For me, riding my bicycle is a lot like writing. It seems like I get myself into these kinds of activities with some regularity. Specifically, activities that, on the surface, look like they are easy, enjoyable, rewarding, exciting and energizing.
There is a certain romanticism around writing. Ask anyone and they will probably tell you that at one time or another they thought they should write something. It has a unique allure. Most of us know how to write, so it seems like it should be a simple task.
Riding a bicycle is similar. Ask anyone if they would enjoy riding a bike in some beautiful place and most will agree. Many will say that they have, at one time or another, thought that going on a trip by bicycle would be fun as well. Bicycling is popular and many people know how to ride a bike.
It’s when either of these things becomes a discipline that they begin to look and feel different. Committing to write once a week on this blog was no small thing for me. I have tried in the past. It takes a level of dedication that I didn’t consider when I created this space over a year ago. I bought a road bike in 2013. I had every intention to take it on a 100 mile ride that year. I have yet to ride the bike farther than 64 miles in one ride.
I like to write. I like to ride my bike. Last year, when I decided to transition these activities from interesting pass-time to something a bit more serious, they took on a new level of difficulty and I pushed myself. Not being able to reach my goals was not ok. Everyone can write, but not everyone has the stamina to write a novel. People all over ride their bikes, but most of them would not venture to ride 100 miles in a go. When I started, I went at it with a fury. I ended up burning myself out and feeling like I had failed. Somewhere along the way I convinced myself that since I didn’t reach my goal in just a few weeks, I never would. I ignored the blog and I wanted to sell the bike.
Just a few months ago, Feeling frustrated and defeated, I started to think, instead of writing amazing stuff every day, why not commit to write something weekly? Why not go ahead and ride a 100 mile “century” ride this year but don’t worry about maintaining an 18 mile per hour pace. The common theme was, instead of trying to be superhuman, I needed to do what I could do and see where that would take me. I needed to go at my pace, rather than someone else’s
I think everything in life is like that. We can do anything we set our minds to, but in getting to the end result we want, we need to be able to stop, regroup and recharge occasionally. I give myself a whole week to write one post. If I attend to it several times during the week, the writing is easy (well, easier).
When I’m riding the bike I have learned that it’s better to think about the end result than to think about the time it takes. I’ll not be doing 100 miles this year if I have to do it in under 5 hours. Instead, I have to give myself the whole day and permission to go at a pace I can sustain. I can do 100 miles in a day, of this I am certain. I can also write one blog post each week. I need to allow myself to take a breather now and then in order to reach my intended results. When I give myself permission to go at my pace, the activities once again become enjoyable, rewarding, exciting and energizing
Do you ever feel like you push yourself too hard? Can you see a way to give yourself a breather? What would that look like for you?