Tuesday, May 11, 2021

When Everything Seems Off

 On the mt. bike yesterday, things were just off. I knew from the the first downhill that it was not going to be a stellar ride. The back tire was bouncing around too much; the edge of the track was too close; the turns were jaggy. It was a tough trail, but one I had ridden plenty of times with no issues.

The bridge jumped out of nowhere and I had to stop to make the turn. The low rock wall sprouted new rocks and caught the front tire. The steep, but short, hill turned to scree under the back tire.

My legs were like rubber; my reflexes two seconds slower; my balance was wobbly.

At every "screw up" or missed feature, I was faced with the choice of beating myself up, finding the quickest way back to a paved road, and giving up. There was the voice in my head saying "you're too old for this" "you were never good enough to do this trail" "you're not going to get any better" "hang it up and stick to the safe stuff".

It is easy for me to fall pray to that voice and then the other voice that says "you are not only physically weak you are psychically week" gets its chance to play.

The hard choice is to look the bad ride in the face and make the best of it. Acknowledge the difficulties, make an honest assessment of what could have contributed to the difficulties, and if nothing fits just accepting that we all have bad days. One bad day is not a sign of decline or failure; it is a bad day.

That was the choice I made yesterday. I kept on going. I accepted the missed features, the slipping back tire, the occasional abrupt stop.

There were stretches that were better than others and even the bad parts were better than sitting in my jammies at home trudging through another day of monitoring a bunch of robots process words so the rich can get richer.

This is the lesson I try to impart to the child when she gets mad because she "lost" a skill or spends too much energy comparing herself to kids who have more skills.

We all have off days. At 10 you rarely "lose" a skill (at 50 you might). With practice you can get the skills. If you love doing something , do it.

Do your best not to listen to the voice that puts you down and if you forgive yourself and get back up.

Life is rarely easy. The only way to make it enjoyable is to keep on doing the things that bring joy into the world - particularly on days when it is all a struggle.

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