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  June 25, 2010
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Best laid plans of mice and men...  

Last Saturday, like most Saturdays, I went for a long bike ride. The only thing exceptional about this particular Saturday bike ride was the route.

Last weekend I was on vacation with my girlfriend and a few other couples helping to celebrate the 50th birthday of my best friend Erik in Cambria, CA; along the Pacific Coast just north of San Luis Obispo. 

There were several activities planned for the weekend but I was able to get up early Saturday morning and go off on a ride while the other weekend guests went to tour the Hearst Castle just up the road.

I had a planned a route that day that would take me approximately 70 miles, which is a bit longer than my normal Saturday ride but by no means my longest ride of the year.  I figured there would be a few rolling hills along the way and perhaps a slight headwind on my way back up the coast.

Best laid plans of mice and men often go astray...

The few rolling hills I had planned turned out to be approximately 6000 feet of climb and the slight head-wind turned out to be a stiff 25 mile, in-your-face gale, over the final 28 miles.

Now had I known about the hills and head wind, I more than likely would have never even ventured a ride like that but ignorance is bliss and so off I went.  At the base of each hill, I would say to myself, this is probably the last one before the downhill section of the route, only to have another hill waiting for me around the bend.  And when the downhill section did finally come (whatever goes up must come down), the headwinds were waiting to sap whatever energy I had left.

In the end, I made it back to the house exhausted but safe (always a good way to finish a ride).  The scenery that day was spectacular!  I had pedaled through the central coast wine valley along country back-roads on a sunny brisk morning and along some of the most picturesque coastline in the world.  I felt good for the experience and was glad that I had chosen to ride that day.

On the long drive home on Sunday I started wondering, "How often do we start something in our life not knowing exactly how hard it will be or what lies around the corner?"

I took a moment to reflect upon the major I chose in college (electronic engineering) and how I was tempted each semester to switch to an easier major but kept going because I thought it would soon get easier (I figured at the time that it couldn’t get any harder...hah!).  The downhill part was sure to come...

After college I got married.  We had two children.  We started a new business.  We bought a house.  We ended up getting a divorce.

Each of the above milestone events are life-altering. 

We start out with little or no prior knowledge of what will lie ahead.  We just start pedaling with a faith in ourselves that we can overcome whatever lies before us.  Eventually we come to a hill and we work hard to climb to the top only to find that there is another hill just around the bend.

Sometimes the hill is just too steep and we need to look for another route up the mountain.  There is no shame in re-routing yourself.  The key to success is staying on the bike and eventually getting to the place you want to go.

I pondered about whether or not I would have completed or even started the ride that day if I knew in advance what lay before me.  How often do we start something perhaps not knowing what the final destination will be?  How often do we NOT start something because of the fear of the unknown?

What is the final destination of being a parent?  With so much uncertainty, why would anyone chose to be a parent?  People know that raising children is tough, but we do it anyway because most of the time the reward far exceeds the challenges.  We just keep pedaling.    

The same can be said about being in a relationship, or owning a small business, or being a homeowner or getting an education.  There are times of hard work but many times the human experiences are worth the effort.

We need to constantly reset our boundaries and challenge ourselves to reach new heights.  There will be some uphills and downhills and some headwinds and tailwinds.  We never know what lies around the bend but that’s the fun of life and we’ll feel better about ourselves in the end for having accomplished something meaningful.

Enjoy your best laid plans this weekend... 

Thank you very much for your continued support of OptiFuse where we rufuse to stop pedaling.

Jim Kalb

Previous Blogs

The Butterfly Effect

The Unforgettable Family Vacation

Happiness in Hard Times

The Law of Unintended Consequences

What Was the Question Again?

Give it a Rest for a Moment...

A Big Hole in the Ground


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