It's a big day for me; I've just passed 300 rides on my Peloton. Like many others stuck at home, I ordered a bike just before the pandemic hit, and luckily, it was delivered a year ago, just a few months before SIP took place and Peloton's massive waiting list rapidly developed. While I haven't ridden every day, I HAVE clocked my fair number of miles - more mornings than not.
Not that you would necessarily know it to look at me. Sadly, I haven't morphed into the stunning 30-year-old professional instructors I ride along with . . .
But I'm certain I HAVE developed improved stamina, that the aerobic workouts HAVE been good for my heart, and most importantly, that I HAVE carved out a little time for myself on a daily basis - something I hadn't done for several years. So while I'm definitely not headed back into a bikini in this lifetime (I never liked them anyway), on balance, my glass is HAVE FULL! (See how I did that?)
On Friday mornings, I typically go for a longer ride while watching The Long Way Up on my iPhone. The Long Way Up is a documentary following actor, Ewan McGregor's journey from the tip of South America to Los Angeles; a 13,000-mile, 100-day excursion on an electric Harley Davidson that's rather gripping. Riding alongside his travel-buddy, Charley, accompanied by a couple of local producers, one director, and a small camera crew, the men and their motorcycles manage to artfully navigate South America, Central America, and Mexico on their way back to Los Angeles, while stopping along the way to visit some of the more spectacular sights: Machu Picchu, the Panama Canal, and the Incan Pyramids. It's a stunning travel log that makes it easier to pass the time, especially while I'm in rainy Oakland riding in far-less dramatic fashion. (It's vicarious living to be sure.)
Of course, what makes it interesting ISN'T the beautiful scenery (although admittedly, it's stunning). What makes it "drama,"and worth the watch, is to see the challenges the crew runs into, including the fact that the Harleys, and the Rivian trucks, are prototypes, meaning that the kinks haven't fully been worked out. More important to the quest at hand is the unwelcome discovery that electric batteries have a difficult time charging and then holding their charge in cold weather (and it's cold for much of the early part of the trip!); that some of the roads are barely more than gravel; that many of the remote villages have no English speakers; that some areas are better left unexplored as they're essentially havens for the drug cartels, and that border crossings can be extremely challenging depending on the country. It seems "the best laid plans . . . "
Through it all, Ewan and Charley maintain a level of brotherly camaraderie, levity, and calm that's been lovely to watch. "It's the gnarly bits that make it interesting." Ewan says over and over (this sounds better with a Scottish accent) as if such hurdles were just a natural part of life.
Maybe not these ones exactly (I've never had to avoid a drug cartel), but the unexpected, the roadblocks, the detours, the hurdles, and the need to problem solve on the fly are all part of life, no matter who we are. The "gnarly bits" in real estate include everything from navigating solar transfer leases (a pain if there ever was one, which is why my partner, Sarah, takes these on), to addressing complicated trusts, to missed deadlines, to negotiating the unexpected, to lost opportunities, to death, to divorce, to market corrections, and the list goes on and on. Whatever the problem, I've learned that it's better to focus on the solution (problems are a dime a dozen ); the real work comes in the form of formulating the answers.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holidays - the ultimate test for many of us given the encouragement to AVOID family gatherings on what is perhaps the most celebrated family gathering of all - I want to give thanks for the many challenges in my life, and the ability to work through and overcome them. I'm grateful that my family is all relatively healthy, that we've thus far, been spared the wrath of Covid-19, and that hope in the form of a vaccine is on the horizon. I'm thankful for my friends, for my clients' support, for my ability to not only work, but to thrive during a time of national crisis, and I'm hoping that 2021 ushers in a completely new day - on many fronts.
I've got a feeling I'll start the day out on the Peloton and then bundle up good for a meal outside. It's going to be different than every other Thanksgiving I've ever hosted; just Cliff, Zee, and me, but it will be memorable just the same. I want to wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving, wherever and however you choose to spend it, even while apart from those we love.
(P.S. I will be taking a break from the Perspective next week to enjoy the holiday and squeeze in a little "down time.")
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.