Last week, our very own Darryl from lovingthebike.com asked this question on Twitter:
“What’s on your cycling Christmas wish list?”
Without hesitation I responded, “Time and health to ride.”
I was with my family for Thanksgiving. We spent a fair amount of time after dinner talking about my dad — including the fact that my eldest sister is now past the age he was when he died.
His final five years weren’t great. He had a stroke while undergoing open heart surgery when he was only 60 years old. Before that, he was an incredibly vital and hardworking man. Thankfully his speech was not affected from the stroke and he recovered enough that he could walk with a cane. But he basically lost the use of half his body.
I know the hardest part for him— and for those of us who loved him — was the loss of his independence. He could no longer work, and most of the plans he and my mother had for their retirement were no longer possible, as she needed to continue working. He needed help dressing and getting around. He was a truck driver by trade yet could no longer drive himself. This man, who was my hero, needed help every day of those final years.
So my answer to that question was heartfelt and serious. I’m thankful every time I’m able to go out and ride, or walk to the store, or climb the steps at home that lead to my bedroom.
Especially as I get older, my wish list for Christmas and every other day of the year is not about material things. Rather, I wish that riding my bike, eating well, and surrounding myself with people (and dogs) I love will keep me mentally and physically strong so that I can tackle anything that comes my way.
We can never take our independence for granted.