image source: http://www.valdosta.edu/~klflesher/Four_seasons.jpg
As I get older, I have come to understand the concept of the seasons of life. Some interests or passions from earlier years seem to fade and new interests take their place. As I think of what consumed my thoughts and time 25 years ago, I am amazed that I am no longer even casually interested in those things. Those chapters of my life are closed and I move on to new motivations.
Through the 1980s, I was consumed with auto racing. My brother began drag racing and i enjoyed helping him with the car. I followed NASCAR with a passion. I went to truck and tractor pulls and monster truck competitions. I began working as a volunteer crew member on a dirt track stock car team. That led me to building, owning, and driving my own dirt track car. I then spent 10 years racing stock cars and dreaming of breaking into NASCAR as a driver.
At one point when I had put racing on hold to start up my own computer consulting business, my first crew chief moved to North Carolina and landed a job with a small NASCAR Winston Cup team. Through hard work and increasing skills, he worked his way up the career ladder. Today he has a good paying job with a major NASCAR team building race cars.
One night in 2001, around 1am driving 4 hours home from a race, I began to evaluate how much money, time, and effort I had poured into racing and what I had gotten out of it. That night in the quiet darkness of I-75, I decided I was done. When I arrived home, I hung my driving suit in the closet, sold my HANS device, helmet, and driving shoes on EBAY and never looked back. Purchasing a motorcycle and beginning to ride a good bit seemed to adequately replace the enjoyment I had when driving a race car without the endless hours each week to maintain a race car.
About 9 months after retiring from racing, I got an offer to write for a racing news website - SpeedwayMedia.com. I thought it would be a good way to keep myself connected to the sport and improve my writing skills. So I began submitting a weekly article and began to interact with readers who either strongly agreed with my opinions on racing or strongly disagreed. The emails after publication each week were quite interesting at times.
In 2007, I left Speedway to write for InsiderRacingNews.com, where I have been writing ever since. Over the years, I have enjoyed attending NASCAR races with race team guest credentials providing me access to the garage and pit road and providing good background for my weekly articles. Over the last two years, I enjoyed media credentials which provided me access to the garage, pit road, media center, and the press box. So when I was working race weekends, I had access to all of the driver press availability sessions, etc.
Needless to say, I have enjoyed the last 10 years as a racing journalist, but I could feel it coming to an end. After all of the years of wanting to either be at the track for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, or sitting in front of the TV for the live broadcasts of those three events each weekend, I suddenly felt the interest draining. Suddenly, it became a task to sit down Sunday night and write a 500 word article on the happenings of the week in racing. I finally realized, I was really done with racing, not only as a driver or crew member, but even as a writer.
So, I submitted my final article this weekend. Something about it seemed like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. New interests are calling. Another chapter has closed and another one is opening.
In July, I will begin volunteering as a small group leader with Transit, the middle school program at Browns Bridge Community Church. I am looking forward to mentoring a group of 6th grade boys and hope I can be a positive influence in their lives. This fall, Allison and I will begin serving as small group leaders for a couples small group as well. And, as I have mentioned previously on this blog, we are headed to Venezuela this Summer on a short term mission trip.
Change once was something I met with fear and trepidation. Now, I am embracing it.