On being rich

It was more than a decade ago, but I remember it like it was last week. I was sitting on an old cement stoop chatting with my grandfather. It was a humid June day in upstate New York and I had just graduated college a week prior. With ice cold longnecks in hand we shot the shit about everything from the weather, to the Yankees, and those “goddman Dandelions” in the front lawn. My life was changing fast and I was looking for a little advice from the patriarch of the family. If there was one lesson that I learned growing up, it’s that these old timers know stuff. When they talk, you shut up and listen.

The conversation on that day shaped my life more than he ever realized. One particular piece of advice has stuck with me to this day:

Always work hard and be the best at what you do. But remember that no man on his death bed ever said “Damn, I wish I worked more overtime”. You could have all the money in the world but if you don’t have time to spend it on good food, good friends, and good travel… YOU ARE POOR

This advice has helped me appreciate the simplest things in life. Things like great old friends, new friends, and even people who I just met. That perfect tomato from a farm stand in summer or fresh ceviche on a beach in Mexico. The way dirt kicks up off of a brand new front tire or the way my old grips are worn in (not worn out) just right. Even the way sleeping in the dirt in the desert can be just as cool as passing out in a recliner in the middle of Vermont.

Dirtbag Fitz and Semi-Rad Brendan are a couple of talented guys who are pretty damn good at expressing this appreciation. This video they put together has very little to do with riding bikes, but everything to do with living life. It’s 5 minutes and 17 seconds of your life not wasted.

Damn, I’m feeling pretty rich right now.

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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single malt, and single women. Tempe, Arizona, USA

29 thoughts on “On being rich

  1. But damn, when I’m on my death bed I’m a totally gonna wish that I had done more “lines of tweak off of a Romanian hooker’s labia”.

  2. 2 quotes to remember:

    “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
    ? Will Rogers

    “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”
    Lily Tomlin

  3. Life’s a balancing act. I am most conscious when I’m on my bike – or in the winter on my back country or skate skis. The trick is too keep that conscious outlook when I am grinding away at work.

  4. I needed that. I’m currently busting my ass and working out of town all the time. I’ve got another opportunity with no overtime and no travel, but less money. Some crazy signs have come my way in the last two days regarding the situation. This is one of those. Another came from an old dude that has been livin. I’m not much on fate, but damn shit is to real to be made up. Thanks, db.

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  7. I like the sentiment, and I’ve done an okay job of living the ethic so far, but the dude says “he doesn’t worry about paychecks” and “likes to leave big tips.” Well, which is it?

  8. Sigh, maybe it’s my mood, but I’m gonna bounce off of Mikeys’ insight.

    By my count, he’s got several grand in gear, rack alone. Much of that needs regular replacement, more $. Add to that a lot of name brand, totally awesome gear, the ability to hit the ocean, the aquarium with his kids (don’t get me started on those awesome little money vacuums), spend time in Patagonia, have a campsite crammed with gear, and the time to do it all. AND, yes, leave big tips, which, don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of doing, having been on the receiving end for year, yes, it’s appreciated for sure.

    You can’t do that, without a paycheck, and by my count, a pretty big one.

    Never met the men, read Brandons blog, think he’s got a great heart and message. Perhaps he’s one of these legendary Trustafarians I hear roam the western US, I don’t know, and I don’t mean that as a judgement either, just so I’m clear.

    Dirty, you have a job, and a good paycheck, and the luxury of scheduling your time in a way most would grow green with envy over. I don’t begrudge you, or anyone that.

    But the message is kinda blunted here. That shit costs money, a lot of it, and it has to come from somewhere. Most of the time, its time that gets consumed, earning it.

    Your Gramps message is right on though. I think it may be how grandiose the video makes his choices look. To me? That shit is a world and a half away, and getting there is big dollars all on it’s own.

    Hats off to those who have found the balance, I haven’t, and perhaps that’s why I find myself in the mood I’m in.

    Responsibility sucks, but if you want to be respected, you need to suck it up, and deal with what responsibilities you have.

    Alright time to go ride, best I can do. Night, woods, Springtime, beer after. My little slice of heaven for now.

  9. I will agree that the more I thought about the scenes they showed, the more I thought about how they found the time and money to play so hard.

    But I eventually came to the conclusion that the point being made is that we each need to find pieces of our lives that we can preserve. Daily affirmations that what we’re doing is true to ourselves. Nobody can take away the enjoyment I get from my ride to work. Or the smile I get when our AZ sky glows like an orange. Or the joy of finding your way out of the pain cave. Or my first mimosa on a Sunday.

    I may not enjoy my time at the desk with the emails and spreadsheets, but goddamnit it’s not going to define who I am. If I can come in on Monday and have the best stories from the weekend, that’s a win.

  10. Hey dudes, glad some of you liked the film (and Dirty’s story, which was RAD). I wouldn’t take the shots in the film too literally — they’re of a bunch of different people doing different things (Derek is the climber, Austin and Matt are the guys in Patagonia, and the toddler is Fitz’s son Teplin, at the aquarium a few miles from their house in Seattle). I co-wrote the script, and I live in a dumpy 2005 Astrovan. I’m a “trustafarian” in the sense that if I ask my dad for money, I can “trust” that he will tell me to fuck off. I work the same 40-50 hours as everybody else; just in coffee shops and libraries throughout the west, without the apartment (or ability to shower regularly). Cheers, and if you have a shower somewhere west of the Missouri River, give me a shout!

  11. “I’m a “trustafarian” in the sense that if I ask my dad for money, I can “trust” that he will tell me to fuck off”

    Laugh of the fucking month !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  13. snooty white kids idea of what poor is. They have toys. Gas, teeth. No obligations to care for others. They think they’re poor..so much so that they’re rich? they can blow me.

  14. I’ve had money and I’ve been broke. Trust me, all the purty sunsets and good vibes in the world don’t mean shit if you can’t buy food for your wife and kid and you’re about to lose your house.