A New Journey With The Same Routine
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A New Journey With The Same Routine

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Constant reminders that the only disability in life is a bad attitude.  

It’s been five months. Five months has passed since I’ve been back and I still stick by the same morning routine. The song “Stolen Dance” by Milky Chance wakes me up in a panic, just like it used to, as I scramble to turn the alarm off. This time I can dismiss it, but I used to have to sit through that awful song. I still lay in bed for a few minutes after, although that’s just time to ponder on what type of music I’m going to play to get me going. Back then if I felt like I was going to cycle like Lance Armstrong I would play 50 Cent to get me pumped, or if I was sad and knew it was going to be a tough day, Bon Iver would be my choice. 

After that selection, it was time to get dressed for the day. I still put a bracelet on my wrist before I leave. In the summer it was a bracelet advocating awareness for a children’s disease, but that bracelet is tucked away and locked up for safe keeping as if it were 100-karat gold. Now the bracelet is a band that says “To the Stars With Difficulties” in Latin. I flaunt it around like a championship ring, because to me it is. It stands for something way greater than myself and represents thirty-four other outstanding men along with a journey of a lifetime. A journey that each day would start with a circle up after we all were ready. 

Nowadays I sit at my computer, go through my emails and plan out the day. Months ago, our project manager would circle us up and inform us on our day. He would provide the weather, how many miles to cycle, what city we were going to, how we would get fed, and what friendship visit we had. I can remember his voice like it was yesterday. 

“Alright guys, it is going to be a sensational 78 degrees out while y’all go 95 miles to beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska. Sorry we can’t stay in this wonderful community of Grand Island, but the Lincoln area has scheduled a dance and it’s going to be wonderful!”

As a team we’d discuss a few more details and then our manager would close out with, “Now who wants to close us with prayer?” Just like then I take it upon myself to pray daily. I close my computer, read a few daily scriptures, pray, and look to get a bite to eat.


I’ll admit, I make the same sandwich that I made probably forty times while traveling across America. Two pieces of turkey, one slice of cheese, Sriracha hot sauce in the middle, and peanut butter spread on one side of the bread. Gross to many, even to myself, but above all it’s comforting. It reminds me of some of those inspiring teammates all huddled together for lunch. We talked about how excruciating that last mountain pass was and who’s idea was it for us to cycle sixty miles before lunch. 

“Mom” would overhear that criticism, say something cynical, follow it up with how he would never complain about a doggone thing when he rode, and then send us on our way with a “ride hard, ride safe”. We’d peddle away knowing it was all in good fun and encourage each other to continue on with the day. We knew it wasn’t too long before we’d reach our new “home”. 

Home was ever changing. Some days it was a gym floor with nothing but a sleeping bag while others it was a carpeted church floor. Only once in awhile were we treated to a hotel room and the luxuries of self regulated air conditioning. While I don’t have to worry about where I will rest my head on days like today, I don’t get the satisfaction of arriving to lodging with teammates who just defeated 95 miles and 12,000 feet of elevation gain. That wasn’t a typical day, but what a triumphant day! I get plenty more satisfaction from that ride then acing a political science exam on an average day in the “outside world”. These physical accomplishments however, were nowhere near the most gratifying aspect of those days on the road.

Occasionally for dinner, I’ll place an order and go out and pick it up. Occasionally I’ll run into someone who is affected by what society coins as a disability, such as Down Syndrome. Before my summer, I would feel strange encountering someone who was “different” than I was. However, now I wave and I smile. I know today that a person with Down Syndrome is not disabled; rather they just have different abilities than I have. After the wave and smile I go on my way, but countless various faces enter my memory and I’m forced to look through pictures and recount those days on the journey.


If this was the middle of July, I wouldn’t have to go through pictures on computer. I’d be out perfecting my “Cupid Shuffle” dance that I did a few dozen times or I’d be arm wrestling a man in a wheelchair who’d put me down in a few short seconds. Those are the memories I have from the friendship visits and instead of living them, I’m sitting in my fraternity house and telling stories of the greatest summer of my life. My brothers listen, they inquire, and I’m sure they get sick of the same retelling of this one time where I cycled 126 miles in a day and I will always hold a grudge over Salt Lake City, Utah. It was agonizing day, but take me back any day of the week. The worst day on the bike is better than your best day in the real world., 


The days have been getting better, but five months ago they were the best. I have this innate ability to remember nearly everything I encounter and daily I remember Journey Of Hope. I do myself a favor and live a small part of it everyday. As silly as the routine is, it makes me happy and keeps me going. From the background of my computer to the walls in my room, pictures and saying are plastered all over. The routine allows me to always reminisce of Team Never Quit. It reminds me that “the only disability in life is a bad attitude” and with that I can accomplish anything I set my heart to. “It’s a great day to have a great day” as my brother from Texas Christian University would say and I hold onto those words with a possessing grip. I think about if I did all I can do for the day and soon I satisfyingly lay to rest. “Stolen Dance” will be blasting bright and early in the morning.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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