I recently made a wild purchase. I bought a new bicycle. I even got a bulbous white helmet with flowers, a front and back light, a lock, and a drink holder. Don’t forget the items needed to change a tire in case I get a flat. This is serious business. What led me to this purchase was I started a photography class at the community college on Tuesday and Thursday nights and my morning boxing class got canceled. Let me draw the path to the bicycle for you…since I can’t work out at night on Tuesday and Thursdays because of the class, I was going to go to boxing in the morning. Since the powers that be abruptly canceled the Tuesday/Thursday morning classes, I made the obvious decision I would become a bicyclist and start commuting the 8 miles to and from work. Hence bike purchased.
I drive in to work each morning and think “I can totally ride my bike to work” as I see how much of a downhill path it is. On my drive home from work I think, “sh&^, the path is almost completely up hill, I’ll never make it.” This conversation with myself has gone on for two weeks now. Several fears are keeping me from taking the plunge of riding to work:
I have to cross major streets and might die.(I overcame this fear recently by riding to boxing and the gym.)
- A 20 block hill exists on the ride home and people may hear me breath really heavy, I might die or fall off my bike or ride really slow up the hill and all the evening commuters will point and laugh at me.
- It’s hot outside. I might die.
- Mosquitos can’t resist flying into my mouth and if I eat too many I might die.
- I almost fell off my bike waving to a fellow bike rider this morning. I am not coordinated. I might die.
As you see, it’s very possible I might die. However, although I’m not a numbers person, my guess is my chances of dying from any of these reasons are less likely than from dying in a car accident. You know what the difference is? If I die in a car accident, I will be pretty comfortable up until that point, music jamming, cool air conditioning blowing my hair around, sitting on a seat that is actually bigger than my butt rather than a hard plastic seat that is kind of wedged into my butt, graciously allowing me to feel every bump I hit.
What’s my point? Well, recently after telling someone I bought a bike, they told me I was going through a mid-life crisis. Let’s reflect on this for a moment. If I was going through a mid-life crisis, wouldn’t I have bought a red sporty convertible and not a practical hybrid bike that I can ride on pavement or off-road? And the only reason I bought a helmet with flowers on it was because my oldest chicken liked it best and the big orange one made my head 5 times bigger than it is (unacceptable because my head isn’t that small in the first place).
After some strong pondering, I’ve decided I don’t believe in the mid-life crisis (I would make this plural, but can’t remember the plural of crisis and I’m too lazy to look it up). I do think we all reach moments in our life where we have time to reflect a little on whether we have gotten too comfortable. Have I avoided pursuing things because they are too hard, uncomfy, might make me sweat and breath heavy (in a bad way, people…you know who you are…get your minds out of the gutter), or could potentially get me killed. Worse yet, I might FAIL.
So please be assured, my dear, sweet friends, I have come to the conclusion that I am not having a mid-life crisis. First, that would mean I’m making a big assumption that I will live to be 50 (okay, so I’m not 25 but whatever). Second, define “mid-life”? As I have clearly pointed out, I could die tomorrow after choking on a mouthful of mosquitoes.
What I am doing is kicking myself in the ass and doing things I have avoided because of all the reasons I’ve listed. If I feel that anxiety creeping up, or my stomach is in knots thinking about it, well, guess what? It’s happening. Because I know that anxiety and those knots are actually telling me I am on the right path.
So my “
mid-life crisis” has caused me to do the following: brought music back into my life, started reading books about black history so I can better understand the history of my husband and my bi-racial children, became a photography major learning how to use my camera and getting back into my art which I have missed so much, stopped worrying about my job because I love the people I work with, usually laugh on a daily basis, and I make enough money to support my family, started riding a bike for the first time in 20 years (crossing major streets before sunrise), started writing again, organized a group boxing event, and planned a trip to California with friends to see the giant trees and the Pacific Ocean (for the first time).
Hmmm…isn’t it funny how a little reflection and maybe even a little misdirection can lead you to so many great things? Believe me, I don’t have it all figured out. Yesterday I was flying high (not literally or sort of but only on caffeine I swear) on my drive home from photography class. This morning I was so grouchy I just wanted to stay in bed. It happens. And maybe one of these days the alarm will go off at 4AM and instead of riding my bike to boxing I will stay in bed. But today, grouchy or not, I got my ass up, stumbled into my clothes, put that bulbous helmet on my head, and felt the cool breeze on my face as I crossed that giant rode to the boxing club. I passed by Starbucks before it was even open. I sat on the curb waiting for people to show up, listening to the birds chirping and the occasional rushing sound of a car passing by. Was then greeted by friends, fueled with jokes for me. You get the picture, right?
If this is my “
mid-life crisis“, then I am in LUST with it. I am grateful for the people that have pushed me to do all these things, and not accepted my excuses as to why I can’t do them. I also love that my little chickens are proud of me. As they grow into themselves, I owe it to them to do the same. I refuse to get comfortable. If my hands are shaky and I am sweating, I won’t back down. I AM WOMAN. HEAR ME ROAR! (Umm…okay, I may have overshot that slightly).
In summation, I will leave you with this. I have these moments lately where I can feel the happiness sort of sizzling on my skin, and each time I try something knew, those moments last longer and longer. So if you take anything away from this, find that thing that you are avoiding and take a baby step towards it. Just one step. Because I promise you, you’ll get addicted and you’ll end up taking more steps and you will feel those happy moments stretching over more than just minutes. You start refocusing your energy on these positive things and any sadness you might have been feeling starts getting transferred to these new, exciting things that you are pursuing. Then you can bask in the feeling that you accomplished something, and it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t comfortable. You cynics out there are probably shaking your head at me, thinking you’ve lost another great cynic to the darkness of the positive side. Don’t worry, the cynic is still in me and I fight him everyday (not sure why my inner cynic is a dude, seems to fit though). But my best days are when he doesn’t win.