More often than not, we accept authority figures as the voices of reason even when the meet the prerequisite needed to be an authority. A Specialist is someone who knows how by having done. The Specialist out there to help you is YOU.
Here is a story about me, a bike trip and a lesson that we should all learn. Twenty years plus ago I went on a camping mountain bike trip in Colorado to Turkey Flats on the Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction, the western slope that borders Utah.
I was excited for the trip. My wife, at the time, and I were avid mountain bikers as was our good friend Steve. We were living in Colorado and I worked at a mountaineering store before REI cornered the market. It was great and one of the benefits was that we traded ski sharpening for bike tunes with the shop next door.
That Thursday before the trip, I dropped my bike off and went to work and picked it up as we headed out of town mid morning Friday. We found a place to camp, set up our tents and got ready for an afternoon ride.
Freshly caffeinated and rearing to go, I climbed onto my trusty steed along with my ex and Steve and headed out onto the trail which meandered for a bit on the flats before the first ascent.
When we reached the climb, I stood up and chu-chunk. The chain skipped.
“Crap,” I exclaimed and pedaled again and chu-chunk, the chain skipped again.
My bike wasn’t running right. After about five minutes of an adult tantrum and a list of explicatives, I came to. I came back to reality and Steve gave me some of the best advice of my life.
“If you don’t want this to happen again, learn to work on your bike.”
“But the shop . . .blah blah blah . . . um? Yeah, you’re right,” I easily conceded.
We got my bike working as best we could and when I got home, I ordered a bike stand, some tools and a maintenance book. Since that day, the only mechanic I can blame is myself.
This was a hard lesson for me to learn because I was brought up in a place of specialists in which a specialist was used to do even the most mundane, in retrospect, of tasks. Mow the lawn. Rake the leaves. Unclog the toilet. Install a washing machine.
Today, many of these mundane tasks we either outsource because we don’t want to do them or we youtube how to do it, and follow instructions. Easy enough.
Now, if you are a fan of my blog, I usually don’t just write about bikes and I think the title may be a clue.
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, has publicly stated that adults who don’t have kids are selfish. I think he may want to revise his statement or look in the mirror.
I am selfish. I put myself first as should you. I am not selfless. To be selfless is to waste away to nothing. The self is the gift we are given by God, if you are a believer, or by the evolution of consciousness. Either way, the self is important to the self. Without the self, we die.
Selfishness is not a bad thing. It is a positive that we are sold as a negative. Think about a teacher or a nurse. If they are selfless, they give until they have nothing left to give and then burnout or fail and move on. To be efficient in careers that require empathy, a heavy dose of selfishness is needed as the Pope can attest to. He did not get to where he is by putting his flock first at all times or he would be a burned out padre in some third world nation helping those in need, providing basic sustenance for themselves.
But he is not. His vow of poverty differs from the rest. He is a helicopter flying, first class sitting member of the Royal Family of the Religious World. He is one of the specialists of the human condition and just like science and scientists, religion and its leadership should be questioned and held up to scrutiny, and when we find the dangling thread, that thread must be pulled.
That being said, the Pope may indeed be a Specialist in the Mystic Condition of Man. I will give him that. But to think his voice should be the one to follow on things related to having children would be the equivalent of going to a restaurant to get gas for your car. A restaurant may sell fuel that humans need but it’s not the right type for our cars.
The Pope is literally the least specialized person to speak about marriage and family since he has neither. IRonically, he also has the power to change this and create a married clergy. But he does not.
So back to the bike and the lesson I learned and have applied to all. Whenever my brain calls bullshit on an idea or it rubs me the wrong way, I make a decision to sweep it under the rug or to yank. As of late I yank.
I am not a father. I am no longer a husband. I am a self though and the only true entity I am willing to listen to is me. I align with others on many topics on the highways of life like believing in God and having faith in believing that our success is due to our ability to create and use tools, making vaccines and masks the answer to our continued success.
But those in the Royal Family of Humanity don’t like us thinking for ourselves. They rely on our toil for their continued prosperity. They have designed a world in which if you don’t ask questions, life is about going from their A to their Z.
I don’t and neither should you. Your priority, as is mine, is to be the best version of yourself as defined by you. You are the most important person in your story. You are the hero or heroine of which the world revolves. Stop playing a secondary role. Your name is on the marquis.