The title of this post may be puzzling for some readers. One would think that as enthusiastically as I write about riding my Harley, that I would find every opportunity to ride whenever I can.
Well, I do love to ride, but I also struggle with balancing riding time with obligations and responsibilities.
Today is one of those days where I got myself into a situation where I will go for a ride all day. Should be fun, but I still have that nagging feeling of shirking responsibilities and caregiver duties for my spouse.
Here’s what’s going on.
I serve as a road captain for a motorcycle riding club. This club organizes many rides, and I have the pleasure of leading some of them, or riding sweep (a safety position) on others. During our Spring ride planning meeting, I thought that I heard a road captain offer to lead a “short ride” today. I offered to “ride sweep.” Generally, my impression of a short ride is a ride that lasts about 3 hours, giving me at least half a day to do other things.
However, when the road captain finally sent me his ride plan, it turned out to be an all-day ride. It will go to a beautiful area of Maryland, with lovely scenic views. I’m sure I will love it.
My spouse is still quite sick. I was up with him ’til 1am the other night. He was quite “unwell.” Yesterday, he was stable, and though I was concerned, I had a productive and busy day at work.
Today, though, I will worry about being away all day in a remote area of my home state and cannot get home quickly if there is a problem. Also, since I will be operating my Harley most of the day, I will not be able to be reached by phone, since I turn my cell phone OFF when I operate a vehicle.
I will check for messages when we stop for a break or lunch, but the delay between receiving a call and checking for the message can be hours.
Then on top of not wanting to leave my spouse alone all day, I have a cadre of senior pals who I usually take grocery shopping on Saturdays.
On top of that, Spring is arriving and there are a ton of Spring chores to do around the house — especially since my spouse is not able to help due to his illness — there is a lot of work for me to do.
So why am I riding my Harley all day today?
For mental health reasons. Seriously. The pressure of caregiving is something I am familiar with since I took care of my aging uncle and aunt through their respective deaths. I knew that if I dedicated myself to caregiving 24/7, I would have other consequences impact me. Stress, anxiety, and tension have funny ways of making themselves known, from physical health problems to weight gain to running one’s immune system down.
I know that no matter how dedicated one is to people he loves and cares for, there are times when he must take a break to relieve the tension and anxiety, or the stress can and will build to a point where he gets sick or has other problems happen.
Knowing this ride would impact my whole day today, I employed contingency plans. (I’m a planner by nature.)
My sister will stay at our house today, to be available in case my spouse has a problem. Man, I don’t know what I would do without my loving and caring family.
I took a small group of senior pals to the grocery store last night instead of today, and will take another group tomorrow — so with rearranging Saturday’s person obligations, the concern about the schedule of responsibilities is alleviated.
The outside chores? Well, they can wait. The lawn can be mowed during the week, and other cleanup chores of which there are many can also be handled after I get home from work. At least I get home early and have about two hours before I prepare dinner for my spouse and me. It’ll work out.
So today — for my health — I will boot up, leather up, and R–I-D-E! See ya’ on the byways!
Life is short: ride for mental health!