This weekend, I did something I haven’t done in a little while. I went on a big group mountain bike ride. There were about a dozen of us on a hot day, riding bikes after a long drive. It seems like I used to go meet this crew for full days more often. Lately though, I’ve had more family conflicts or been traveling for business during the week and been unwilling to spend half my weekend away from home. Things came together this Saturday for such an event and it was a terrific time. Several long-term friends made it as did about four people whom I’d never met.
Whenever we get out on these days, talk inevitably turns to past trips. We get to relive similar rides on the trail we’re at, remember mishaps we’ve had, compare our fitness to years past, and shoot the breeze in general. I get to do this at work too. When you’ve spent a dozen years working with many of the same people, you have your battle stories to share. In both cases, I’ve got friends who have moved on to something else, switched jobs, moved, or just have gone a different path. I’ve also got friends who have been with me the whole way and share common experiences. They’re the people who know the story I’m telling after just a couple lines. The ones who worked late into the night with me on a project. The ones who’ve I’ve shared a beer and the afterglow following a tough ride with.
There is a lot of comfort in hanging out or working with those people who are close to you. It’s also great to be able to mesh with people you’ve just met. That’s not always an easy process. I remember a couple times on the trail yesterday when one of us alllllllllmost said something around one of the newer group and paused because we weren’t sure how they’d react. As the ride went on, we shared stories of our backgrounds and got much more comfortable. By the end of the day, all of us were sharing laughs and cooling down.
The neat thing about the ride was that our group got to enjoy ourselves and also extend ourselves with the new friendships. While it’s great to spend time with people you know well, it’s also easy to slip into a rut. We still shared many of the same stories but we told them differently in a lot of cases. There were also times that rehashing those moments took a different twist as new elements were woven in. It was enough to keep the conversation fresh.
This process is a big challenge in life. The ability to take what we have known and experienced then evolve it is critical personally and professionally. Our past is a huge part of who we are because it has shaped our knowledge and our outlooks. There are always new circumstances to apply what we’ve learned though and room for growth. There are new trends and technologies that arise and new people to relate them to. Our ability to adapt to changing situations keeps us from getting stale or obsolete. That new person you meet on a ride or in a meeting may be there years from now. And the stories of how you met can be retold in the afterglow of whatever you’re doing down the road.
Of course, afterwards I got to go home and have a date night with my wife. She’s also changing things up some and decided to blog about cooking, which I’ve noted before that we both love to do. If shrimp and risotto sounds delicious to you, click here.