18 August 2013

Wild-Ass Plans

For the last several years, I have navigated my life around what I like to call 'Wild-Ass Plans.'   A WAP is a goal, a plan, that doesn't have to be spectacular, just something you want to accomplish.  One should always be there, somewhere on a back burner.  Anything from starting a family, making a expensive but meaningful purchase, to going back to school or traveling to a new and exciting place. I firmly believe these things are essential to a meaningful life.  They have helped me be decisive on big things, helped me to be frugal, and helped me to strive toward a purpose driven life.

The first and my favorite step of a WAP is to always say yes.  Despite what your friends, family, or colleagues say, if you want something- go out and get it. If someone questions your plan and your instinctive answer is "Why not?" then you are well on your way.  All you may need is a little spark in your mind. A little idea that becomes a (healthy) obsession.  Yes is the answer that takes courage.  Yes is never the regrettable answer.  Always say yes, because from there everything is possible.  (copyright resqellie)

From yes, the WAP moves into my next and second favorite stage which is planning. I love logistics more than UPS.  It may be pouring over train timetables, reading up on how cloth diapers work, or checking the hours of the justice of the peace, a little planning and research can go a long way.  While a WAP doesn't have to be expensive, financial planning is essential.  Pinching pennies is just one more challenge.  Planning can take years or months or maybe just that moment of inspiration is all you need to get started.

After planning is my other favorite stage:  execution.  This may be the most difficult part.  Having already said yes and figured out how to do it, now is the time to take the real first step. 

And that's all.  Most wild-ass plans are not as easy as this sounds, but who cares!  It's the thrill of the hunt that can be the best part.  In adult life, it is easy to forget to be inspired, curious, and creative.  Wild-ass plans in my life have helped me to rediscover these traits and believe me, it feels good. 

Every wild-ass plan comes with moments of clarity and terror, sometimes at the same time. 
The mark of a good one is to at some point think to yourself with more amusment than worry: "How did I get in this situation!?"
There is only one rule of wild-ass plans and that is to never give up.  So, go out there and find a little inspiration and courage and try something new.  Thanks for reading and now I'll conclude my motivational speech because I have some research to do. 

Big Wheel

Yesterday I witnessed something magic.  For the second time in my town, we hosted a High Wheel bicycle race.  This is a race between those huge one giant wheel/one small wheeled bicycles.  Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.  In fact, more awesome, I discovered, as I wandered through the huge crowd that had gathered for the occasion.  All sorts of people were there, and all stood for an hour, encouraging the racers as they went by.  These cyclists, due to the unusual fortitude required to sit five feet up on a wobbly bike with no brakes, have clear personalities.  There was the guy who fabricated his bike by hand into a work of art.  Another who wore (rather wisely) a full face helmet and was guided by the skull figurine welded to his handlebars.  The more traditional riders wore early 1900's garb and looked right at home atop their impractical velocipedes.  Well, at some point they were practical.  Until the chain drive was invented, increasing the wheel size did maximize efficiency and speed.  How anyone survived riding these bikes in traffic, on cobblestoned streets, or near basically any obstacle at all is beyond me.
But yesterday, maybe all of the Penny Farthing riders in the country gathered their boneshakers to ride around my city for an hour.  When they finished, the course was swamped with spectators, bursting with curiosity over the riders and their machines.  They were quized on the mechanics, posed for pictures, helped people pose atop their bicycles and for these glorious moments, biking was the coolest hobby in town.  The brave riders had become transitory celebrities.  As they passed on the 1/2 mile course (they rode for an hour competing for most laps completed) spectators whooped, clapped, and shouted "Moustache man" or "Socks" to newly nicknamed riders.  It was amazing to watch.  I felt pride in my town, proud in its people and, pride in cycling.   

10 August 2013

Lambo

I've found that using 'I can't do that tomorrow, I'm driving a Lamborghini.' as an excuse is very satisfying, especially when it's true. Last week, with my dad and friends we went and participated in a super car driving experience.  It was about five minutes of driving bliss.  The track was set up in a parking lot, which doesn't sound glamorous, but they packed in as many turns as possible.  And when you're in a Lamborghini, that's what matters.   Although, I would have liked to drive it in a straight line for a longer time, just to see how fast I could brave.  It is a powerful car.  So powerful that when I did get to punch it on the straight, the speed pushed me back in the seat and my foot slightly off of the pedal. 
If you're wondering, it was an automatic, or had stupid flappy paddle shifters.  I did a lap and a half with the paddles before the guy asked me if I wanted to switch.  "I don't know.  How am I doing?"  "No so well."  As he offered no advice for improvement, I switched to automatic and drove with abandon.  "How much is this car worth, anyway?"  I asked as I navigated through a serpentine (badly.)  "Um, about 220."  my copilot replied coolly.  "Oh, my!"  I said as a punched the accelerator.  After all, it's not my car.