A woman from the car dealership picked me up today so I could retrieve my car from the shop. She was in her mid-fifties and had a ginger red bob haircut with pink lipstick. We started talking about cars and how nice it would be to know how to fix them.
"Guys have it easier, usually their fathers will teach them," she told me.
"Huh, that's interesting. My dad was a car salesman. And the only thing he taught me was how to wreck them," I responded. It's true. By the time my dad was 21 years old, he had totaled a handful of cars by reckless driving. I have him to thank for my love of speed and pushing the edge on rubber wheels.
Our conversation drifted from there. At one point I told her I could work on bikes.
"Well that's easier. Bikes are more unisex," she said. Are they?
Our conversation drifted further, and I told her about my cycling background and riding down by the river in Eugene as a kid. How sports were ingrained in my being from very young and how I enjoyed school and studying, but what I really lived for was recess. Dodgeball and basketball with the boys? You bet. I was often the last one in once the bell rang.
"Your dad must have taught you all of that," she assumed.
"Actually, I credit my older brother. I had to keep up with whatever he was doing," I said.
"Let me ask you this, did you always know? When you were little did you know you wanted to be an athlete?" she asked.
"I didn't think I had a choice."
She admitted to me she was curious about people who are passionate about what they do and figure out how to make a living from it. She had recently divorced and was now on her own, forging her own way. Except now she has no idea what that looks like.
"How do you follow your bliss?" she asked.
"That's an interesting question. I've been doing it so long, I don't know what it's like not to," I said.
I didn't tell her that I experienced tragedy and that it made me not want to live another minute not doing what I loved. Life is short. We have one shot so we better live it to the fullest. Bucket lists, dream goals, living it up and enjoying each moment is a top priority for me.
"I will say that you should surround yourself by people who are doing what you want to be doing," I mused. "Don't settle. Take little steps and set a goal, always striving toward. Until one day you wake up and realize you're doing exact what you want to be doing."
"Thanks, Jennifer," she said.
"Thank you - and follow your bliss!"