The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way. – Robert Kyosaki
The other day, Jacinda and I were talking about growing up and the events we remember most distinctly, in some cases forming us in ways we perhaps are still yet to uncover. For me, of the handful that I do recollect, my Dream Bike is probably the most significant. I know of how this affected me then, and recently found a website on which I was able to put pictures to the memories I’ve held from the past.
During my teen years, I was all about BMX. Not just riding around popping wheelies, but racing around with my buddies on the tracks we made, jumping over manmade ramps and the products of Mother Nature in the backwoods of Missouri. I’d buy the latest magazines and spend hours reading them cover-to-cover countless times. But my favorite section of all was the bike reviews. Here, I would read about the latest, most state-of-the-art equipment being fitted to bikes from Raleigh, Diamondback, Redline, Mongoose, and wish for the day that I could buy one for myself. You see, my bike was ‘ok’ – while it had a BMX seat and handlebars, the frame gave away the fact that it was, in fact, a wanna be. It was a great bicycle in its own right, just not a BMX bike.
One day, our family went down the road apiece to the metropolis of Rolla, Missouri, to shop at TG&Y, and there I saw it – the Bike of My Dreams. There, in living color, was a Huffy Pro Thunder Z2! While there were plenty of other bikes that I wouldn’t mind calling my own, this one was so unique that it quickly rose to the top of my list. Of particular coolness was the fact that it had a twist shifter package in the handlebar, allowing the rider to make a holeshot out of the gate in one gear and then quickly adjusting their racing profile to leave the competition in the dust.
And so, here we were, my Dream Bike and me. It was love at first sight. I still remember how I felt, touching it for the first time, sitting on the seat, imagining how cool it was going to be. In my mind, I was probably thinking about how I would bring it up to my room at night and tuck it into bed with me.
My parents put the bike on layaway for me, a time in which credit cards were in no way at the level of use that they are today, and we went home with me smiling from ear to ear. For days, I told my friends about My Dream Bike, and we would sit around talking about all the cool things we would do once I had it in my possession.
Days became weeks, weeks became months, and I never brought the bike home. In fact, I don’t recall ever being told directly that we weren’t getting the bike. It was a time in which my dad was retiring from the Army, we were moving off base to a new home, and so perhaps money was tight. Or, it was just forgotten. I really have no idea. All I know is that My Dream Bike stayed just that. A dream.
Thinking back, what hits me the hardest was the sense of disappointment in being so close to realizing my dream, only to miss out on it. The reasons aren’t very important – I don’t hold any grudge against my parents at all. It’s just this emotional baggage of anticipating something great, and then missing out on it. Perhaps that is why I’m compelled to take the reins whenever possible, so that whether I succeed or fail, I know to whom the credit or blame goes because I see him in the mirror every day.
I’m sure each of you reading this have your own story to tell of childhood disappointments, and how you’ve dealt with them or at least come to realize their impact. I’d love to hear them, as I know for myself that these are the events that make us who we are, and getting to know each other better is a great part of life.
A footnote: in finding My Dream Bike online, you may be wondering if I am tempted to buy it. The answer is yes! If I do, I’ll be sure to share it with everyone, even post a video of me riding it. I’ll have the biggest smile you have ever seen.