man and his son riding their motorcycle with the exhaust making hearts

Appreciating the Small Things

Appreciation: “the sensitive understanding of the aesthetic value of something.” The longer I live, the more I realize my appreciation for the small.

Yesterday, I called my youngest and said, “Want to go for a ride?” An hour later, we were heading down the road with the wind in our faces and ear to ear smiles. The sun filled the September sky, and the air was warm when stopped yet wonderfully cool as we road. The corn is browning up and will be ready for harvest soon.


We traveled to nowhere. No destination and no time restraint, just backroads and cornfields and the occasional fellow motorist. We were captains on the seas of high adventure and freedom. After a time, I slid to the left and let him pass me up and take the lead. As I followed, I found myself reflecting. The man on the bike ahead of me was a boy when I was diagnosed. Not even a teenager. He rode a custom KE100 Kawasaki then. I took a small dirt bike I found in a barn and cut the frame. I stretched it out and built a custom backend. He was the only kid in the neighborhood with his own motorcycle, a chopper. He and I rode countless miles around our neighborhood.

He and his wife are expecting their first child in February. I have already been looking for motorcycles to customize for the baby. My daughter-in-law has told me, “The baby cannot ride until he or she is a year old!” A full year. Have you ever heard of such overbearing, parental blather? I am kidding, sort of. No, I understand, I just like teasing her a bit.

How things have changed

I thought of how much I appreciated our years of riding together. Things have changed, now he leads as often as follows and we do not get to ride together nearly as much as we used to. That makes an early fall ride through the corn of Indiana a gift.

Surviving cancer gave me a fresh start

To an extent, I need to thank my cancer for my appreciation. As if a reset switch was thrown and I was given a fresh start. The life that I sometimes took for granted has an amazing vibrancy through the lens of surviving. Experiences are for savoring and enjoying, not just for getting past to see what is next. I suffered the delusion that I had time and would get do this or that after the work was done. Like the people who speak of retirement as the holy grail. All of those plans put off on the belief that they have time.

I may have tomorrow, I may not

I don’t have time. I know that now. Cancer shattered the illusion that I had some mystical, magical time and that later is when I should live. I have now. Right now, this moment. I have time to do whatever it is, now. I may have tomorrow. I may have hundreds of tomorrows. I may not. But I do have now and now is a gift. A wondrous, amazing, magical gift.

Now, I have time to ride with my son and revel in the late afternoon sun as we race along towards nowhere. Cancer is my friend, it has given me an appreciation for the small. A love of the mundane, day-to-day wonders of life.

Seeing things differently

Read some of the other stories on this site. Read about the fellow that finds himself crying easier. Read about the lady who went camping with her stoma. I could list so many but these two come to mind because I have had similar moments. What you will find are people who have gained inspiration through their challenges. Folks who see things differently and appreciate life in a new light.

Cancer has plenty of negatives. As survivors, we are well aware of the trials and tribulations of our disease. But, we have the ability to choose differently. We have the ability and the capability to choose to see the gifts and the blessings that have come from our diagnosis.

Appreciation over apprehension

I challenge you to choose appreciation over apprehension. Choose the silver linings over the muddy road. Choose appreciation. As a friend says, “Happiness is a choice, choose wisely.”

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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