notable locations in Lagos

The Memoirs of a stay-at-home Dad Episode 2

March 21, 2023
Motorcycles and Family: Managing Passion and Sacrifice.

Taking a few steps backward to the weeks before we travelled, I remember I was faced with the most difficult decision I've had to make in a decade. I felt stuck and choked, the dilemma had me feeling breathless. This was all my fault though. I was at work when my wife called to share the news that we have had all paperwork completed and all logistics confirmed for the move.

Everything from documentations to Visas had been approved. It was the 11th hour, and the reality of our impending move had finally set in. I had been avoiding this moment for weeks, putting off making the necessary decisions and pushing it to the back of my mind. But now, with only a few weeks left before our departure, I had to face the ugly truth.

As I scrolled through some of the files she shared with me, my mind raced with thoughts of what we were leaving behind. The familiar faces, the comfortable surroundings, and the life we had built over the years. It was all about to change, and I was struggling to come to terms with it. The weight of the responsibility I had put off for so long now felt heavy on my shoulders, and I couldn't help but feel a sense of regret for not taking action sooner.

In retrospect, however, I appreciate how the experience has contributed to my growth. The journey through this period gave me a personalized experience of responsibility and strategic thinking. I realized that sometimes the most difficult part of any challenge is simply accepting the truth and taking action.

I had supported my wife, even nudging her to pursue and commit to the offer of this new life without really considering the implications of the eventualities. I had constantly pushed her to go after what she felt was good for her and her career, promising my full support, but when this reality dawned on me, I wasn’t ready to face the truth of the situation. As she adjusted and prepared, she'd ask me;

"What would be done concerning this, or that?"

And I'd always pushed back with;

"When we get to the bridge, we'd cross it"

On one hand, I had always dreamed of traveling the world and wanted the best for my family, but the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of leaving my comfort zone eats me up. I spent weeks going back and forth, lots of sleepless nights weighing the pros and cons of leaving everything I knew behind to embrace this new reality. It was overwhelming, like wading through a sea, I had a mental list of the things I would have to pack, throw away or give up, the possibility of leaving my job, saying goodbye to my colleagues and family, giving up my routine, and on top of the list, giving up my motorcycles and riding buddies. 

my morning view (shadow was at the workshop when this shot was taken) cars move the body, motorcycles move the soul.

The truth was obvious, I knew what had to be done, but I wanted ways I could keep my indulgences. maintain my life as I've known it. I wanted it all, I wanted to eat my cake and have it.

Everything hinged on "What was best for the family, especially my son?", the silent question that came to mind when considering any thought, opinion or idea.

As an architect who had established meaningful relationships and business connections, the mere thought of starting afresh in an unfamiliar terrain scared me shitless. Architecture had been my foremost form of creative release and I was finally becoming comfortable in the industry. Apart from series of worthy freelance engagements, I had a good job, in fact, a new one. One that I had wanted for a long time, and just weeks after resuming my new role, I have put myself in a very difficult situation.

I had countless opportunities to inform my employer of my impending move, but because I was evading the truth, I kept pushing it forward. Now with just a few weeks to go, I must deal with this and prepare myself to suffer the implications of the short notice. I had imagined I would structure an itinerary that would include travelling back and forth to maintain a balance between work and family.

Another important one was informing friends and family. How do you tell your family and friends that preparations for such a move happened within a short time?

It was daunting to think about giving up so much, but the thought of living without my motorcycles or riding was even more terrifying. I was in the middle of negotiations for a new bike, but now, I would have to not only abandon the idea, but also let go of riding. This was more or less the most difficult decision I had to face. The decision to let go of something that had been a part of my identity was not easy. I felt like I was losing a part of myself. The thought of breaking the bond I shared with a “piece of an engine” was really painful.

