Being a part of the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride has been an incredible privilege, filled with many unexpected gifts.
I have lived in Florida for 17 years, but it was only when planning our routes and then actually pedaling down the road, that I discovered a treasure of scenic towns, spectacular views and parts of the state I did not know or appreciate.
Now that segments 16 and 17 of the ride have concluded, it is a pleasure to look back and consider the monumental task that was accomplished by the great many exceptional people involved in seeing this through.
The word “Awesome” describes it well in a variety of ways. I’ll admit that I was one of those among us who, at first, simply allowed those earliest Beacon bike ride emails to go right on by unnoticed.
Camaraderie, Advocacy, Health. What an apt set of objectives, though truth be told, I hadn’t fully processed their meanings before the ride.
However, staring at those words on the back of someone’s jersey while pedaling down the road stimulated a number of thoughts. Over the course of two days and part of a third, I not only thought about those words, I had the opportunity to experience them.
As a Beacon Health Options Peer Support Specialist raising a child with multiple disabilities, I never fully grasped that recovery is an inside job – until I had to recover myself.
Many Beacon locations employ peers, people with lived experience of mental illness or substance use disorder, to empower the individuals we serve to live their lives to the fullest potential. We might help them to navigate the health care system, or to define their own paths to recovery.
As a young person, whenever I saw a “coming of age” movie like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or “The Breakfast Club” or even “Footloose,” I would become angry rather than entertained.
I never knew why. I now believe it was because, as a young, closeted gay person living with a newly divorced mother, nothing could have been more inconceivable than the idea I would one day “come of age” and live my own life.
One of the main reasons I love my job is to have the privilege of being involved in all of the fun happenings at my company, Beacon Health Options. Don’t get me wrong; there is a LOT of blood, sweat and tears that go into each event, but I’m lucky to be part of it all. The Awesome Beacon Bike Ride is a perfect example.
Serendipity made me a barbecue judge in Memphis, a martial arts student in Little Rock, and a psychiatrist/epidemiologist in a conference call about the implementation of measurement-based mental health care – this in the last several weeks. This serendipity also made it clear to me what all of these activities have in common: the need to quantify quality.
I first planned to ride the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride from Woburn to Boston.
I know well the bustling roads the route would take – where a rider would have to negotiate cars, rotaries, and the obstacles found riding busy city streets. As much as I wanted to clip in and ride, I determined that supporting the riders by leading them as a safety driver was my best contribution.
Last Saturday, I, along with three coworkers, rode the 82-mile segment from Boston to Sterling, CT.
I had no choice in the matter for several reasons: My boss, Emma Stanton, spearheaded the event. To say no would have been a bad career move.
This year, as my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary, I could not help but reflect on how fortunate I am that our relationship has thrived despite both the normal stressors of life as well as the unexpected and more challenging curveballs one can’t anticipate in life.
We often naively believe that our partner relationships will always remain the same. Unfortunately, they don’t.