This post is part of the ‘inspirational stories for women’ and ‘stories that heal’ series. In ‘Joy Ride,’ my bike provides the wheels, but my story is my ride.
I just went out for a ride with my husband and young son. While we moseyed along I got to thinking about why I love being on my bike so much.
I got my first bike when I moved to a NJ suburb when I was 12. It was a big change from my previous urban existence. I was exhilarated by my first taste of small town life. Incredibly, you would bump into people you knew when you went ‘downtown’ – what a switch from anonymous NYC and my precocious 11-year-old lifestyle filled with date books and weeks-in-advance plans.
I was over the moon. So smitten was I with the ‘country-living’ aspects of the place that when I switched to the local high school and made a few friends, I convinced them – more than once! – to meet me in the park before school for cookout breakfasts in the snow; bless their hearts, they were game. What fun!
Best of all, my bike liberated me in ways this city gal never imagined possible. I had wheels – I, who had commuted to school since first grade! Every morning I would roll towards school and pick up my friends at houses along the way. When we formed our little pack we would act all silly and sing “Leader of the Pack,” hunch over our handlebars and make motorcycle vroom-vroom noises. Oh – we were scary, alright!
Today, as my son complained that it was too hard to ride, I realized that he needs a better story to tell himself, a tale of derring-do to propel him on his way. I am going to do my best to make sure he has many such stories.
Was today the “worst day ever,” as my son declared (cut him some slack – five year olds are prone to exaggeration!), or a day to remember? Is life scary and dangerous or exciting and adventurous?
Tell yourself the right stories, the ones that make you smile. Your imagination can zap you and sap you, or goose you and juice you.
Today as I rode, I realized those high school days are with me whenever I get on a bike. I want to pedal fast and feel the wind in my hair. I feel powerful and strong. I can’t stop smiling.
I have to laugh. After all, I am old enough to buy myself a motorcycle – I no longer need to pretend my bike is a motorcycle!
But do I really want a motorcycle? Heck no! I just want to pretend I am riding a motorcycle while I’m on my bike! Well, not exactly. I want to borrow the power, joy and freedom of my teenage idea of a motorcycle while I pedal my bike through the park. I want the joy of the story, not only the thing itself, and that is exactly what I have every time I get on a bike.
Do you have a story you tell yourself that makes a difference in your experience? Have you ever changed your story mid-course and seen how it affects your reality?
Reba Linker is author and coach specializing in inspirational books for women. Her book, Follow the Yarn, leads by example, daring and encouraging others to ‘follow their own yarn,’ tell their own stories, and discover their own true voice.