“Celebrate any progress. Don’t wait to get perfect.” – Ann McGee Cooper
After taking the summer off I recently returned to my part time job 3-4 days per week. Last year throughout fall/winter/spring I took the bus and it was… fine. I have nothing against public transit only a preference for outdoor spaces (except when extremely hot/cold). Someone suggested riding a bike to work. I laughed at the idea. My bike had been tucked away in the garage collecting dust for years. The more I thought on it, however the more it became an option.
On a warm day about a month ago I decided to take the first bike ride I had been on in years. I pulled it from the garage and literally had to dust it off, no joke. Hopping on I went for a short spin in the park. The old saying is true, “one never forgets how to ride a bike”. I may have kept my balance, but the muscles are a little slower to remember these days. Later that evening aching muscles had me limping around the house and screaming for aspirins.
The next morning I could barely move without wincing in pain. This is not for me, I thought, I can’t do it. There is no way I can ride 10K round trip 3-4 times per week. However, I did that small tour of the park and congratulated myself for the effort.
When it came time to head off to work I pulled the bus pass from my wallet on the way out the door. I stopped in front of the garage. My butt muscles were still sore and it is too hot to ride I argued. Tucking the pass back in the wallet I opened the garage door and pulled out the bike.
I jumped up on with more exuberance than I felt, cursing as my sore butt hit the hard leather seat. There was nothing graceful about this ride. I chugged along the streets and through the park toward work. According to the GPS ETA was 15 minutes by bike. After getting off several times to walk up steep hills, and stop at traffic lights, I arrived in 30 minutes. I parked the bike at the side of the house and became aware of only one thing. My aching leg muscles. It’s just too hard! My mind screamed
The end of the work day arrived and I stood facing the bike. I can call for a drive or take the bus home, I reminded myself. Instead of taking my phone out I swung my leg over the side of the bike and hopped on. The trip took another 30 minutes to get home. I parked the bike in the garage and swore never to ride the thing again. I am too old for this!
That was 3 weeks ago and after a few more nights of sore muscles and a bit of bike tweaking to make it more comfortable I now ride back and forth to work every day. This means I am riding 30-40 K per week. I look forward to the trips now. It is an enjoyable part of my day. My energy level has increased and I feel good about myself for sticking with it.
I find writing much like riding a bike. We learn it, write a few stories, put it away for awhile, maybe then come back to it again. All the time wondering, can I do this? Sometimes we quit out of fear of failure. This might happen many times over. The reality is: it is only in the continued action of writing that small successes can lead to bigger and bigger ones.
I congratulate myself for hopping on that bike and for writing this latest blog post.
You are your own biggest fan. What successes should you be congratulated for today?