We all need something in our lives that makes us feel like a superhero. For me, nothing does it like riding my bike. I’ve been riding since 1996 and there have been periods when my bikes sat in the corner and collected a little dust. Life throws us curve balls causing us to rethink our priorities and sometimes something we love gets put aside. The longer we leave it the further it falls into our periphery, until one day we say, “Oh yeah, I used to do that”. Then we become flooded with regret and ask ourselves how did we get so far from our joy?
In 2009-2010 I found myself in the surreal experience of racing at Masters National Championships. In those 2 seasons, I won the National title for the match sprints and brought home 1 Gold, 2 Silver, and 3 Bronze medals. It had been 7 years since I last raced competitively. For the little girl who wanted to be a ballerina, whose thighs were twice the size they ‘should’ be, to actually step up to the top of the podium, gold in hand, confirmed that these thighs that had plagued my sense of worth had a value and a purpose. Feeling the weight of the gold medal in my hands dissolved the weight of self-doubt.
I was literally built for something. Then 7 years went by and for at least several reasons, my bike sat in the corner. But this past spring, those several things were no longer at play. I was at a dinner with friends when an old racing buddy messaged me asking if I was coming back to race during the upcoming season. You truly never know what impact your actions may have on others. With that text message, I launched! The very next week I was at the track. The volition of my joy was more powerful than my fear – fear of not performing well, fear of the effects of age on my athletic abilities, fear of how much younger everyone else was, and fear of forgetting how everything worked.
Each week I felt myself bloom a little bigger. Each race I realized the worth of my years of experience and when it became a reality to be able to go to Nationals again and approach the starting line next to Masters World Champions and World Record holders, I actually believed I belonged there; that is where the race actually happens. It is in the words that create the thoughts you hear in your head. So I ask you, what thing that you love is collecting dust in the corner? What are you afraid of? Is there a ride you haven’t taken because of its intensity or length? Take the risk and jump in. There is no reason not to. What if you can? Wouldn’t you want to know what you’re capable of? Jump on your joy. Surprise yourself. Make yourself proud. I AM I CAN I WILL I DO!