Sunday, February 10, 2019

A new beginning

It’s been a while.

My excuse is that I am only slowly coming to grips with my re-born self.

Does that sound like a little much?

I agree, it certainly does. 

Let me lay it out as clearly and accurately as I can.

From April of 1980 until June of 2015 my life had acquired a distinct pattern and become quite predictable: Susan and I lived in Montreal. I had a job downtown. I commuted from the suburbs to my job. I worked in an office tower. I practiced law. Those were the primary constants of my life.

That daily pattern stretched over those 35 wonderful years.

My yearly cycle was punctuated more or less predictably by vacation time. Early on by weeks’ vacation, that became three, then four, and ultimately five weeks.

In the course of those thirty-five years, Susan and I raised three wonderful kids. The rhythm of our lives, within the bounds of those constants, changed with time as as our children grew, in the same way as millions and millions of parents come to know and love. Eventually, one by one, those amazing kids left the nest.

That was a major adjustment, but not quite what I call a sea change. I continued to commute from the suburbs to my job. The rhythm of our lives was still punctuated by vacations.

The commute that became this blog evolved over that time as well, in very satisfying ways.

It began as public transit on buses, subways, and trains with delightful morning and evening walks serving as its bookends. Later my commute shifted to a beloved two-seater sports car that Susan was fond of telling people was “mid-life-crisis red”. Ultimately, from 2010 to 2015, I commuted on my Vespas. The latter commutes were the very best of all, and nearly every commute came with its own special trove of treats and delights, the best of which were recorded and reported here.

2015 started out that way too.

Then… in May, seismic changes began that literally shifted the landscape under our feet, and the very fabric of our lives.

First work changed. I decided in the course of a week that it was time to declare independence.

It happened like a slow-moving chain reaction. One event leading to another, and another, and another, like so many pebbles dropped one by one into a pool of still water.

I began to see that everything I had done to that point in my life were threads, paths, streams, or lines that were converging towards a very pointy intersection. The children were independent; a lifetime of diligent saving had blossomed nicely; our home was ripe for sale; for the first time I had the means to become free, truly free. 

Things happened at work that I disagreed with. Until that day I would have hunkered down, and soldiered on. But the lines all converged at that singular point, and snap!

Enough! I’m done. It stops here. That’s it! 

In the matter of an instant I became the true master of my fate.

Can you imagine?

It turned out to be the latest sea change: I was a child for six years; then a student for twenty-two long years. My career began when school came to an end in the spring of 1980.

That was the second sea change. It lasted thirty-five years. Wow!

This third sea change turned out to be massive. Much bigger, much more compelling, than those that preceded.

Overnight, no commute. Slam! No job. Wham! Bam!

Then… our kids started getting married. 2015, 2016, 2018: Snap! Crack! Kaboom!!! What a spectacle!! It was amazing!

We sold our house: Whoosh! 

We moved. 500 kilometers away, to Toronto: Flash! New city; new neighbourhood; new house! Bang! Pop!

It was a three-year rolling earthquake, with tremors, after-shocks, and joyous upheaval! Did I mention we became grandparents?

Nothing prepares you for what happens when there’s a sea change.

It was spectacular, truly spectacular. 

Then, like kids rushing and spinning down a white-water slide on brightly coloured inner tubes on a sparkling summer day, the current slowed and we drifted into a peaceful eddy, a new normal.

A beautiful new home, in a new exciting city.

It was as if Susan and I had cast the past aside, plowed our field with deep furrows, and planted new seeds.

The new normal started to set in as the seeds began to sprout. Susan got a job, and then, against all odds, my career began again. A new law firm, a fresh round of Bar exams, and just like that, I am back in private practice. Wow! 

Expressing what living this change has been like is a challenge.

Now that I am taking stock, I can see that it has been a little like Alice in Wonderland, or the Wizard of Oz. Like everything you knew, everything you thought would never change, all the places that defined your life, all the familiar faces, scenes and landscapes, the people, the sights, the sounds, even the tastes and familiar scents, all shifted and swirled like bouncing beams of light in a huge kaleidoscope.

