Kind of like my life, this list is in no particular order…
1) My Parents. I’ll spare you the sap and instead share a quick insight about my folks. Most of you know I love cycling, but you probably didn’t know that my parents have been to three professional cycling events (I’ve been to zero). Neither of them ride or had ever followed the sport, but they wanted to learn about it because they knew I loved it and wanted to be able to share it with me. When the Tour of Missouri came through St. Louis, my parents made sure they had a spot at the finish line. Every year.
Lots of parents take an interest in what their children love when their kids are young. When my parents decided to take an interest in cycling, I was 30.
2) The bikes. Since we’re on the topic (and then we won’t be anymore, I promise), this year my bicycles have given me about 50 hours of group fun, hundreds of hours of exercise, almost $8,000 of extra income as an indoor instructor and more than 100,000 bonus calories to spend on rich, heavy foods and beer. Not bad for bikes I spent around $600 on years ago.
3) Those that dare to love me. This can be a thankless endeavor. I won’t get into all the gory details, but I’m fiercely independent, a little banged up and quite frankly, hard to love. Somehow, though, there are still people willing to make the effort. I don’t say it enough (or in some cases, ever) but I recognize and appreciate your kindness. I know your love has gotten me through some difficult times, even if I couldn’t admit it then.
4) My job. I took a big risk abandoning my career in 2011 to travel the world and try new challenges without the security of full-time employment. I landed with a great company built to operate as a team but always willing to challenge us as individuals. It may not be as sexy as baseball, but I look forward to seeing my colleagues every day and am generally able to leave work at night with a sense of accomplishment. Oh, and I get to make a decent living doing it. This could have turned out a lot worse.
5) My teams. I’ll be brief, but if you’re a St. Louis kid that went to the University of Missouri, you’re having a pretty good year. I love watching, cheering for, talking and reading about the Cardinals, Tigers, Rams and Blues and they’ve given me plenty to root for in 2013.
6) Friends. For someone that’s pretty set on living the single life, I’m rarely alone. In fact, when I think of all the good things in my life, my friends have pretty much always played a roll. They helped me plan adventures, took me into their homes when I returned, helped me find work, kept me focused on my health and celebrated the big moments in life with me. I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with two of my best friends tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited.
7) My life. This morning I found myself thinking of my fraternity brother, Joel, who left us in 2013 after several trying years both physically and mentally. It’s not surprising that Joel is still offering me perspective, even in the afterlife. Thinking of him reminded me that when the morning comes and I open my eyes, I wake up healthy. I get to have coffee and conversation with my awesome roommate, enjoy a morning drive with goofy St. Louis sports radio and share my day with smart, fun people. I start my evening training a group of indoor cyclists with some great taste in music, follow that hanging out with friends and fall asleep quickly without pain or worry upon climbing into bed. And that’s only Monday.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!