‘The Way of the Samurai is found in death.’ – Yamamoto Tsunetomo (Hagakure)
It’s Easter Sunday, my day off for the week, and I still woke up at exactly 6am. Happy Easter everyone!
Yesterday I took a day long motorcycle safety course. It included riding exercises, a riding test, a lecture/discussion and a written test. I aced both tests. It was a good refresh and reminder of the swerving and quick stop skills. I have to go to a licensing office and get my motorcycle endorsement.
Motorcycle riding is a life and death activity. It’s a survival exercise. I’ve seen a rider’s boots sticking out from under a white blanket. The next day several riders were sitting on the curb mourning their friend. That image hasn’t ever left me. I know what I’m getting into, and remember it every time I throw my leg over a motorbike. I often hear people say: ‘ride like everyone is trying to kill you.’
I’m not saying every rider has a death wish. I’m just saying the risk is higher, and as such, a higher standard applies to riders. A higher standard of behavior, attitude, awareness, skills, perception, and self control. Those are all the things I like to exercise. I like the discipline of it, and pushing myself to live by a higher standard.
Death is everywhere and can take you at any moment. Everyone dies, and being alive is just a struggle to get an inch of control over your death. Where did you die, how, when, why, who did it: all of it is set up by your life. If you want to die old and rich, you have to live for that goal. You have to stay alive and see it through. Dying well means living well.
The fact you could die at any moment also means you have an obligation to get the most out of whatever life you have. It’s yours, so do whatever you want, but you should to be doing something with it. I know what I’m doing with my life, and while I don’t have it all figured out, I do know what I’m about. It sounds simple but it’s one of the big things that drives me. I have no choice but to get the most out of life.
I’m lucky enough to live in places where I have the freedom to choose the way I’ll live my life. We all have the ability to make life decisions, some of us have the freedom to, and a few of us actually take advantage of it. I choose to ride a motorcycle. It’s not all fun and games, but there are moments of happiness. I’ll be chasing them all the way to the horizon.