Learning what life is all about with I4K

So do you ever think you are worrying too much about things that do not matter? I mean this is it; this is your life happening right in front of you, moment by moment. Time as it flows in the moment signifies your existence, not the past experiences you wish to relive or the future you actively try to create. It is, through the moments you live, beginning and ending simultaneously; a chain of moments that will unquestionably end. The actuality that time is not infinite is such a hard concept to truly grasp.

I was able to help conduct an I4K interview with a student here at U of I. At my age she had become a caregiver for a fellow student and friend diagnosed with colon cancer. Twenty-two years old, and all these people around her are saying, after some stomach problems, that she has cancer. That was it; her life- and all the individuals whose lives, by chance, intertwined in this specific place and time with her- changed. I can imagine her experience: pain, physical degradation, surgery after surgery, financial strain, loneliness.

She graduated from the university that same year, and decided she is going to travel, and do whatever she wants, rightfully so. Her friend that was retelling the story to us recalled an amazing moment: as she, now a cancer survivor, was flying over the endless rows of houses one can watch from the window seat of an airplane, she became overwhelmed with a sudden and overpowering emotion. Most of these people, with their unique days that come together to create their life stories, were probably worrying about things that just did not matter; things that prevented valuing the moments of their lives.

I4k is much more than just a fundraiser ride. As we ride this summer and hear stories of how cancer has impacted the lives of others, we the riders, listeners, and learners, shape our understanding of ourselves, what we value, and how we want to live. Every day, eight hours a day in the saddle, time will flow in the moment. You do not have to travel to exotic places in the world to change your perspective on things; you have to open your eyes and ears to the people around you, wherever you find yourself.

In the context of humanity, most importantly, we learn from the people that suffered in the past, and the people that continue to suffer today, that people do not have to suffer from cancer so we can all learn to live differently. All the people of the past contributed to the world by adding ideas and thoughts to the web of human understanding. Ideas in society are about progression. Cancer will be cured, and the ideas of the past preserved so that all the future will benefit.

The moments chained together that create our existence on this ride, will shape the future of others, whether it be donations for cancer research, our Portraits Project, or giving hope. Cool, right? Thanks to this experience I think I have a better understanding of life, time, and suffering. Let’s learn from others whose experiences shaped ideas that are now imprinted on the world, and stop suffering in the future.

From two wheels…

Comments (2)
  • Rita Thakkar says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog – and I am so impressed with your sensitivity and maturity. What an awesome summer experience you have ahead of you-I look forward to reading more of your blogs.
    See you in a few weeks.

  • gfairbairn Gabrielle Fairbairn says:

    Amanda, I’m really happy you posted about the Portrait we did! It was truly an amazing story and was definitely another life changing moment for me. I’m excited for you and the rest of the team to have moments like that all the time this summer! From two wheels is the best way to to meet new people and to travel. Happy riding!

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