September 9th, 2010
It Was Finally Time to Overcome Guilt
by George Torok
There are two milestone dates for me this year: 50 years and 25 years.
Let’s get the less significant one out of the way first. I reached 50 years of age. Though, of course, I thought about it, I didn’t make a big deal about it. It just did not seem important.
But the 25 years was. For the past 25 years, I have yearned for a motorcycle. I sold my first bike 25 years ago after having had it only a few short years. Then I got married. I didn’t need a bike, but I did need money so I sold it.
Every spring since then I watched the bikes roll by. I wanted to be on a bike. But things got in the way — obligations to family, household and financial priorities, my career and a new business.
And perhaps the biggest thing was guilt. The little voice in my head chided me, “What makes you think you deserve such a luxury?” I was never a good Catholic, yet the guilt was firmly entrenched.
In spite of the guilt, I kept my faith. I told myself that one day I would have a motorcycle again and even told others about my dream.
I must have made it rather convincing because when I ran into some of those people, years later, they asked, “How is your bike?” Sheepishly, I explained that I didn’t have one yet.
I felt guilty about not having one. And I felt guilty about believing I would have one. Guilt on all sides, yet I still yearned for a motorcycle.
Life moves on. Families grow. Careers change. Priorities change. New relationships grow. Some old ones end or sour. Some special people die. And we grow.
And every spring, those lucky people rode their bikes, flaunting them in front of me. How I hated them. How I envied them.
Then, something changed. The guilt changed to my asking, “Why not? Why not indulge my desire?”
Do I deserve it any more than I did years ago? Probably not. Could I spend my money on more practical priorities? Yes. But after all the questioning, I still wanted this thing for me — not for my family, not for my community and not to make the world a better place. I wanted it for me. Is that so bad?
Riding a bike was something that I loved doing 25 years ago and wanted to do again. Selfish? Yes. Illogical? Maybe. A waste of money? Perhaps. Dangerous? Possibly.
The guilt was slowly being edged out by fear — the fear of never doing this. The fear of old-age, rocking-chair regrets. I have enough regrets already. Here was one I could still do something about.
But it wasn’t that easy.
“Let’s not be hasty,” I thought. So, last year, I made a feeble attempt. I registered for my M1 license, the beginner’s stage in getting a motorcycle driver’s license. But it is only valid for 90 days. By the time I registered for the instruction course, the season was over and my 90 days had expired.
I could say, “It wasn’t my fault. I tried, but time worked against me.” Was that guilt conspiring to make me fail?
I could have let it end that way. However, this year I took a different approach. I convinced myself that I would buy the bike if I got a special deal. That way I could rationalize the guilt. Who could dispute a special deal?
So I shopped around and I proposed a special deal to the motorcycle dealer. He showed limited interest. So I stalked the dealer. Finally he came back with a counter-offer but it was completely different from my proposal. I was indignant. How could he foil my special deal? My guilt would have easily let me drop this again.
But, this time, something stirred. I started to find ways to justify the deal. I was chipping away at the guilt.
At last, I reached the point where I could accept that, yes, the bike could be mine.
I bought the bike. It’s a beauty. I gaze at my bike and finally feel that I deserve this.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been amazed at how good it feels to ride my motorcycle. I ride for an hour or two, mostly on country roads. I ride to the end of roads marked no exit, just to see where they end, which I have never done in my car.
I spend those hours just riding — not going anywhere in particular and not really caring where I go. That concept seems so wasteful. But I love it.
I ask myself, what is the drug? The wind, the power between my legs, leaning into the curves, the acceleration, the noise of the motor, the mix of control, independence and risk? I cannot fully explain it. There is something here that I cannot get from driving a car, riding a horse or playing a video game. It is a drug. I feel in control and independent. And when it’s over, I want to do it again.
The guilt is gone. I have forgotten the details of the special deal that was once so important. I look forward to my rides. I feel exhilarated while riding. I feel satiated afterward and I know that this is right for me.
The little voice that used to deride me with guilt now whispers, “Why? Why did you wait so long?”
Author Bio: George Torok rides his 800 Suzuki Intruder on the country roads north of Burlington Ontario. He is a motivational business speaker who specializes in personal marketing www.Torok.com
EmbracingMyJourney L.L.C. was created by Caryn FitzGerald in 2008.
Caryn, known as "The Manifesting Queen" is a motivational columnist, speaker and writer, she has been featured in and published several books, including "Tulips In The Sand" "Fish Sticks, Books and Blue Jeans" “Manifest Success” “Visual Arts Junction Interviews” & “Online Marketing Success Stories..."
Caryn is a domestic violence survivor who has triumphed over a 10-year battle with anorexia and bulimia. She is a wife, mother, healthy-aging-specialist, writer, speaker, blogger, coach and a health food enthusiast Click to connect with Caryn at her website
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