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Like riding a bike

Posted by

Andrew Raynor

I pulled up in my driveway yesterday after a longer-than-usual commute home from the day J.O.B. (Did you know Michigan has two seasons? Winter and construction? It’s a real thing!), half listening to the conversation I was having on the phone, half thinking that I need to get my driveway re-concreted, half thinking about the terrible workout I was going to endure that evening, half thinking about the busy week ahead.  Sure, that’s more than a whole – I think a lot. 😉

Does anyone else pull up in your driveway, grab your phone, and continue to check social media, answer texts, take a selfie, or continue to talk on your phone if that is what you were doing, spending way more time in the car seat than necessary given the fact that you are already at home?wp-1462298999113.jpg

Anyone?

I am guilty of this – often.

Maybe not even so much “guilty” as really, it doesn’t impact anyone except maybe my neighbors think I am odd, seemingly talking to myself as I sit in the car. But in my defense, my Bluetooth sometimes acts funny and I lose the call when I get out of my car..

But, back to the story.

So while I am sitting there in my car talking to a friend of mine on the phone, gossiping about the latest updates in my lack of love life, swapping gym stories and workout plans, and having deep philosophical discussions about finding balance between keeping yourself happy and being carefree, I glanced in my rearview window just moments before a small child fell off of his bike.

While trying to pay attention the phone conversation I was having, I watched a dad, maybe in his mid 20s, walking closely behind this boy, maybe 3-4 years old. The little black boy, matching outfits with his dad with baggy pants and a hoodie probably a couple of sizes too big, started to make his way across the driveway directly across the street from where I was spectating. As we have all been there before, what happened next was not too surprising, but almost seemed as if a gust of wind came blowing by and knocked this little kid over.

I was trying to focus on my phone conversation, but my eyes were glued to the rearview mirror, watching this unfold in a matter of seconds.

My first time attempting to ride a”two-wheeler” was the week before I started kindergarten, let’s say some twenty-something years ago. I was going to be a “big girl” starting kindergarten so it was time to have a “big girl” bike. My dad had taken the training wheels off of my pink and white Huffy, with the plastic pink and purple streamers hanging from the handlebars, a matching pink basket in between them with an over-sized flower in front, and the thingies that you put on the spokes that made those really cool whirring sounds as you pedaled faster.

As any child probably tells their parent over and over, I fearfully shouted to my dad, “Don’t let go..!”

And as every parent does, he let go.

I had a quick euphoric moment after I realized my dad had let go and I was on my own, squealing with excitement for maybe a whole 3 seconds until I proceeded to tip the bike over and fall into a rose bush, skinning my knees, busting my lip open, crying my heart out, and vowing never to get on a bicycle ever again.

But back to this kid, having fallen onto the sidewalk and not into a rosebush, he stood right back up. He looked at his dad, brushed off his knees as his dad lifted the bike up into an upright position. I couldn’t hear the dialogue between this little boy and his father, but then I saw the boy stand back up tall and brave, smile, then jump up and high-five his dad before getting right back on the bike.

While it may have taken me a few more weeks until I was comfortable asking my dad once again to take the training wheels off, there was no question that it was the end goal, and it was going to happen. Not a matter of if but a matter of when. Think back to when you were a kid and went through this same experience. We all wanted to learn to ride a bike on our own, and many of us can probably remember the day when our parents took the training wheels off. The day when we decided that we needed to take the next step and do the thing that was probably the scariest thing in the eyes of a 5 year old.

But despite us all falling at some point, we got right back up. Maybe not the same day, but the next time, we faced the bike again. And we did it again. And again. And again. Until we didn’t fall.

We stood up, had our mind set on the end of goal of being able to ride with our friends without the hindrance of training wheels, to ride free from the shame of being the only one who still had them on our bikes, or to finally be able to be a “big kid.”

We let fear stand in the way for a hot minute, then we got back on the bike.

And what do we do today?

We have a fear and we let that fear get the best of us.

We fall off our bike, and we say, “Well, guess I’m not supposed to be riding a bike.”

We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, or that we don’t deserve things that we have been aiming for. We let the thoughts of others dictate what we think we should or shouldn’t do. We are scared of change, scared of failure, or maybe we are scared of success!

As kids, we don’t ever think falling is failure; it is only a matter of time to when we will be able to ride our bike, not IF, but WHEN.

Think of something that you want to achieve, but it’s so big and so scary that you write it off as something that just won’t ever happen.

Have you considered doing what needs to be done to achieve that goal?

Or are you sitting back, thinking that because you failed at it once or because something got in the way, to give up?

I challenge you today to do something that scares you, and when you fail, as many of us will inevitably will the first time we do something, stand up tall, give yourself a mental high-five, and get right back on the bike.

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Andrew Raynor

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