The truth is, riding a motorcycle is an experience like no other. There's a sense of freedom and excitement that comes with being out on the open road, with nothing but the wind and the roar of the engine to keep you company. The feeling of the bike between your legs, the wind in your face, and the road stretching out before you is an indescribable sensation that every rider knows and cherishes.

bond between man and machine
My first actual bonding ride with the TIGER

Non-riders, 'cagers', as we call them, will never understand, how a piece of engineering can change your life. Riding motorcycles had been my passion since I was a teenager. I loved the thrill, the freedom, and the sense of adventure that came with it. But life had taken a different turn, and I had to leave it all behind.

Yes, riding is not for the faint of heart, it comes with its dangers. The bad and the ugly sides of riding, unlike its advantages, are publicly known - the crashes, the injuries, and the fatalities, we know all of them. It's a reality that every rider acknowledges and accepts before even getting on a motorcycle. But there's so much more to it than just the risks and dangers. I experienced it and gave up trucking to commit completely to the new lifestyle.

It's not just the physical sensations that make motorcycling so special - it's the mental and emotional aspects as well. 

Riding has not only allowed me to explore new places but has also introduced me to a whole new community of riders. Riding provides a sense of camaraderie and belonging. There's a deep sense of brotherhood, a shared passion, and an understanding that transcends age, race, gender, and social status. It's not just about the physical sensation, but, a shared understanding and appreciation for the freedom and adventure, as well as the dangers and risks that come with riding. 

anatomy of freedom
the anatomy of freedom. credit: THE DRAGON

It doesn't matter what you do for a living, where you come from, or what your background is; when you're on a motorcycle, you're part of a community that understands and supports each other.

The phrase “Never leave a man behind” reinforces this community spirit and togetherness shared all over the world.

In fact, the motorcycle community is one of the most diverse and inclusive groups of people you'll ever meet. From bankers to mechanics, doctors to students, everyone is welcome. There is a shared passion that transcends all other differences, and that passion is what brings us together.

The psychological part.

There's something about the freedom of riding that makes all your problems disappear.

Riding is an escape from the mundane, a chance to forget about the stresses and worries of everyday life and just be in the moment, a truly transformative experience. The rhythmic purr of the engine, the sensation of the road beneath the tires, and the beauty of the surrounding scenery all contribute to a sense of peace and tranquillity that can be difficult to find elsewhere.

That empowering feeling of being in control of a powerful beast and being fully immersed in the moment is a unique sensation that is difficult to replicate in any other aspect of life.

As the wind rushes past your face, with the sound of the engine and the road merging into a symphony of noise, while the world around you becomes more vibrant and alive, moving past you in a fading blur, your senses are heightened. This sense of heightened awareness is at the same time exhilarating and therapeutic.

The motorcycle doesn't just show you the world, it creates life-long relationship and remarkable experiences. Water break during a condolence visit to a bike family member who suffered loss of property to a fire incident.

For many of us, riding is a form of meditation, a chance to clear our minds and focus solely on the present. Forgetting all troubles and drama and enjoying the tranquillity of your thoughtless mind.

But perhaps the most rewarding aspect of riding is the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. Riding a motorcycle is not easy - it takes skill, practice, and a lot of courage. Overcoming the challenges and mastering the techniques of riding is a source of pride and self-confidence that spills over into all areas of life. It's a reminder that anything is possible if you're willing to work for it.

Despite acknowledging the dangers and risks of riding, we embrace the responsibility that comes with it, understanding that it is up to us to take care of ourselves and make smart decisions on the road. This sense of responsibility translates into other areas of our lives as well.

For those who have never ridden a motorcycle, it may be hard to understand the appeal. But for those who have experienced the rush of the open road, the sense of freedom and accomplishment that comes with mastering a powerful machine, and the camaraderie of the riding community, it's an experience that is very hard to give up.

The irony of this is that my decision was facilitated by riding. I was able to make this decision after a ride, based on lessons learned from riding.

37year old SHADOW. the small but mighty. Always disappointing cagers nonetheless.

