written lyrics. As much as I enjoy communication, a different itch must be scratched when it comes to music. Again, don’t get me wrong, I’m not listening to the most complex instrumental artists on repeat in my spare time. The human voice has a place in music and completes the sound. The point I am attempting to make is that it is not the first thing that hits me as a listener and that we should take some time out to figure out what does to those in our immediate circles. The answer may surprise you.

To Stand Up or to Stand Aside

There comes a time when we as individuals decide whether time spent with others is worth our effort. An emotional cost-benefit analysis if you will. We love to romanticize how from here on out there will be little to no drama in our lives.  Good luck with that. People fail to realize how challenging this can be. People don’t realize how much their lifestyle is centered around these controllable stresses. If you have ever seen someone deal with addiction, there is a strong chance you know how this looks.

So why bring this up in the first place? The new calendar year has everyone thinking about change. How can we change what we are currently doing to be a more enjoyable experience. Whether it be work, home life, personal health, family, or friends, most of us reflect on different approaches to improve our current unique situation. I say all of this to say that we are hitting the first step with precision and without difficulty. The steps that immediately follow are where we begin to slip. Suddenly, the pursuit of a less dramatic life becomes a task that requires more effort than we expected. Once we are inconvenienced, we tend to put our original plans on the back-burner at let them wither away.

Just because things are difficult, doesn’t mean they are not achievable. I personally had a bit of a reality check when it comes to taking action to get what I want. I’ll spare the specifics. In summary, that feeling of unsure, nervous, holding yourself back for the sake of comfort crept up and I buckled. So here I sit, in a state of constant reflection, wondering if I should make a fuss about things that have slowly become a concern on my radar.

The time has come for that type of person to emerge. With that being said, there is a fine line with picking and choosing what is worth our time and effort. Do we stand up to the point of exhaustion? Or do we stand aside and deal with internalized thoughts. I am not the type of person to leave topics unattended for an extended amount of time. I have a voice and my approach justifies it’s need to be heard. Until the next time comes, I will prepare myself for the next time that all too familiar feeling of fear of straying too far from comfort shows itself. I want to be ready to react with confidence despite what might be going on emotionally. Might ruffle some feathers, might not. To me, the benefit outweighs the cost.