Allowing for the possibility of … well, a different possibility

By Sarah Hansing

Photo: Montaña de Oro State Park (Bruce Dorman)

Photo: Montaña de Oro State Park (Bruce Dorman)

It seems that nearly every person I know has started one, is adding to one, or is working on one: The Bucket List.

A personal checklist of going and seeing and doing and eating and drinking and adventuring.

It’s an admirable thing, really, having a list of must-do’s for one’s time on earth. I honestly always felt a little odd-man-out, because I don’t really have one.  I mean, there’s stuff I want to do, for sure, but I don’t really have a bucket list.

I probably tend to be a bit too impulsive for lists when it comes to life, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, I suppose.  But my proclivity towards “I have decided that I want to do this thing, so I am going to do it right now” has propelled me towards a lot of adventures.

It’s been responsible for a lot of risks and a lot of gambles.  

I’ve done a lot of things that other people wouldn’t have done, on a timeline they certainly wouldn’t have done it on. Maybe I should plan better, but my approach seems to always work out pretty well for me. Start with a plan and add the “ish.” Stir well.   

Plan (ish)  where you’re going to go (ish) on the budget you have (ish) within your set timeline or schedule (ish).

Be realistic (ish).  

The (ish) is an important thing, to me.  I’ve come to the conclusion that while most people can say they have a Bucket List, I have a Bucket List (ish).  

And I’ve been really fortunate to have just explored one of the things I didn’t even KNOW was on the list, which was to live in Australia for three months.  

It was awesome. Except the part where I got hurt, and couldn’t ride my bike for a month and a half even though I had planned to ride it every single day. I was super bummed and in large part, it was because I had forgotten about the “ish.” I had forgotten about reality. You see, we don’t always have everything go the way we want it to go, according to our rules and wishes, hopes and expectations. I know I was supposed to learn this when I was 2 yrs old, and retained that lesson … but I still struggle with it: We don’t always get our way.

I’m not going to lie – I had tantrums about not being able to ride. I acted like a petulant child (in my defense, part of that had to do with the fact that I WASN’T riding). I wasn’t getting to ride the singletrack I wanted to ride. I wasn’t getting onto my mountain bike because I could barely even road ride. THINGS WEREN’T GOING ACCORDING TO MY PLAN AND I WAS NOT HAPPY.  

I had forgotten about the “ish.”

Until a ride happened that hadn’t been on my radar, really. It was really tough fire road climbs in the mountains. Not my usual jam. A thunderstorm chased us for miles. At least two very large birds of prey tried to eat us, I’m pretty sure. They were probably Prehistoric Spider Birds of Doom. Australians  have some crazy shit, and I wouldn’t put Prehistoric Spider Birds of Doom past them.

Anyways, my partner and I thought we were probably going to die. We got the giggles. We had to walk a lot. I actually had to walk a lot more than she did, truth be told. It was terrible and painful and beautiful and wonderful and hilarious and  the most fun I’ve had on accident in a very very long time. We didn’t even do the ride we had planned out. But it was the perfect ride.

It was a good reminder to me that I do very well with the punctuation of “ish” in my life. It’s a thoughtful and welcome pause in the conversation of life. It  leaves room for developments and changes to happen. It’s nothing to panic about. It doesn’t mean everything is going horribly wrong. It simply allows for the possibility of … well, a different possibility. It will take some reminding from myself, from other people, and from the universe itself that “ish” is a good thing. And being outside on two wheels, the possibilities are endless. The “ish” is infinite.  

There is actually quite a lot of comfort in that. 


​Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to ​keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singlet​rack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her jerk-face but adorable cat Harlan. (Who is a jerk.)