Sometimes you don't realize the opportunities you have right in front of you until they are gone. Today I realized two things.
I was riding today and was focused on all that I had to accomplish during this ride. This was an important brick (a ride combined with a run immediately following), since my race is in two weeks. This would be a dress rehearsal of sorts. I had to ride for three and a half hours and then run for an hour. My wife was out of town and I had both my girls with me. The youngest had a soccer tournament at 8:15 in the morning and my oldest had practice at 10:00. Then we had a planned father- daughter dinner and pumpkin party at church at 6:00 and finally another tournament game at 7:45 tonight. So I was desperately trying to squeeze my workout in that short window in the afternoon. I wanted to get about 70 miles in on the bike and at least a 7 mile run. I wanted to practice nutrition and really feel comfortable with pace and effort and heart rate. So at about 2 and a half hours into the ride I come up on another rider, who is a little slower, I pass him and am about to go on. Of course, I am cordial as I do this, and say "hello" and "how are you?" but I fully expect that to be it. He takes the initiative to ask me where I am going. I didn't have a good answer for the "where" so I told him about 30 miles left. I slow down a bit, and I ask him about his ride (because I certainly don't want to be rude). He tells me he is riding to Memphis and then to Mobile, AL and then to New Orleans and so on.... I ask him why and he tells me "It's just one of those bucket list things". I ask him where he started from and he started in Santa Barbara, CA. He is riding across the country. His wife is following behind him and he has a support vehicle (neither of which did I see at any point on the ride). I tell him how cool that I thought that was and that was about it. He could tell I was focused on "going fast" and accomplishing my task, so he said "I don't want to slow you down" and with that I told him to be safe and have a great ride and I was gone.
It was several miles down the road, when I realized that I missed a real opportunity to talk to someone who was living out a really good story. I was so focused on my task that I didn't take the time to share in this guy's story and to make a friend. Now don't get me wrong, I mean I was strapped for time. I did get my miles in. I did get the run. I felt more confident after this session. But that really isn't the point. Somehow the big picture eluded me. I am regretting that now. Most things in life are not that important. My commitments are not that firm, that I shouldn't have extended a little more time to just talk and listen to another human being.
Here were my lessons learned: 1) We should all take time to experience life and share it with others. 2) We should never be satisfied with looking in the rear view mirror of our lives. Having a "bucket list" means that the best of our lives are still ahead of us.
Isn't this the way we were meant to live life? What is on your bucket list?