It’s actually pretty corny … but every time I get on a bike by myself, I find myself stumbling on some new, healthy perspective. These things click usually as I’m climbing a hill and have to dig deep into my will to get through the push.
Recent deep thoughts:
» There is nothing for me to overcome. I rode past a young, chubby girl one day and remembered my own young, chubby self. I was on the verge of thinking something like “look how far I’ve come,” or “push harder for her! For your old self!” But almost immediately I realized it didn’t ring true … because I have nothing to overcome; I have nothing in my past that’s wrong or bad.
My young, chubby self was a moment in time. The moment is passed. I used to prefer sitting all day (and still sometimes do), but that lifestyle is no longer my lifestyle. My present and future are not executed in an effort to undo past moments. They are executed to move forward.
What a weight to be lifted! What a burden to unbind.
» I can climb the mountain if I accept what gear I need to make it up. And it was this day that I let go of the judgments I’d made of my strength: I’d had it in my head that if I could make a climb in a slightly higher gear, it meant I was strong; that if I needed to cut down to the easiest gear, I should be embarrassed.
Terribly wrong. Gears are there to help you do what you can do. So I shifted to my easiest gear in that moment and made a solo climb that felt endless and painful. But I was determined, and I made it to the top of my climb.
I haven’t been ashamed to shift to my easiest gear since, and in fact I find myself adjusting my gears throughout a ride more often. My energy feels more steady from start to finish (and on a recent 20-mile loop I even decided I should add five miles, seeing as I was still feeling so durn good).
» I don’t have to make it, I just have to try. This, on my most recent solo ride, during which I came up to one of the steepest hills I’ve faced. It wasn’t long, but I had no preceding downhill-sprint to give me a boost. It was just gonna be me, climbing.
I saw it coming for a while, and I kept repeating that I didn’t have to make it, I just had to try. Over and over. And then I stood up to start the climb, repeating it. And I cursed and repeated it. And I criss-crossed the climb (to cut down the effect of the incline) and repeated it. And I felt like I was going to fall off my bike and I kept repeating it. And I was at the top. I’d made it.
I had nothing but (less-steep) climb ahead of me once I made it up the initial incline. I had to turn around after a half-mile. But I made it so much further than if I hadn’t tried.
None of these is an original thought. But hell if in finally owning each thought did I not feel some measure of release.
I let go of the negative.
I let go of self-judgment.
I let go of caring if I failed an attempt.
I took up the moment.
I took up the acceptance of what I can do and the choice to celebrate it.
I took up the notion that to try is to succeed.