Over the weekend my best friend and I traveled to Metropolis, Illinois. It’s more of a “Smallville” than a “Metropolis” with a population of only 6,500.  While visiting we crossed the border into Kentucky to grab a bite at a nice restaurant/bar. As luck would have it we met Dollie! She said she was celebrating her 60th birthday. When we asked her what she was doing to celebrate she said, “I’m doing it right now.” My friend and I looked at each other confused. She didn’t seem to know anyone else at the bar, not friends or family in sight. Curious, we asked her, “How are you celebrating 60 years on Earth?” She said, “Going for a bike ride….to Oregon.”




You read that right. She’s biking to Oregon from North Carolina where her journey began less than a month ago. I mean, we’ve heard of people doing things like this on the news but to actually meet someone doing such a feat left us awe struck. I’ve met people half her age who won’t jog a mile let alone bike themselves, and 60+ pounds of supplies, across the darn country.  I’m sure many of you are wondering why she would do such a thing. We did too. Her answer was short, simple, and, arguably, the best answer someone can give for completing such a task. “Because I want to.” Boom!

Me, Dollie, David

As our conversation continued we learned Dollie was married, had a few grown children, and has a successful career (couldn’t remember her exact profession). She wasn’t an avid long-distance cyclist but she liked to ride and decided to make a quantum leap by traveling across the country. Her “trips”, as she calls them, are only planned out a week in advance (i.e. where she’ll stay the night, routes to take, places to visit, etc.). She averages 50-75 miles a day, depending on the route and weather. This day her route brought her to Metropolis, Illionis and for the same reason my friend and I arrived; to partake in the annual Superman Festival. The difference being we drove 6 hours from Atlanta. The pain of the ride sort of loses it’s credibility when the person you’re talking to has pedaled a thousand miles.


The next day we saw Dollie by her bike watching as the festivities continued with photo shoots, trivia games, speaker panels, etc. She was only there for two hours but that was enough for her to put another check on the bucket list. So, why am I telling you this story?


Inspiration is all around us. In Dollies case, it was internal. She wanted to ride across the country, not to prove anything to anyone, but to prove to herself she could do it. She saw a challenge and decided to conquer it. What if she failed? Something tells me Dollie wouldn’t have been beaten herself up about it if she had to turn back. The point is she tried. Scared? Possibly. Challenging? Absolutely. But that didn’t stop her. Her attitude was that at 60 years old her life was not near complete and while she has the mental and physical ability to take on new challenges and improve her personal growth she will take it. Many of us can benefit from Dollie’s attitude. Yes, it sucks to fail at something we try but majority of the most successful people you’ve ever heard of failed far more often than they succeeded. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to step out of your comfort zone. That’s what some people see as a life worth living. Nothing’s wrong with binge watching 3 seasons of Netflix once in a while. But, when was the last time you took on a personal, career, or life changing challenge? And for nothing but the simple reason of “Because I want to”?



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