Valentine’s Day Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Lessons

Don’t worry: this isn’t going to be an overly bubbly, sappy post about Valentine’s Day and how I’m gushy-mushy in love with my husband. Nor is it going to be a bitter, screw-this-commercial-holiday rant. It’s just going to be an ordinary post like an ordinary day. I will admit, though, that the topic does have a relation to Valentine’s Day, purely because of the gift giving element of the date itself.

This year, I gave my husband a Valentine’s Day gift that he has been dreaming about, longing for, and flat-out begging to receive for years: I purchased motorcycle-riding lessons for him.

This is something I have adamantly fought against for YEARS. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I do not like motorcycles. Growing up, my father had one and he used to take me for rides all of the time. It’s one of the most freeing feelings in the world. I would say it’s as close akin to flying [without a plane] as I can imagine.

The difference between my father riding and my husband riding boils down to their physicality.

My dad was a relatively short, thin man. I think he was around 5’10” and at his heaviest pushed 147 pounds. He was light, compact, and had impeccable balance. When my father was on his bike, it basically became an extension of himself. I never felt more secure than when I had my arms wrapped around him and he was riding.

Anyone that knows my husband knows that he’s completely opposite to my father’s stature and physique. He’s pushing close to 6’4″ and he’s made of solid beef and bone. [I mean that 100% as a compliment.] My husband is made of rock, sinew, and craft beer. Oh, and love.

Why am I mentioning all of this?

The whole concept behind riding a motorcycle is the connectivity between the body and the bike, balance being the primary skill set needed to master control of your movements. I’ve learned through experience that the taller a person is, the less coordinated and balanced they seem to be. When the center of gravity gets further from the ground, the likelihood of that person having immaculate balance decreases exponentially.

My husband is extremely athletic, but I wouldn’t call balance one of his areas of strength. In fact, when we did the Warrior Dash together a few weeks ago, the balance obstacles were the only thing allowing me to keep up with him. Where he would beat me in speed and strength, I’d make up time on the balance beams and agility challenges.

For this reason, I’ve always been very apprehensive about my husband learning to ride a motorcycle. And, up until today, I’ve pulled the “wife card” and not allowed him to do it.

So, why the sudden change of heart?

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure. I think it has something to do with the fact that my husband has allowed me to take a lot of risks over the past few years, such as going back to school and investing in a marketing/design company, with nothing but support. He hasn’t pointed out my flaws nor discouraged me from doing something I’ve wanted to do, even when he was a little worried about the decision. He’s basically followed the motto, “If that’s what you want, than it’s what I want, too.” And he’s backed up every decision that I’ve made, trusting that I’ll do the right thing.

Well, if he is willing to do that for me – on decisions that are, in essence, shaping the future of both of our lives – how can I continue to stop him from doing his? He has wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle for as long as I’ve known him and I’ve always been the one thing standing in his way.

Yes, it’s dangerous.

Yes, it’s costly.

Yes, it would impact both of us should it not turn out OK.

Then again, so would my decision of becoming a writer if it failed: I’ve poured money, time, and resources in to it for over two years. If I fail, it will hurt both of us.

When it all boils down, I can’t really see a difference between us and our dreams other than the fact that mine involves a career shift and his involves a hobby-plunge.

So I’m not going to stand in his way any longer.

In fact, I’m going to do what I can to help him, through paying for his training classes, and I’m going to encourage him as much as I can. In doing it this way, I know he’ll learn safety measures, proper procedures, and we’ll both feel more secure with him on two wheels.

Now I just have to sit back, relax, and trust in his dreams as much as he has trusted in mine. Zen. Go with the flow.

Let it be, let it be.

Do they make training wheels for a Ninja?

~ Victoria Elizabeth



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