Community Magazine

Life and Death – and the Bits Inbetween

By Mumflyingsolo @mumflyingsolo
I've had two seminal moments this week. The first was in the bike repair shop - not the most likely spot for a 'road to Damascus' moment I grant you.Apparently, not only did I need a new tire (I'd wheeled it in with a puncture), the wheel was buckled and it needed new brakes and cones (whatever they are).In other words, an overnight stay was needed and it wasn't going to be cheap. As I saw the estimated bill, said to myself: “Right, that's it missus, it's time for you to grow up.”You see, there's a reason my bike is such a state at under a year old. The wheel is buckled because I was showing off. At Centre Parcs, desperately trying to impress my teenage nephew, I attempted a wheelie while going downhill.I'd had a glass of wine (son safely esconced at Wizard Academy) and I thought I was Superwoman you see.I got a chance to test out that theory when I put the brake on, flew over the top of the handlebars (cape flapping in the wind...) landed on my arse and my bike careered into a tree.My car (also about a year old) isn't in much better shape – largely due to be scratching it to death by throwing said filthy bike in the back after cycling through the deepest muckiest puddles my five-year-old and I can find.In the bike shop, seeing that bill made me panic, coming as it did a week after I lost £800 of stuff when my handbag was stolen. I'd slung it to one side in favour of dancing like a lunatic to Rihanna in a seedy nightclub. Insurance? Oh no, I'll never need that...And so the realisation dawned that I need to grow up. I planned one last hedonistic weekend ready to embrace the new 'on top of paperwork and looking after my possessions' me on Monday.But then came yesterday afternoon. Driving to my friend's house, I had to slam on the brakes. There had been an accident, a bad one. I was only three cars behind it.A motorcyclist had hit the back of a van. The bike was in one field and he was in the other. Not breathing, no pulse and attempts to resuscitate him failed.We stood there helplessly, by our cars, until the stunned silence (it was eerie, like even the birds knew) was penetrated by the 'already too late' sirens.I got back in the car, turned around and found a back road to my destination.I cried all the way. For that man who was never going to reach his destination, but also for me, realising that if I hadn't been delayed by reading a text as I left the rugby match, it might have been me never seeing my family and friends again.Moments like that make you realize that life is just too bloody short. Money, possessions, they can be replaced, but the seconds on your clock can't.I thought about my son, who loves nothing more than when I'm stop caring what other people think and I join him in being a child.Only a few weeks ago, we did roly-polys along the grass verges the entire length of a main street in broad daylight. We've rolled down the Cardiff barrage in front of hundreds of tourists until we've taken on so much grass we look like Wurzel Gummidge wannabes and we've laughed until we cried pretending to be giant chickens at the farm park. Oh, and we splash in muddy puddles, a lot. Driving away from that accident, it really hit home that you need to grab at those moments and keep making them. It's simple really, you either get busy living or you get busy dying.So, while I will (seven months after it ran out), finally get round to sorting my son's passport and put my bike on its stand in the garage in future, I'm not about to go full circle and start sweating the small stuff. I won't be ashamed of the massive bruise on my backside sustained from a drunken dancefloor fall, I'll see it as a badge of honor – proof that I know how to enjoy myself.After all, if I'm fortunate enough to make it to a ripe old age, I'm sure I won't look back thinking; “I wish I'd gone out less, seen my friends less, drank less, had less sex and spent less time laughing with my child.” I want to know that I lived and let live.Growing up? It's got to be over-rated.

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