In grade school, we were asked to do reports on who we looked up to. Faced with having to choose between mom and dad, most people went with some famous person. At this point in my life, as I continue my senior year of college, I am beginning to realize who the people are that I look up to.
I love my parents and could never choose between them because they are both very important to me. Besides them, my biggest inspiration would have to be my grandfather. In our home town, people that know him call him “a beast.” You would have to meet him to understand, but he is the type of person that always has to be outside doing something. He skis, he rides mountain bikes, and he fishes in the saltwater. His personality is if he’s going up a hill on his bike, a rocky steep hill, and he doesn’t make it all the way up, he doesn’t walk the rest of the way. He goes back to the bottom and tries again until he makes it.
“I’ll sleep when I die”
I don’t remember the first time I heard this saying from him, but as a college student it is something that holds a lot of truth, however in a different sense than he meant it. Life isn’t about working your life away, it’s about working to be able to enjoy life.
One story I have about my grandfather, is one year on our annual trip to Whistler, Canada when I was 14 years old. Years prior, Grandpa would wake up before all the grand kids to do an intensive bike ride. He would come back, eat a bowl of frosted mini-wheat with applesauce or bananas, and then be ready to ride around town with the rest of us. The year I was 14, I decided that I needed to get into shape for hunting season. I decided that I needed to go on that morning bike ride.
The first morning, I get woken up at 6:00 a.m. I fill up my camelbak, and we take the elevator down to the hotel’s bike storage. Whistler is known for its downhill park, and that’s where we headed that first morning. Back to the part about my grandfather being a beast, he doesn’t ride up the chair lift to ride down the hill. He has to earn the ride down by riding all the way up. Let me tell you, even the blue run is a steep incline and lots of switchbacks. He tried to teach me how to lift my front tire of the ground, to help me pedal faster, but that didn’t work.
I ended up falling behind, face red and breathing hard. But who knew going down would be just as much work as coming up. You can’t ride your brakes, but let off too much and your out of control and in a tree. When we got to the bottom he said, “we’ll do it faster, but in a couple of days. Give you a nice break.”
I hope to be like him, with an attitude aimed at earning everything and never giving up.
*I don’t have any pictures of us riding our mountain bikes, but here is Grandpa taking my sister and I zip lining in Whistler.