Surviving Survivor’s Syndrome (six years later)

May 31, 2016 By Tom

my goal with this blog has always been to not only talk about the good stuff in life, but real life, and as we all know–real life isn’t always perfect and happy and what most people post in Instagram. This post is a little bit more serious than usual, because, this week marks 6 years since The Crash—and I’m allowed to be a bit more serious when needed.


the Pagoda is an oddly peaceful place to reflect during the Indy 500

It’s always a little bit of envy that I feel as I sit watching the IndyCar’s fly around IMS, a little bit of jealously of my friends that are in those cockpits. The reality that in that setting, I’m a spectator standing motionless as they push the boundaries of mechanical grip.

I’ve written about it before (most in depth here), the struggle I have had with missing racing bikes at a competitive level and finding something that is as remotely good of an adrenaline rush to satisfy that craving.

Sprinkle in a bit of survivor’s syndrome: the mixed feelings of invincibility and a bit of guilt that I’m still here standing when Jim isn’t, when Denver isn’t—and it can be the perfect storm.

The good–survivor’s syndrome is a huge reason why Nine13 has found its footing. A combination of brute force, desperation, and a feeling that no matter what, I could make it happen stems directly from a bit of that invincible attitude that still lurks in my mind. I don’t think I would have had the courage or stubbornness to weather the last four years if it wasn’t for The Crash. I know that if I was still married, I would have wound down Nine13 three years ago. I realize that if I was still with co-founders, Nine13 would have been dread in the water. I know that my drive has stemmed from a combo of “damn the man!” and “I’ll show you.”

The bad–at the same time, I can’t put a bright light on those feelings of invincibility. From things like driving way too fast (there’s a reason I sold my motorcycle), sidestepping safety logistics, shrugging my shoulders and saying “eh, what’s the worst that could happen?”, partying too hard, some questionable choices in dating and relationships—-there’s been a lot of things I wish I could have do-over’s on. Fortunately, I’m still here and standing, and I do have an appreciation for knowing that I’ll make it out of my 20’s in one piece.

I think it took the six years of space between the Crash and now to fully understand the role I have within this community and the responsibility that comes with it.

My biggest goal this summer as I inch towards that September birthday is to slow it all down a bit. I’ve been moving a mile a minute for months now and I know I need to decompress a little bit. Now that the weather has finally turned, I’m excited to get back out on the bike and have some fun. Excited to do some hiking and exploring of the parks around Indy. I know I’m fortunate to be here today, and it’s important to lay the groundwork to have as productive a decade in my 30’s as I have had in my 20’s…just hopefully with a lot more highs than lows.

What have your experiences been directly or indirectly with survivor’s syndrome or guilt? I would love to hear it–shoot me an email at if you want to share.