>A Life Full of Can-

This weekend I decided to start reassembling my mountain bike. It was broken into easy to ship components when I moved back in March. It’s since been sitting in one of my closets. I’ve used this bike for the last several years as an exercise bike. It hasn’t gotten much road work. Now there’s work that would need to be done in order to get road worthy, and for that a visit to one of Austin’s excellent bike shops would be the order of the day.

For me to get it “house” worthy, that’s another story. I pulled the parts out of the closet, dragged out my tool box, and spent an hour or so reassembling bits. Note to the masses, don’t forget that bikes use grease to lube moving parts. Grease and white carpet, not such a good thing.

As I patiently matched up various parts on the bike and reattached them, I thought back a bit to years past. As a child I loved taking things apart and putting them together again. Somewhere along the path to adulthood, I lost that joy. I got so fixated on doing it right I forgot that part of the fun was figuring out how things worked. When you disassemble something, it helps you learn how it works. One piece at a time you break apart one version of reality. Then you take that pile of bits and reassemble them into a new reality.

I rediscovered my knack for taking things apart when working at a camera store during my BFL challenge. I’d spent years saying “can’t” to so many things. One of those things was, I can’t fix machinery. In the middle of a busy Saturday, with a broken print processor I said, “heck with this.” I pulled out the manual, worked through the directions, and fixed the problem. That can’t shifted to CAN. Over the years I’ve replaced so many can’ts with CAN.

Now there will always be some can’ts. Generally though that’s just me being a bit linguistically sloppy. I know that most of those cases I actually CAN do something if I make the effort and prioritize it. There may be good reasons why I don’t. There may be bad reasons. But I never forget that most often a can’t is based on my own decisions.

As I spent time covered in grease, reassembling my bike this weekend I remembered when can’t seemed to be my life. I don’t miss that time. I do cherish the lessons I learned then. Without those can’ts, I never would have found the path to live a life of CAN.

By the way, anyone know how to get bike grease out of carpet?