When one door opens, god closes a window

One of the best lessons that I have learned from living with chronic illnesses is that I can’t do everything… at least not all at once. We all have limits. We all have to contend with the limits of the human body. Some bodies may be more capable than other but they all have limits. We can work on increasing those limits but that takes time and effort and takes away from doing other things. All earthlings are restricted to 24 hours in a day. Everyday, each one of us needs to eat, sleep and shit. Some people need more, some need less. Some can accomplish more, some less, but we all have a limit to what we can accomplish. We all have good days and bad days but none of them go one forever and even good days have to come to an end.

I feel like I’ve been having a lot of good days lately. I’m really excited about writing this blog. I’m excited about starting a new job. I really like doing the pedicab thing.  I like having money again. My relationship with my daughter is going very well. I’m so grateful to be spending regular time with her again. I’m relieved that my bff and I were able to work through our conflict from last Friday. Through that experience I learned some important lessons and I believe it made our relationship even stronger. My body is getting stronger too. I’ve been smoking less and drinking less and all those things are good. I’ve been a very busy boy, life is on the upswing and much has been accomplished in the pursuit of my goals and dreams.

But… for all of my accomplishments there are areas where I fall short of my expectations. For every success comes failure. I totally spaced my therapy appointment on Tuesday. I’m not doing yoga which is also something that really helps me. I’m not spending as much time with my friends as I would like. I’m not reading as much as I would like. I haven’t been writing or playing music. I’m way behind on laundry and cleaning. My van needs repairs, as do things around the house, but I haven’t been able to get to them yet. My to-do list keeps getting longer. I don’t know how I’m ever going to get everything done. The reality may be that I can’t. The reality is that I need help. They reality is that I can’t do it alone.

I’ve often heard that I don’t have my priorities right. I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating what that means. To be honest, it has me at quite a loss. Beyond making sure that I am available for my kids when they need me or respond in a crisis, I have no idea how to prioritize.

My only priority is to the present moment. The most important thing in my life is what I am doing right now for it is the only thing I can do. Whatever I can manage to accomplish with this moment that is meaningful, productive, loving or real is the best that I can hope to achieve. If I can make each and every waking moment significant in one way or another I would consider that a pretty amazing life. I can’t say that every moment has gone that way but most of them have. For all the things I may never get to, my tribute is doing all that I do.

Biking up that hill

I’ve been doing this blog for a little over two months now and this is my 50th post. It feels like a bit of a landmark and I really wanted to make it special. I’m just not feeling it today though. I am completely wiped out. After working the Minnesota Twins season opener as a pedicab driver, making up with my best friend and then going to the bar yesterday, then spending the afternoon and evening with my daughter today, I don’t have much left in me.

Still, I want to share a couple stories about my two favorite fares yesterday. The first was a couple of young women who were standing outside Cowboy Jack’s across the street from Target Field where the Twins play. They came over and asked me for a light. I light their cigarettes and engaged them in conversation. tI turned out that they couldn’t get into the bar because one of them had left their ID at Darby’s.

I told them to hop in my pedicab and I would get them there and back. We didn’t discuss the fare. I just wanted to help them and make sure that they had a good time.

I knew that I had heard of Darby’s but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where it was so I got on the radio and asked where it was. Once they told me I felt pretty stupid. It’s in the same building as City Pages so I drive by it every week. I even have a gift certificate for the place.

The ride there was a blast. Everytime we stopped they would pull out their phones and we would take pictures together. They totally loved me! The ride there was pretty easy too; just one little hill getting over the Washington Avenue bridge after which it was all downhill.

I dropped them off at Darby’s so they could run in, retrieve the lost ID and get cash. They came out and handed me a twenty. I was very grateful. We took some more picture and they boarded the padicab for the return trip to Cowboy Jack’s.

This is where it got hard. Darby’s is at the bottom of a very steep hill on a really poorly maintained road. I guess most drivers won’t even go there. I don’t give a shit though. I was just curious to see if I could make it. Worst case scenario, I would make them get out and push. They seemed up for it. Luckily, I’m a badass and made it up that hill. I’ve realized that hills are my secret weapon. Watching me struggle to get up a hill is pretty entertaining and tends to lead to bigger tips.

When I got them back to Cowboy Jack’s we took more pictures, they each handed me a twenty and I gave each of them a big hug. That was a total of $60 for half an hour of supper fun, fairly exhausting work. Still, it was the best fare I had all day. Perhaps the best fare anyone had all day.

Earlier in the day I had my other favorite rider. I stopped by Lee’s Liquor Lounge to see if I could pick up a straggler who was running late for the game. Instead I met a homeless man. He asked me how much it would cost to get him across the bridge to the mission. I told him to throw me a couple bucks and I would get him there. He ran into the bar to grab his backpack which presumably contained everything he owned. This man had next to nothing but for five minutes he had a chauffeur. I think that is pretty awesome. It sure made me feel good. I hope that I have many more opportunities to do things like that.

One of my biggest concerns in setting out on this pedicab adventure was how I would deal with the money aspect. Everyone told me that I could make a lot of money doing it. Certainly that is a good thing but it also worried me. I’m not motivated by making money, I’m motivated by making memories. What I am finding is that by caring for my passengers, the money follows. I’m sure I could make more if I focused on the money but it would probably kill the joy I feel. I am discovering that I enjoy people giving me money. It does make me feel good. It doesn’t matter whether it is two dollars or sixty dollars, the act of giving and receiving is meaningful.

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