Sunday, December 20, 2015

It's funny how things work out...for the best

I’ve spent almost 2000 hours riding mountain bikes on the local trails near where we live: Duthie, Grand Ridge, Soaring Eagle, and Tiger Mountain. I had never seen a unicycle on the trails until yesterday, when I encountered one at Grand Ridge. Today I saw another unicycle over at Duthie. What are the odds of this occurring, one in a million? 

In any case, while I was riding today, I was thinking about fate, serendipity, and how what seem to be random events can link up and determine the future path one’s life will take.

In 2009, author John Summerson sent a copy of his book The Complete Guide to Climbing (By Bike) to Cascade Bicycle Club:

 At the time, I wrote a monthly fitness column for the Cascade Courier, and I was asked if I wanted to write a review of the book for my column. Had John not sent the book, or if I were not involved with Cascade, I would not have become enamored with the idea of a cycling trip to the Eastern Sierras of California. In June of 2010, David Longdon and I made the trip (I returned in 2014 with John Pottle), and a few months later we did a presentation on our adventures for almost 200 people at the Seattle REI: 

Had David and I not needed to fill up the gas tank on the way home we wouldn’t have stopped in Eugene, Oregon. David had lived in Eugene, and we took some time to have lunch, and do a walking and driving tour around town. I was so impressed with Eugene, upon returning to Seattle, I discussed with Tracy the idea of a potential move to Eugene some day. The very next weekend we drove to Eugene to learn more about the area. I took a bike, and one of David’s old friends was gracious enough to show me around on a ride. Over lunch, Ian and his wife were happy to elaborate on why they were so passionate about life in Eugene.

A week later, had I not been out riding in Issaquah, I would not have had an epiphany about where we would choose to live for what we feel could be many years. As I was descending Mountain Park Blvd, laid out below me was the little downtown area of Issaquah. As I cruised by the fish hatchery and brew pub, I realized that Issaquah felt an awful lot like Eugene to me. Even better than Eugene actually, as Issaquah is nestled in the foothills, and Eugene is 3-4 miles from the surrounding hills, and of course Issaquah is close to one of the greatest cities in America. In addition, not only did we already live in the Seattle area, Washington doesn’t have a 9.9% personal income tax like Oregon! Tracy and I had lived happily in Downtown Seattle for ten years, but in late December of 2010, we were packing up and moving to a rented townhouse in Issaquah. 

After a little over a year of careful contemplation, we found a “project” property, and spent a year working with an architect and contractor to turn it into exactly the kind of house we could live in forever.

Had Tracy and I not moved to Issaquah, I would never have considered giving mountain biking a try. Now I spend countless hours (well, almost 2000 anyway) riding the local trails. So in a way, reviewing that book became a life changing experience for me.

Speaking of Tracy…

In 1998, I was distracted and preoccupied with work related issues. Had I not been, I would have taken a typical planned vacation during “tax deadline” week in mid-April. At the last minute with no previous thought as to taking a trip, I entered “solo travel” as an internet search. The first site that popped up was Club Med. After a quick phone call (it was just easier that way back then), I had made arrangements for an all inclusive trip to Playa Blanca in Mexico. 

The following week I found myself in Playa Blanca. I had always wanted to try a Club Med trip, based on its 70’s reputation for decadence. What I discovered instead was a social environment where it was easy to meet people and make friends. Had one of the guys I was hanging out with not met Tracy’s roommate and her “group,” I likely wouldn’t have found myself meeting Tracy. Had Tracy not had a little bit too much to drink that night, she might have been a bit shy when we met. The next day at the pool, I might not have noticed Tracy if she had not decided to dive in to the water near where I was sitting.

Lest I forget, had Tracy not been a teacher on spring break during the same week, she wouldn’t have been in Mexico when I was. In fact, had her girlfriend not cancelled on her for their long planned trip to Hawaii, she wouldn’t have thought about Club Med, made the call, and found her way to Playa Blanca.

It’s funny how things work out. Had I not reviewed that book in 2009, I wouldn’t have seen the unicycles riding on the trails yesterday and today. 

Had I not been too busy to think about a spring vacation in 1998, I would not have experienced the most significant turn of events of my lifetime. I wouldn’t be married to Tracy. We wouldn’t have spent the last 17 years together, and we wouldn’t be making plans to spend the rest of our lives together. Indeed, it is funny how things work out, and in this case, work out for the best.