Old Boots, an Old Motorcycle, and a Sense of Adventure
In my closet I have a pair of cowboy boots.
They aren’t much to look at.
In fact, they are pretty stained and beat up.
But I’m very, very attached to these bits of leather.
I don’t normally keep every pair of old shoes, but these are special.
From the broken cinch tab, to the oil stain on the right boot, to the worn spot on the left toe from the shifter, they tell me a story.
While I’ve actually ridden a horse while wearing them, these boots were an integral part of my life when I had a motorcycle parked in my driveway.
For those of you who actually care about such things, it was a 1984 Honda Goldwing Aspencade – the original behemoth touring bike. It was large, and comfortable, and even had a coffee cup holder for the long journeys.
Those who are bikers know there’s a practical purpose for boots on a motorcycle, as those who have ever burned their ankle on an exhaust pipe can attest.
Aside from looking cool, boots are part of your safety gear.
So… where are you going with this Kevin?
In my life I have found that there are two types of people…
Those who have a passion for the feeling of freedom that riding a motorcycle down a winding country road can impart…
… and those who are still trying to understand why their life doesn’t make sense.
If you haven’t figured it out, I’m in the first group.
At least I was.
We were living in a house without a garage.
I was less than a kilometer away from my work.
I had a schedule that was fully booked, even on weekends.
So the bike was sitting.
Which isn’t good for either people or motorcycles.
So I found a home for the bike where it would be ridden.
It was a hard thing, but it was the right thing to do.
Holding onto that bike for the sake of having it wasn’t smart.
But the interesting thing was, I found out it wasn’t the motorcycle that gave me a sense of freedom.
It was the experience of breaking out of my normal pattern and doing something daring, and bold, and exhilarating.
My motorcycle fed my sense of adventure.
Something we are all born with, but is somehow ‘trained’ out of us by the challenges of adulthood, careers, relationships, and society.
We are told that ‘steady as she goes’ is the surest path to success, that being ‘safe’ is good, and being adventuresome is foolhardy.
When I look back on my life and catalog the moments that I cherish and the moments I regret, there seems to be a pattern.
Each and every one of the moments I am proudest of involved an adventure… moving out of my comfort zone and trying new things…
… My regrets (because hindsight is 20:20) are those times I played it safe and didn’t take risks.
Now I’m not talking about the kind of risks that would lose the house and farm, or stupidly risk your life (although if you are in the second camp about the motorcycle thing you may disagree).
I’m talking about breaking out of the ‘safe’, the ‘predictable’ and the ‘I’m doing it because everyone else is doing it’ pattern of living.
I’m talking about not letting fear and bias get in the way of trying something new.
Time for a segue…
When my youngest son was 18 and about to graduate high school, I asked him to summarize all the fatherly wisdom I had given him in one sentence.
Much of my advice was about the very concept above… to be his own person, to try new things, to be real about the risks…
His summary, which took him about 2 seconds to formulate, was the following:
“Don’t be Stupid!”
(Which actually makes sense when you think about it)
So… back to the story.
While the motorcycle is living at a new home, I still have the boots.
They are a reminder to me that I need to be adventuresome… in my life, in my family, in my career.
They remind me that I need to make the time for adventure.
… and getting back to the reason I wore the boots on the bike, they also say to me… “Don’t be Stupid”._____________________________________________________________________________
About the Author:
I’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology. I'm also a beBee Brand Ambassador.
I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.
In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee (www.bebee.com/@kevin-pashuk) , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at TurningTechInvisible.com.
I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at www.flickr.com/photos/kwpashuk