I remember watching Paul, my youngest sibling, pedaling in circles on the driveway nonstop. I was sure after three times around I would be bored out of my mind. Years later there was a 100 foot path in the woods on our property. Paul was doing the same, now with my minibike… whip down the path, loop around the hanging vine, race back, circle through the skunk cabbage, and go again – for hours. How did he do that?
So I guess it should not have been a surprise when after majoring in engineering, he worked in the racing industry, eventually for the best: Penske Motorsports. In his spare time he built and raced his own kart at racetracks up and down the east coast. Yep! Enduro: one hour long races going around and around the same track.
Two years ago a sudden change of circumstances with his wife’s employment meant they would start their dream southern shore living earlier. The only problem: not much in the way of racing industry employment on the shore, even in North Carolina. So Paul managed a bike shop for a year. He did pretty well too. So well that the business grew, and the owner decided to sell it.
Faced with a changing landscape, like many this past COVID year, Paul stepped out of the box and launched something new – his own bike repair business. Paul always had a serious garage (his siblings joke, “you can eat off the floor it’s that clean!”), and many of the tools due to his years of kart racing. Additionally, he had established a local reputation from managing the bike shop. All that was needed was a company name and to start spreading the word.
He’s been six months into it, has steady work, and loves what he’s doing. His customer service is over the top, including pick up and delivery of your bike. He will err on over-servicing and under-charging. That’s who he is. He knows his stuff, is a fanatic for detail, and loves hearing people say, “Wow! That looks great!”
Looking back on a person’s life and making sense of where they are today is much easier than forecasting who they will be in the future. Why? There are just too many variables. We don’t know what the Year in Review key events will be for 2021 any more than we knew what they were going to be for 2020 at the close of 2019.
If that’s true on the national scale, how much more so for the individual. COVID has only reinforced that next week is not guaranteed. We control so little. Really almost nothing. Instead, in the words of Gandalf the Wise: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
And that’s the point. What we decide today is formative. We build one step at a time. Faithfulness with what’s in front of us today, prepares us for tomorrow. Great things are built incrementally over time. Only devastation happens quickly.
So here’s to today, the decisions we will make, and the moments we will enjoy. Live them well. In the words of David Gibson, “Life is gift, not gain.” Start a business. Get married. Take a trip. Have children. Take some classes. Enjoy the ride.
And if you need your bike repaired, I know who you can call.