Are you thrill seeker?
I am not sure I qualify for that title with my minivan driving, mom of three kids status. But the status I had tonight made me reconsider, it was along the lines of red lipstick red headed motorcycle riding chica. And I loved every minute of it. (minus the windburn)
A friend of mine has a bike, of which I have no description for other than it's a motorcycle and another person can ride on the back of it. He and I have been talking for months about riding, since probably the beginning of January when the snow was still flying. Last week I finally texted him and said, "Alright, I'm ready let's schedule a ride." I knew I had some free time coming up tonight and I was anxious to try it. After all, I already own motorcycle boots, they can't just be for fashion. :-)
Ever the complex person, I was unaware why the thought of riding a motorcycle appealed to me so much. I've ridden exactly ONE other time in my life, it was a very short ride probably 12 years ago and I didn't enjoy it. I was hot, it was summer time and sweaty and holding tightly onto another person, i.e. no fun. In the intervening 12 years I have come to know a lot of nurses, an ER doctor or two and one former chaplain, who all have regaled me with horror stories as to why riding motorcycles is a risky, and unnecessarily dangerous activity. That coupled with the fact that I'm now a solo parent should leave me daunted right? Or at least hesitant? Hmmm, I can say I was very cautious.
I was very comfortable trusting my riding companion, Dale. He's safe and cautious when he drives his own vehicle and has discussed extra safety precautions he takes when riding his bike so I knew I was in good hands. I had instructions on how to dress and not to dress and he had a helmet for me so off we went. The red lipstick was an extra touch of my own, go big or go home!
I confess I did have a moment when we were getting onto the highway when I thought, okay, how I am I feeling? I leaned up and told him I was a little anxious, he told me how to communicate if I felt uncomfortable and we proceeded, cautiously. My heart jumped as we merged and I observed my surroundings and Dale's driving as well as the other drivers and I discovered I was okay.
It wasn't a long drive 30 minutes out and a long winding slower way back. At some point on the way back I realized this is the most relaxed I've felt in a long time. I was literally just sitting there, the wind was rushing by, I was observing the countryside and alone with my thoughts. It's the perfect place for a person who processes a lot to be. I couldn't talk to anyone (well it's pretty difficult anyway), there was nothing for me to do and nothing was required of me. I could feel the tension leaving me, mile after blessed quiet mile.
And I came to a realization, I could be called a thrill seeker. I have four tattoos, for now. My next weight loss reward is finally jumping out of an airplane. And I love motorcycle riding. Odd as I am, with the exception of the plane, none of these feel like thrills, none of them are things I do for an adrenaline rush. I do them because I truly enjoy them.
If I ride again, it will be because I find it so relaxing, sort of like returning to the south. The pace is slower and life is to be taken in and enjoyed. My next tattoo will be because it means something to me, it will be artistic or symbolic or spiritual. Most likely it will be all three. And the jumping out of the airplane, that will be a celebration of a hard won victory for my health. A reward for myself and yeah, a healthy dose of thrill.
Does enjoying these things make me somehow odd or bad or immature or sinful? Would a more mature person would get over the tattoos and everything already? Maybe? I don't think so. I'm pretty mature. My feet are pretty solidly grounded in the reality of my life and responsibilities. But just as this blog is titled, I want to live, not just survive. Life is meant to be enjoyed, it is not a sin to have fun or be happy. It's a blessing, straight from the hands of our creator. I am so thankful for this blessing. The blessing that it is okay for me to enjoy an hour on the back of a bike thinking about nothing.
I do believe God looked down and said, "Shannon, it is good."