All that swirling change, all that energy later, and here I am, in my new normal.

It’s calm. It’s comfortable. It’s very nice. The rhythms of this new life are just beginning to define themselves. By most measures, life is wonderful.

I see it as the essence of life on two wheels. It’s the fruit of taking chances, of having the courage to stake a claim, to shake things up, to spin the giant wheel of life. The process can be a little unsettling, even scary at times. It’s ultimately deeply satisfying.

What does all this mean for this journal, this Life on Two Wheels?

The blog and the vlog are aspects of the landscape that have been taken along for the ride, shaken and spun in the glorious upheaval, though you could be forgiven for not noticing.

This story began as an exploration of my commute when it shifted to two wheels. It blossomed to follow my explorations further afield, meeting new friends, experiencing a little far-flung adventure.

What role should it play in the new normal? What does it become now that I work from home and my new commute is climbing flights of stairs three floors up to my office? What is the new message, the theme? What will it offer now?

These are the questions I have been asking myself for the past several months as the pace of new posts here has come close to zero.

In many ways I am becoming a new person.

The 2018 Bar exams were like a rebirth for me. A challenge that required all of my energy and intelligence on so many levels. When the deed was done, crowned with success, I was spent. Physically and emotionally spent.

It has taken physiotherapy to cure the resulting physical kinks, an excursion into philosophy to settle and align my spirit, a diet to trim accumulated pounds, and exercise to strengthen my body. 

These new habits are tiny life-seeds that are just beginning to sprout.

My wish is that Life on Two Wheels will become the story of this new life. The exploration of a new city and all it has to offer, explaining how the changes Susan and I have made continue to transform our lives and bear fruit beyond what we imagined on that day in June of 2015 when the threads, furrows, streams of fate, and lines began to converge, shimmer, quiver, and spark at the intersection setting in motion the reaction that completely changed our world.

Let’s see if I can make it work, for both of us.


SonjaM said...

Hi David, glad to see you back online. I am glad that you and your family are all doing well and are happy and healthy. Lots of great things happened. You also seemed to have adjusted to your new environment and mentally survived the "uprooting".

Now that "the dust has settled' go explore: The place is yours to discover on two or more wheels or on foot.

RichardM said...

Like Sonja said, it's nice to see another post. The subject matter or direction of the blog seems to only be important when you first start to blog. You know what you're going to talk about. Now, most of your followers are more interested in what you are doing. Exploring your new town seems to be a good place to start no matter how you choose to do your exploring.

David Masse said...

Sonja thank you for your comment, it is very much appreciated. The weather here is not yet conducive to two-wheeled exploration. I can barely stand the wait.

David Masse said...

Richard thank you for your vote of confidence. I will do my best not to disappoint.

Steve Williams said...

"It's calm. It's comfortable. It's very nice." Definitely a first world statement. We're lucky to have the lives we have. And so many choices and opportunities. Looking forward to the paths you explore and the things you discover -- about the world and life.

I'll be taking notes.

David Masse said...

So true Steve, first world indeed, and yes we are extraordinarily lucky.

Peter Sanderson said...

Life on Two Wheels reborn to Life with just Two in Toronto...

Ted Kettler said...

All too often, we become comfortable in our misery. As I have for the past 33 years in a career that gives me no joy and has burned me out twice. But I continue to do it if only for the paycheck. You took stock in your situation and made a change with your career and life made anew. I applaud you. Despite all the change and "newness", we must't forget that which brings us joy, old and new. Two Wheels, the actual and the written, has for many years, given you that joy and you owe it to yourself, not just your fans and readers, to keep it alive as well as the joy of riding. Family, grandchildren, pets, new home, new job and a nice home cooked meal all give us reason to smile. Two wheels brings the smile out of us from within. Good luck Dave and continue to ride safe.

David Masse said...

