The world is a bit of a mess right now. The climate is in a hell of a state, our rights are being stripped away, the world is trending toward fascism, thousands of people are still dying from a global pandemic the world chose not to end, and everything is increasingly run by billionaire kleptocrat dipshits. There is more incentive than ever to find joy in the little things, if only to keep yourself from dropping off the mental edge. To keep myself from drowning in existential dread, I tend look to the future, I look to the next thing, I look to long rides on two wheels.
In the past I used to listen to a lot of the Nerdist podcast, and one of the hosts—Jonah Ray, the current host of MST3K—had a mantra; “Enjoy your burrito.” The story goes that he was working a job he hated, but would occasionally spend his lunch hour outside in the sunshine eating a delicious food truck burrito. As he closed in on the final bites of his mind-bending tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables, he would find himself getting sad that a small piece of joy in an otherwise terrible day was coming to an end. It took implementing a mantra for him to begin living in the moment and truly enjoying the good times.
Instead of feeling mournfulness that a door is closing, try to enjoy that it ever opened in the first place.
I try to keep that mentality when I’m out on a motorcycle ride. I enjoy every minute of it, even if I’m increasingly depressed over the state of things. There’s no reason to let joy evaporate from your life. Allow yourself to, even temporarily, ignore the things you cannot immediately change. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle on your commute to work for a boss you despise, or you’re just out for a breath of fresh air, always know that every minute on two wheels is well spent. Be present, be in the moment, and most of all be safe.
I have had so many great opportunities to ride some really amazing bikes, and there are so many left out in the world that I want to ride. In fact, there’s a break in the rain right now, I might just go for an evening jaunt around town. No matter how long I’ve been riding motorcycles, or how many individual rides I’ve been on, I’ll always find joy in it, right up to the very last second, and hopefully even a little while beyond that. No matter what the world throws at you, a good ride on a nice day is one of the best ways to clear your mind. And don’t let it sour when you put your kickstand down.
If you ever see me out riding, give me a two-wheels-down signal, and I’ll send one right back. And you can bet I’ll be enjoying my ride. I’ll also be enjoying my burritos.