How I know I'm not having a midlife crisis

- Jul 06, 2014

Since buying a motorcycle I feel in many ways like I have been converted to a new religion. And my life has all the qualities of a conversion experience. I incessantly talk about it to everyone I know (and even people I don’t know), I try and convince those who don’t share my riding religion that they should, my owner’s manual is my Bible and I read these holy scriptures morning and evening. It’s amusing to think about riding in terms of a spiritual experience; but for me it’s maybe not so very far from the truth.

Getting a bike and riding came amidst a host of other changes for me. After a decade I quit my job running a produce shop, we had our fourth baby, and I am starting school again this summer to finish my Education degree. Actually, my life has all the hallmarks of a midlife crisis, which was a little disconcerting until a friend pointed out that it isn’t really a midlife crisis unless you buy a Harley. That’s a relief. Nevertheless, there are a lot of unknowns in life right now, a lot of uncertainties and the potential for no small amount of fear. Of course, taking chances is always risky and I find myself oscillating between wanting the challenging thrill of following my dream and the almost equally powerful desire for safety and security.

We’ve opted for risky. Besides, there are no guarantees in a life of safety anyway, and exactly what this choice means for family, career, finances and everything else is uncertain…and exhilarating. If riding is a religion then it’s the right religion for me. Riding, like life, is exhilarating. When you head out the door there is no telling where the road will take you or where your choices may lead you. Moreover, riding puts me in a place of gratitude. I don’t know what it’s like anywhere else, but in the world of MotoVida that I’ve experienced people don’t ride out of a sense of entitlement or because they have an axe to grind against the man (although, I think if you ride you should stick it to the man every now and again), they ride because riding is fundamentally a good thing and, really, how can anyone be anything but grateful when riding?

When I’m riding there is no time for regrets, no second guessing my decisions, no moments to waste worrying about the future because the present is way too vivid. And, at the end of the day, that’s how I want to live my life - on and off the motorcycle. Riding, like all the other really valuable things in my life, was given to me as a gift. And I think for a gift to be properly realized or fully received it should be used well and should be used often. So I happily ride as often as can. I have some time off between work and university that I get to spend with my kids. I don’t have to rush off every morning so I have a little extra time with Lindsay in the evening. The Okanagan summer is warm, the drinks are cold and I find myself surrounded by good people. The future may be full of uncertainty, but the present is full of wonder. These are beautiful gifts and what else can I say but thank you? And this is how I know I’m not having a midlife crisis: the Radian isn’t something I need to escape from my life - it makes all the other good and beautiful things in my life even more good and beautiful. As I begin to appreciate one gift I also begin to see the value of all the other gifts in my life more clearly. Perhaps I am endowing riding with more potency than it deserves - but we can let motorcycle enthusiasts and classical philosophers fight that one out. What I do know is this: the sun came up this morning and I was given the gift of another day. And it’s a good day for riding.

 

David Balfour was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and has since lived in Edmonton, Alberta, as well as British Columbia’s Cariboo and Kootenay regions before settling in the Okanagan. David has had a variety of career tangents through the years: he was a roadie for a rock band in the 1990s, he worked on a mushroom farm, completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, owned a small business and is currently completing his Education degree at the University of British Columbia.

David is new to the world of motorcycles in general and MotoVida in particular. However, a love found later in life is better than a love never found at all. He lives in Kelowna, BC with his wife, Lindsay and their four children, Emma, Annie, Aidan and Cordelia, and the Radian, his motorcycle.

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