Since April 16th I have been trying to ride my bike instead of drive whenever I can. I’ve ridden 900 miles and lost about 15 pounds in the process. My weight is down to 165, which amazingly enough is where I was when I graduated from college! Almost daily people ask me if I’ve lost weight and comment on how I look. Those were never the reasons I began my bicycling odyssey, although I am very pleased with my transformation.
There was a time in my 30’s when I was the incredible expanding man. My waistline was bulging at an all time high of 38 inches and I was pushing 190. I actually burst more than one butt seam on my pants bending over! Every year I added a few pounds, growing rounder and softer. At that time I had given up exercise. I was going to school full time to get my MBA, working full time, and had a new baby girl. I made a conscious decision to give up exercise so I could take care of everything else in my life.
These days I’ve made exercising a priority. I’m not sure why, except maybe because I’ve hit an age where every day seems to matter more. I could be working 60-80 hours per week if I wanted, and I’m sure I’d be closing more deals and making more money if that were the case. Yesterday evening was a perfect example. I had ridden my bike to work and back, returning home at 4:30pm. My daughters and I proceeded to ride scooters and bikes and kick a soccer ball for a half hour in the neighboring school yard. Typically I would have ridden my skateboard along with them, but I really wanted to juggle a ball. I do what I want, and what my daughters want. Afterward, we rode our bikes for about 45 minutes, completing circuits of the neighborhood. Later in the evening we went to the nearby (free) water park, where my daughters played and I ran sprints up the adjacent hillside. We got back to the house by 7:30pm. Those three hours I could have been at my desk. I’m glad I wasn’t.
People say you are what you eat. I eat with a voracious appetite, which is the same way I approach life these days. Why did the climber conquer the mountain? Because it was there? In my case I do what I do because I can. Why do I spend so much time with my daughters? Why do I skate? Why do I ride? Why don’t I just retreat to some cubicle somewhere and concentrate on making as much money as possible? Where’s the fun in that?
My daughter recently quoted me to a family friend saying, “My dad doesn’t like money.” It’s true. Because I work in real estate I’ve seen what it can do to families and friends. While it’s not the root of all evil, it can certainly bring out the worst of human nature. I know that there are a lot of great things I could be doing if I made more money. Heck, I could be taking long and leisurely trips with my family. We could be dining out every night. More importantly, I could be socking away cash and investing it for my children’s education and my retirement. Right now more so than any time in my life I have the capacity to truly cash in on the skills I’ve acquired.
Maybe that’s what I’m doing though, only the currency that I’m making isn’t cash at all, its memories. I’m making memories and living a full life with my family. As Rush sang,
Sweet memories, flashing very quickly by.
Reminding me, and giving me a reason why.
This whole ride could end tomorrow, or like my parents I could be blessed with at least another 35 years of life. Either way, this wave is going to hit the beach at some point, and I’m going to have to get off my board. I could gracefully kick out the back or I could get pummeled into the sand. Whatever happens, I’m going to make the most of this wave.
Image credit: Peter Hostermann
Andy Falk is a father of two incredible daughters ages born in 2001 & 2003, Skylee
and Sabrina. Andy is very active in the lives of his daughters, from coaching soccer to supporting them during swimming season to just plain doing homework or hanging out. Andy also surfs regularly, bicycle commutes and is a successful Realtor in Marin County, CA. Andy earned his MBA from San Francisco State University with an Internet Marketing concentration, and holds a BA from the University of California at San Diego where he studied and surfed in the 80’s.