As I write each day, it feels like I’m shedding layers and adding new ones as I hear feedback on what I am writing. There is a constant tug and pull we feel from external forces and our inner thoughts, each telling us to go in different directions. It’s a challenge to balance it all and make sure everyone is happy, which is obviously impossible to achieve.
A few weeks back, I decided to buy a bicycle, finally. It was something I had been looking into for months as I looked ahead to some traveling later in the year, but with COVID, it seemed like something that would have to wait. With a little inspiration, I finally went to the shop and picked out the bike for me. The UK has a cycle to work scheme so employers can partly pay for bikes you buy to commute to work. The process requires some time between when you pick your bike and when you can pick it up.
During this time, I did my research and tried to remember what it was like to ride a bike. I can’t remember the last time I was on a bike, to be honest, and the thought of hopping on one now gave me some anxiety.
It took me almost a day between when the shop told me I could pick it up and when I actually mustered the courage to pick it up. I looked up the best route to make it home during the busy London day, trying to avoid turning, multi-lane streets, or busy intersections, all of which were impossible to avoid.
Once I got to the shop, the staff were terrific and helped me get situated before setting off with my new wheels. Outside the shop, I rode around in an open area to get a feel for the bike before hitting the road. It made me realize that you never forget how to ride a bike, and you also never forget the feeling of hitting the pavement. I felt the anxiety building, so I just pushed on before it was crippling.
I got to the intersection in front of the shop and barely made it through the intersection; the light was too fast and didn’t align to my skill level. Luckily, the drivers saw my distress and waited for me to clear the road. Yay for London hospitality! I don’t think this would have happened in such a welcoming way outside of COVID times, but I was very appreciative. After a couple of miles with many bumps, near misses with moving vehicles, and at least a dozen new grey hairs, I safely made it home.
The moral of the story is to not let feelings from the past impact the possibility of the present or future. What was once difficult to imagine can be achieved with a little inspiration and optimism. Focus on where you want to be and always remember that goal as you make decisions, because it is easy to be distracted along the way, and it takes dedication and support to achieve was once felt impossible.