Monday, August 02, 2010
The View from my Bicycle
You Only Live Once – by Nick van der Leek
Even if you’re a born again Christian, I’m afraid you only live once. And don’t come with patronizing bullshit like if you miss out on some or other opportunity not to worry another one will come up. Even if you’re talking about an annual event – no, what you miss you lose forever. Your only hope is to anticipate better the next time and perhaps make the best of an opportunity, but let’s be clear – if you miss an opportunity it is gone forever. You’re not going to get it back.
I was quite moved by a local dude cycling around St George’s Park, essentially in circles, from 12 noon Saturday to 12 noon Sunday. Afterwards someone said the dude is very humble and doesn’t do anything for publicity. Really? Then why is it in the newspapers? Why get sponsored? No I think the publicity and interest from friends and family is one of the prime motivators.
I’m not a Christian – was once – and so found the tearful attribution to God and one’s home cell both touching to some extent [touching that a close knit group of friends were supportive]. Of course, impressionable young children who saw this tearful man may well be inspired to think that excellence requires belief in God. I’m not sure that it does, in fact, I’m quite certain that it does not.
Excellence, really, requires having excellent standards for oneself, and having these standards shared by those around you. Religion is a great scenario for this sort of communal standard setting. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t an alternative. Perhaps there is, business, and sport, and other competitive scenarios. But I mean in the community, it’s a pity we can’t voluntarily choose to belong to a set of higher standards that we know serve us better as individuals, and also as a community of people. Maybe one could call that politics, but until now, politics is very much the gift of the gab, and actions speak louder than words.
In the end, we can measure the effectiveness, the happiness, of our own lives, by the actions we undertake. You might be glad you are not cycling around a park at 11pm or 3am or 4am. But I can promise you, at the end of your life, the one who cycled for 24 hours will remember the gift of those 24 hours of struggle, whereas the person on the couch, who was watching something not worth mentioning on etv, will have allowed another unremarkable day to draw to a close. Happiness involves action, so tell me, tell yourself, what are you going to do to make this hour, this day, this week, this month and this year a memorable and meaningful one?
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