The Throttle Stop – June 2024 – Around the Sun We Go

It seems perplexing to me now, but that’s just the perspective that being in your late 30s will give you. I looked forward to getting older as a kid. Some of that had to be some good ol’ fashioned unresolved childhood trauma induced by every parent’s favorite rebuttal, “Well, when you’re all grown up, you’ll be able to do what you want.” Let’s be honest, my youthful demands weren’t unreasonable—all I wanted to do was eat ice cream, ride BMX, and avoid doing homework. Aging had an inherent concept of freedom attached to it, though I didn’t consider that freedom also came with inevitable consequences.

For example, the only thing stopping me from surviving on sugary snacks and making my blood run sweeter than an Otter Pop is Type 2 diabetes, which modern medical technology is well-equipped to handle. Likewise, no one prevents me from draining my accounts to fund track bikes and other things that can only be labeled as financially unwise. Motorcycles are excellent, but who am I to judge if someone survives on ramen because funding their hobby means that nutrition temporarily takes a back seat? We’ve all been there at one point or another.

Responsibility is the burden of age and one that carries an oh-so-heavy weight. To bastardize a Scooby Doo catchphrase, “I would have had the carefree lifestyle I’ve always wanted, too, if it weren’t for those meddling bills.” We’ll say “Drats!” to that because it seems like the harshest pejorative that would ever be uttered in the thin metal walls of the Mystery Machine.

Here’s the thing, once you skid past those realities, a calming clarity emerges. We can do whatever our circumstances allow, and there is comfort in that. Naturally, those circumstances might include financial, familiar, and personal obligations that guide our decision-making, but the general point stands firm. Being that I’m only responsible for myself, there are many times when I get to live out my childhood dreams of eating breakfast for dinner or staying up past 10 o’clock on a weeknight.

Another trip around the sun certainly puts some of that into perspective and, indeed, a bit of introspection is good for getting your house in order. However, it got me thinking about a few things. Getting older and feeling older aren’t necessarily linked if we remove physical signs of aging from the mix. The same things I did in my youth still appeal to me. Most of them, including bicycles, motorcycles, guitars, and video games, still hold quite a bit of value in my life. In fact, it defines what I’ve done in life.

The Throttle Stop - June 2024

Still, part of me questions this premise because a solid coupon is enough to spike my heart rate these days—if that isn’t a sign of being on the wrong side of 35, then I don’t know what is. It’s probably a natural reaction to collecting your fair share of gray hairs. Maybe there is some truth to the fact that with age comes wisdom. But, this is where four-letter-word logic comes into play and trounces it all—do what you want, when you want, and try to be somewhat smart about it.

The thing is, I’m not sure what my free time would look like if it weren’t for those activities. My social circles are built around those activities in one way or another, and whatever rewards are reaped from labor feed those habits. I know we are supposed to put away childish things at some point, but creative outlets are hardly childish to me. I’d position them above a great many adult activities in life.

As riders, musicians, or whatever descriptor is attached to your personality, are we supposed to cast them aside once we hit an arbitrary number? Yes, some would argue. Meanwhile, I’ll say the opposite, as long as your lifestyle reasonably facilitates it. At 18, I was content with having multiple roommates, eating from the dollar menu (RIP), and gallivanting around the country on a BMX bike. So, it’s essentially what I do now, but with motorcycles, we have a farther reach, and the accommodations are better.

It’ll be a few more years before I can start registering for Formula 40 classes at my local clubs, and that’s made the hyperventilating subside a bit. It’ll be even longer before I’m able to get senior discounts. With summer knocking on our doorstep, everything I enjoy is about to be in full swing. So, get out there and be a kid, even if your hairline is starting to say otherwise.