I first learned to ride a bike when I was about six years old, and it wasn’t easy. My father had bought me a blue Schwinn from the neighborhood bike store, and told me to ride it home while he jogged along beside me, keeping a firm grip on the back of the seat. “Lean!” he kept telling me, “just lean!” And I did….first to the left and then to the right, and I would have toppled right over he’d let go. It never occurred to me that he meant I was supposed to lean forward, and apparently, it never occurred to him to clarify. Eventually we made it the six blocks back to our house, both of us tired and frustrated. But I finally did get the hang of riding a two-wheeler without training wheels, and all these years later, I still enjoy the occasional bike ride. It’s true what they say about riding a bike: once you learn how, you never really forget it.
I suppose that’s true about most of what we learn in life, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. I love volunteering at my local animal shelter, and have been going down there at least twice a week for years. But when I go on vacation for a week or two, I’m often hesitant to go back, as if I doubt my ability to handle the shelter dogs. Once I actually do it, I’m just fine. But still, that hesitation is always there.
It’s the same with writing my blog posts. When I keep to my schedule, I have very little problem writing my weekly posts. But if I take a break from blogging, writing that first post afterwards is always difficult. Sometimes it seems that the longer I stay away from something, the harder it is to go back to it. Even when it’s something that I really love to do.
I’m guessing this is why I’m feeling a little bit cranky and lost these days, because the past year has meant giving up a lot of the things I normally do and enjoy. Of course Covid has played a big part in that, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to have finally received my second vaccine. But it’s been a rough year for our family in many ways that have nothing to do with Covid. The worst is finally behind us, but I find myself struggling to believe that could possibly be true. It’s as if I’ve been trained to expect the worst and believe that feeling anything other than fear and dread is somehow not being realistic. But living in fear and dread is not who I am, and it’s certainly not who I want to be.
So I believe that it’s way past time for me to “get back in the saddle” and get back to the business of living my life, as fully and as normally as I possibly can. It took me a while to learn to ride that bike, all those years ago, and I fell off of it more than once. But I always picked myself up, wiped off my bloody knees, and got right back on. And it wasn’t long before I was leaning forward, pedaling hard, and loving the ride…..