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September 1999

Something to live for…

I've never been one to buy into New Year's resolutions or setting personal goals. Most of my life has been, basically, career driven. I also figured that if I were successful in my professional life, the personal stuff would fall into to place. Don't get me wrong -- my personal life is important, after all I'm writing this on a plane to Las Vegas while the rest of the All-OffRoad crew are already there hanging on to their XRs as they fly through the 106 degree heat in the Las Vegas desert. Why? Because I chose my daughter's first birthday party instead of attending an epic send-off ride for Bryce (you see this Las Vegas trip is his bachelor party; he's the last to get hitched and this is probably the last of a series of unbelievable bachelor parties). Anyway, the point I'm headed towards is that I've always had an idea of what I wanted out of my personal life but never really worked for it -- it just fell into place. All in all, this isn't as bad as it may sound to some. However, all that's changed.

Before I ramble much further I'd like to touch on the topic of competition. I believe in winning. I'll do whatever it takes to win and I rarely follow the rules. I'll follow them if convenient. I'll bend them if I want to, and I'll just plain ignore them if that's what it takes. The bottom line is that if I don't think I will win, I won't bother to play. Many consider this an unhealthy attitude. I get a little annoyed by it and had been hoping to not pass it on to my kids. However, this attitude has also changed, a little.

Last June I entered my first off-road competition. If you read the June and July issues you already know all about that. That was an incredibly hard thing for me to do. Why? Because I knew I could never win. If I couldn't win, why bother? Well, at the time, I wasn't really sure. It was mostly an ego thing. George sorta harassed me about it and, most likely after a couple beers, I ended up agreeing to it. Once I'd gone that far, I couldn't back out. That, I think, was a good thing. It certainly changed my outlook on things a bit.

I decided that if I couldn't win I'd consider myself a winner if I passed at least one person. After all, that would mean that I didn't lose. Well, not wanting to go into the details again, I did pass several people but I didn't finish. According to the club they had about 160 entries with 135 finishers. George and I were part of the 25 that took a DNF (Did Not Finish). The problem with this is that I took the easy way out. It was too convenient not to finish, and it has been grating on me ever since. It's bothered me so much that I changed my fundamental philosophy of life (more on this in a later HighSides). Actually the DNF was only part of it. Before entering the enduro, I set two goals for myself. This in itself was unusual. More importantly, I succeeded in completing those goals and even more important than that, I got a rush from the feeling.

Setting goals and meeting them are not that unusual for me. I do it on a daily basis at work. Somehow that's completely different. When the goals are work-related, they must be done, it's not an option, and that's a big part of the difference. In my mind, it doesn't take any sort of personal commitment, it just happens. On the other hand, personal goals require a great deal of personal commitment because there are virtually no consequences for not completing them. However, the pay-off seems to be much more satisfying . . .

"High Sides" by Ev'Mon