Okay, let me simplify this.

The realization that riding a motorcycle comes with risks and responsibilities is similar to making tough decisions in life. Just as a rider must weigh the risks and rewards of each decision they make on the road, we must do the same in our daily lives. Sometimes, the safest option may not be the most fulfilling, and taking risks may lead to greater rewards. But just as a rider must trust their instincts and training, we must trust ourselves to make the best decisions for our lives. In life, we must also embrace responsibility and take ownership of our decisions. We must be willing to take risks and accept the consequences, knowing that every experience is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Riding is a constant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of living in the moment. It teaches us to take responsibility for our actions and to appreciate every experience, even the challenging ones. Riding is not just a hobby or a mode of transportation, it's a way of life that teaches us valuable lessons about courage, responsibility, and the beauty of living in the moment.

Riding was my resistance, and I had to break the resistance. Remembering book one of  Steven Pressfield’s "The War of Art", where he describes "resistance" as an inner force that prevents us from doing the things we know we need to do in order to achieve our goals or fulfil our purpose. It's the force that causes us to procrastinate, make excuses, and avoid taking action even when we know we should.

Pressfield talks about how resistance can manifest in many different ways. It can be fear, self-doubt, distraction, addiction, or any other form of self-sabotage. He also talks about how resistance can be particularly powerful when we are trying to do something that is important to us, such as pursuing our dreams or living up to our potential. 

He describes;
“any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance”

In my case, my resistance was making me procrastinate accepting the truth and reality of prioritizing the family’s needs, especially the good of my son, above my personal needs, and finding ways to circumvent and avoid the responsibilities it would require.

just a man and his bike enjoying tranquillity

So there I was on a lonely road on a Sunday evening, after a long ride to nowhere to clear my head, detached from everything else to sort my thoughts again, and like an epiphany, I knew even though it was not going to be easy, I would find peace in embracing the reality.

I had to face my emotions head-on. The sadness, the regret, and the fear of the unknown were all present. It felt like I was finally moving on after breaking up with a long-term partner. I realized that I had, in the previous weeks, been mourning the subconscious acceptance of the obvious. I immediately felt the joy and relief that this choice was going to ultimately bring growth and fulfilment.

To sustain the energy, I called up a friend who had same bike as mine but with computer and electrical issues, called him up to pick up mine. By Wednesday, we had torn it apart and harvested all necessary parts to bring his to life. It was the perfect way to pay the utmost respect to my most dependable companion, the TIGER as I named it. I still had the SHADOW, which would be retired, to get me to places before our departure.

the TIGER. My personal locker and storage at work.

The decision to suspend riding was a tough one, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Life is full of changes, and we have to adapt to them. Letting go of something we love may be difficult, but it can also lead us to new opportunities and experiences that we never thought were possible. It's okay to mourn the loss of something, but we should also be open to new possibilities and embrace the changes that come our way.

This experience taught me new lessons about life, growth, and responsibility. 

While that process was overwhelming for me, it was a personalized experience of structured procrastination as describe by John Perry's "The Art of Procrastination". While this is not a support for procrastination, I must acknowledge that as John describes, the peculiarity of my situation actually triggered the resourcefulness that I never imagined I could muster. The complexity that had resulted from the procrastination activated the creative problem-solving side of me, as well as develop an adaptation/coping mechanism for whatever the move brings.

After all, it all worked fine, my employer allowed me to transition to a fully remote role, I have even more opportunity for self development and upskilling. Above all, the family sticks together and we are happy. I am making new connections and meeting new people, I am more excited about the possibilities ahead. Still don't know when I'd get back on a motorcycle, but I have found peace in knowing that it is just a matter of time

A win-win finally.

Next episode, I will share how I cope with my new “househusband” role, and how, unlike a housewife, I do not get any house-keeping allowance.
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Motorcycles and Family: Managing Passion and Sacrifice.

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