Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Support BGCA’s Triple Play program and our partner – WellPoint Foundation on a cycling ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Sometime later, it occurred to me that I once made the trip by car in six hours. I was flooded by other thoughts, too. I’ll face steep mountains. And there will be 100+ degree days. Oh yeah, and I will have to train.
My effort is part of a “ride-along” to help WellPoint and the Journey 4 Health team as it cycles across the country to deliver an inspirational, and educational health focused bicycle tour to motivate and inspire young people and others. The 45 day, 3,200 mile expedition will begin in Long Beach, California on August 22rd and end in New York City on Monday, October 7th. The purpose of this venture is to help expand the dialogue on health and expand people’s understanding and approach to healthcare.
The message we are providing to young people is around the importance of good health, but this effort has me reflect on two things - persistence and purpose. BGCA’s purpose is to help young people become productive, caring and responsible citizens. One of the characteristics needed for success is persistence. This characteristic, or Habit of Mind, is a skill young people need. And believe me, I know! I’ve drawn on it while getting prepared for the first leg of the ride and I’ve secretly (and maybe not so secretly wanted to give up). My brain has raced with ideas that the ride is too long, too far, and there is far too much to do to get prepared. I’m sure persistence will become much more important as we get into the dog days and I get tired, sore and run out of gas.
As I’ve been training, my thoughts meander from one thing to the next. Recently, I thought about the long road to repeating - as NBA champ LeBron James. The persistence it took to put the work in, to turn a deaf ear to the critics, to push past the point of exhaustion for a purpose. Next, I thought of the persistence of President Abraham Lincoln. He first ran for the Illinois State Legislature in 1832 but was defeated. He ran again in 1834 and was elected and in 1838 was defeated as State Speaker. In 1846, Lincoln was elected to U.S. House of Representatives. After losing his re-election bid, Lincoln practiced law until he ran for Senate twice both times again, losing. He sought the vice president nomination and lost. However, he gained national recognition and was nominated to run for President in 1860. Now, let’s ask ourselves - do we have that kind of persistence?
The other important issue is purpose. Are we connected to a purpose that is larger than ourselves? Am I giving my life for something that makes a difference? Is my purpose worth all the planning, effort, sweat, dedication, tuning out the naysayers?
While traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas by bike sounds cool, left to me, it is something I’d never set out to do on my own. However, on behalf of spreading our message of good health and physical activity, something I’ve spent my entire career devoted to, it’s got me stoked! Our work, my work, on behalf of our young people is every bit worth the effort. As a by-product, research shows there are protective health factors associated with having a life bigger than our own concerns. So it’s good for me, too.
This also has given me an opportunity to reflect on my own personal purpose of getting more physically fit. It’s been a struggle regaining the feeling and vitality of my youth. Post 50, it may never return, although like Ponce de Leon, I’m on the quest for the fountain of youth. Health and wellness comes one step or one pedal at a time, with purpose, persistence and above all perseverance to achieve.
Wayne B. Moss is BGCA's senior director of Healthy Lifestyles.
This journey for health has me shifting gears on what I believe is possible.
Wayne will start his journey from Long Beach California on Thursday August 22, arriving in Las Vegas on Tuesday August 27th. You can track the team’s progress live at http://www.journeyforhealthtour.com/track-us-live/.