Actually Peter, with 2/3 sisters, 2/3 kids, and a good number of cousins in Toronto, we aren’t on any way wanting for company.

That said, when winter yields to spring and summer, hop on your Beemer and come on down for a visit. We could mosey on down to Niagara and tour some wineries :)

David Masse said...

Thanks Ted! Few of us know more about life on two wheels than you do. The Motorcycle Men Podcast has featured amazing interviews with the who’s who of riders from around the world. Keep up the stellar work!

lostboater said...

Ok, I just got home, checked the tire pressure, filled up the tank and am ready for you to take us along on this new ride. Just don't forget to feed us.

bocutter ed said...

Speaking of feed us, Adamson is now open until 8:00 pm.

David Masse said...

Ken riding in Toronto is by no means as exciting as a riding adventure in Senegal. Rest assured however that if you come, we will feed you, that’s a solemn promise.

David Masse said...

That’s good news Ed!

I am sitting here in the Ft. Lauderdale airport headed back to Toronto. We’re due to touch down at 14H00 at Pearson. We’re crossing our fingers that the airport crews can manage the 15cm of snow rather re-routing our flight.

Bill Leuthold said...

I am pleased to see a new post, and a new life for Life on Two Wheels.

Keeping up with a blog can be difficult, especially with so many changes happening.

With the changes come new adventures, and I am hoping that they will spark new interests and you will tell us about them here.

Feel free to join us on another Oyster Tour. Rocket is running as well as it has in years. It is yours for the Florida riding should you find time in that new schedule to visit again.


David Masse said...

Bill I actually just got back from Ft. Lauderdale yesterday afternoon. Susan and I popped down for just a few days to visit with family and there just wasn't time to add Jacksonville to the itinerary. Rest assured that I will take you up on it. I could also benefit from an epic 78 bridges tour. You can fill a thimble with what I know about Jacksonville. My experience is limited to blowing through town on the I-95 on the way further south to snowbird country.

Trobairitz said...

I am glad to see things are working out so well for you two after the move. So many life changes in a short amount of time but life is good and that is what matters.

David Masse said...

Thanks Brandy, I agree that is what truly matters. Thanks for dropping by to see what I'm up to.

ToadMama said...

I hope you can make it work for all of us. I think you did a fabulous job expressing the sea changes that are life, but maybe that’s because I’ve been experiencing similar things. Or having similar thoughts/parallel experiences. It’s the circle of life (cue The Lion King soundtrack!).

Life really is an adventure. I’m glad you’ve decided to embrace it and keep discovering new things.

David Masse said...

Thanks Kathy.

I just finished episode 38 of the vlog. It still has one or two rough edges that I will hopefully be able to smooth tomorrow. It’s a tribute to one of the amazing things happening to us. My only regret is not having embraced YouTube earlier. What a rich canvas it provides.

Geoff James said...

I'm only just catching up on my reading so apologies with respect to not catching up earlier, I was delighted to read this post, particularly with things coming to a head at work which you did not agree with. The exact same thing happened to me a couple of years after a corporate takeover. I decided to take early retirement and panic ensued because I was managing a major project. To cut a long story short, I contracted back for a year at an eye-watering rate and really didn't enjoy it as it highlighted all the things I'd put up with for the previous couple of years. I was offered more contract work but retired properly for the sake of sanity. Well done on taking the right steps and I doubt you'll ever regret it. BTW, our daughter and husband are likely to be moving to Toronto by year end if her registration as a psychologist is accepted.

David Masse said...

@Geoff, great to hear from you and for sharing your experience.

Wow, Toronto is a long way from New Zealand. When you decide to visit (and I am sure you will) please let me know. We have really nice guest quarters, and they come with Vespa privileges. That should take a small chunk out of the eventual expense.

Geoff James said...

Hi again David,
Thank you for your kind and generous offer! We're just waiting to hear who gets to offer our daughter the most attractive position as there is one from an organisation in Alberta in the wings too. So many places in the world to visit, so little time ;-)

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