When I think back, I am amazed at how far I’ve come since I started my journey into a healthy and fit well-being and lifestyle.
And then there was cycling.
I use to obsessively lay everything out the evening before so my mornings are as efficient as possible. I use to obsessively check the weather before a ride/ commute to work and would contemplate whether to ride if it was cold and wet. When I knew I would be working late, I would contemplate whether to ride my bike to work that day so I didn’t have to ride home in the dark… or omigosh, what if I was just too tired to get home?! Then I would think about how miserably cold those first few minutes of a ride are on those evening rides. And what about flying downhill on that super busy hill with cars turning in and out of intersections during rush hour so I can reach the safety of my bike path? What if! What if! What if!!
OVER-THINKING is a serious problem running rampant in our society.
Over-analyzing, worrying about a future event that may or may not happen… it’s an endless loop you need to pull yourself out of unless you want to run circles inside the chaos of your mind. How dreadfully boring is that.
I always knew how wonderfully refreshing riding in the rain feels (and how I love wearing my obnoxiously bright pink Sugoi rain jacket). I know the piercing cold dissipates after a few minutes on the bike (mainly because I’m distracted by traffic or the lactic acid building up in my not-warmed-up legs from a false flat). I know riding at night is completely safe because I have good quality lights and my route home is mostly lit— plus the roads are much emptier and so peaceful. I know how to dress for any weather. I know I have lots of experience on the road. I knew all this subconsciously but the mindset never really stuck.
I bumped into a colleague in the hall one day and I was complaining about the shitty weather we’ve been having and he said to me, “don’t think, just ride.” He advised to not even check the weather the night before, get on my bike in the morning, rain or shine, and get my ass to work, which is what he does every day. He’s a true all-season cyclist! I was always aware of my issue of over-thinking but nothing changed until that encounter, which for some reason totally clicked and turned my mindset around.
These days when I wake up, I glance out the window to check the weather so I can dress appropriately, grab my bike and ride my ass to work without a second thought. Same for my weekends rides. I no longer do anything the night before to “prepare” and my pre-ride routine (and life in general) is much more relaxed and stress free.
I learned to live in the present moment …not the past nor the future.
Around the time this began happening, I found myself becoming free of other things such as past cycling fears and conventions/insights on society, relationships and life in general, that I use to have …that has completely evolved, turning me into a much more open-minded person (which is a topic for another blog entry). I already saw evidence in this when I began my journey into fitness because habits I’ve developed changed many aspects of my physical and mental life for the better.
Isn’t it funny how one small change in mindset cascades into different parts of your life, making it so much more fulfilled?
As corny as it sounds, I have these moments where I simply feel free, when I remember what a contrast my perspective use to be. I seriously do not over-think over certain aspects of my life anymore and it is incredibly phenomenal and uplifting to realize that I’m suddenly free from those futile thoughts! There are still other aspects of life where I tend to over-think but this taste of freedom gives me encouragement and as time goes by, I know I will continue to psychologically evolve.
Of course, there are days when I still don’t ride because I want to wear a new outfit, break in a new pair of shoes, have my hair did or I’m just feeling lazy… but I never feel guilty because I always make it up somehow. Just like not carrying any guilt over eating a giant porterhouse steak and a poutine in one sitting like I did the other night. After all, isn’t that why we ride?