In my early 20s I surfed a lot. I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I did wake up at the crack of dawn to lie face down on a board while I looked at the pretty fishes go by. I went through the motions, and looked rather cool doing it, but no, I didn’t catch a lot of waves. Luckily there weren’t a lot of waterproof cameras back then. Anyways… in between waves, my friend Ibra would wax philosophical about years gone by (see what I did there?). I remember him telling me that when he was a young pup he’d surf all day on a crappy board, while dreaming of the day he could finally afford a fancy surfboard. And then, when he could finally afford said board, he couldn’t take the time off to surf. I should’ve paid more attention, because that my friends, was pure Socratic advice.
You see, I’ve spent a good chunk of my 30s saving, because you know…end of the world, and God forbid I turn 105 and not have enough money to spend $50k a week on healthcare. Heck, it probably started much earlier. I remember getting called by HR in my first job because it had been 2 months, and I hadn’t cashed a single check. Apparently I thought hiding my $150 paychecks under the mattress would protect me in old age. Fast forward a few decades, and I’m regretting not having bought that fancy surfboard, cause God knows the only thing I can stand up on right now is the weight scale in the bathroom. You see, it’s not culturally appropriate to say so, but I think if you’re a saver, you’re probably overdoing it.
I spent all my years bike racing on sub-par bikes thinking that one day, in the the not too distant future, I’d buy my dream bike– but never “now”, because I had to save. Years went by, and I always had one excuse not to buy Dura-Ace, because you know– Social Security is going bankrupt and you can’t eat carbon wheels. However, 2 years ago I decided it was finally time. Even though the only racing I was doing was against other unemployed middle-aged men with too much time on their hands, I decided that saving 200 grams would finally allow me to win world championships. What I wasn’t counting on was age. Not a month had gone by with my new bike, when I was introduced to the wonderful world of… wait for it… exercise induced… arrhythmias. That’s right, all the healthy living had actually giving me a bum heart. Go figure!
Now before folks start lighting candles and raffling off my bikes, let’s put everyone minds at rest. It’s a benign arrhythmia. It happens after 1.5-2 hours of exercise. It doesn’t affect my every day life. And it is (likely) fixable. But it is very annoying on the rare times when it does happens, and has kept my bike riding to leisurely levels.
Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. What I’m saying is that in retrospect, waiting 15 years to buy my dream bike, was probably not the wisest course of action. You see, you can save all the money in the world, but buying that convertible at age 80 is probably not gonna be fun with no hair to flop in the wind. Granted, there is a balance… not everyone is as “lucky” as a friend who recently passed away (at age 30) with literally $200 in his bank account, because he lived every day as if it were his last. Most of us will live to the ripe old age of [insert average life expectancy for your country plus 10 years, because clearly death is something that will happen to everyone but you]. So, plan accordingly.
That’s why once this pandemic is over, I’m buying a pair of round the world tickets, a bigger RV, and either an electric bike or a Medicare approved scooter. Life can be a drag, but it can also be over in a flash. Here’s to vaccines and new surf boards!
p.s. Am I going to suggest an alternate course of action to all my friends who are training as if they were going to the Tour de France? Of course not! Would I have taken my own advice 10 years ago? Unlikely!