The irony of human life is that we squander the present examining memories of the past or imagining the happenings of the future, and forever indulge in regret and imagination without using the present to make something of ourselves. All the much vaunted talk of living in the moment and carpe diem remains talk, unless you have been motorcycle racing.

Watching a motorcycle race evokes admiration for the riders who live life on the edge, perpetually balancing on the tightrope of control and finesse. They care not for the fluctuation of the stock market or last month’s electricity bill. The only thing that matters is racing. Sure, there is a strategy for tire conservation or passing your opponents, but these are all about getting ahead and getting somewhere.

When you go motorcycle racing, you accept that you may have to lay down your life at the altar of speed. You wear the remnants of a dead cow or kangaroo and trust they will help you survive falling off a bike at 200 kmph or more. You forget your job, the time you got dumped, the house you want to build within the next five years and every other thing that stops you from living in the present. You learn to accept that the most important thing in your life is the time you have right now, riding a fast bike that thrills you on a track that wants to kill you.

Lorenzo Iannone crash - Picture Gold and Goose

Every moment on the track requires that you focus on the here and now. Blink and you miss the start. Look away and you miss the brake marker. Fail to be decisive and you won’t steer hard enough to make the turn. There is no time to think of yesterday or tomorrow, the last lap or the next lap. You realize that the only thing that matters in life is what you are doing right now. You forget everything that doesn’t help you make the next corner and get around the track as fast as you can, you forget everything but racing.

Let us learn to live in the moment, unencumbered by the various entities that seek to drag us down. A life well lived is not validated by bank balances or art collections, it is validated by knowing that you got the most out of every day that you lived. Succeed or fail, high or low, win or lose, the only thing that matters at the end of the race is that you did your best and enjoyed yourself to the fullest. You made some mistakes, you learnt some things, you were better than last time in some places and were better off last time in some other places. Whatever the result was, it sure beat sitting around hoping to get better.

Never forget, life is a racetrack. Ride it one turn at a time. Focus too much on the finish and you won’t remember the race. Regret what you did one corner ago, and you will blow the next one too. Plan your last lap now, and you blow this lap. Let go of all the bullshit you have been fed until now. My life wasn’t perfect, but I had a hell of a time riding it. Life is about living to the fullest in the moment, and nothing teaches you that better than racing. Live Free, Ride Hard.