I took a bike ride today around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena – a short 10 minute drive from my home.

On my last lap I met Saul, a maintenance worker at nearby Huntington Hospital.  He was plugging along at a steady 12 miles per hour up a slight incline as I pulled up alongside.  I nodded and said “Hi” as I began to pass him.

He gave me a huge grin, pulled his earphone out, and greeted me, “Great day for a ride, eh? Good to see you out here.”  His energy was magnetic. Probably in his late 50’s or 60’s, his eyes were hidden behind cycling glasses, but an endearing smile gleamed out from the life lines etched into his brown face.

I decided to drop my agenda for pushing myself through my last lap and slowed down to talk.  “Beautiful day, but my legs are killing me,” I told him, “I’m in the worst cycling shape of my life.”

He laughed and said, “Keep at it.  It gets better the more you do it.” And then he told me his story.

Make the Most of What You’ve Got

A year ago he was pre-diabetic and his blood pressure was high.  He was “tired of being old and fat” and decided to return to something he loved as a kid — riding his bike.  He works from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. then comes to the Rose Bowl to put in his miles.  He loves it.  And he has lost 45 pounds and his health is great!

“The best part is how good I feel after I ride. I love feeling healthy. It’s not just good for my body, it clears my mind, gives me peace…just riding my bike!  You know what I’m doing, I’m just living like I’m dying, that’s it! I make the most of each day, ’cause that’s all I got. You never know how much life you’ve got left.  Gotta make the most of what you’ve got.”

Making the Most of Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl with My Beloved Dave and "Little" Ruth

Living Like I’m Dying

I’ve had a blessed nineteen years of life since my diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in 1992.  In the early years of life post-breast cancer, I did what Saul is doing — made the most of each day, did things that brought me joy, spent time with people I loved and rode my bike a lot!

In those days of “living like I’m dying,” people and pursuing my passions were more important than productivity.

In recent years my agendas for productivity battle for space on my calendar.  Saul’s interruption of my agenda to push myself on this ride was a reminder that while productivity can be a very good thing; it can also completely screw up my priorities.

People are more important than products.  Loving and enjoying my productivity but being unattached to outcomes is essential. When the drive to produce turns me into Bitchy Cissy or Pissy Cissy, it’s time to stop and get my priorities straight.

Thanks be to God for Wise Men dressed in spandex!

I hope you are making time and space in your life for the people and passions that energize and give you joy this Fall.