A First Time for Everything: Quitting
In December of 2010 I decided to quit everything.
Well, I decided to quit a few things, but they were all really huge in my life.
First, I left seminary. Then, I got out of a long relationship. Two months later, I quit my three-year long job (yes, forfeiting my stock options).
I’ll let you read about it here.
In short, though, I needed a change. Our souls often crave freedom, and just as often, we bog them down with expectations, mortgages, and superfluous commitments.
I saw this happening in my life and I had pull the plug before I nearly strangled myself with it.
Here’s a post about the day I learned to ride a bicycle, and subsequently about the day I decided to get serious about riding my bike from LA to Portland. Enjoy!
[Originally published at http://writeabike.com/ on January 31, 2011]
I remember the day I learned to ride a bicycle. I was seven years-old. Six days prior to this momentous event my parents surprised my brothers and me with brand new bicycles for Christmas. To this day I cannot remember the brand of my bike, but my suspicion is that it was a Huffy (every kid I knew either had one or talked about one they wanted from Toys R Us). It was dark purple, with typical late-80′s black paint splattering like this all over it. It was perfect, in fact it was so perfect that I set it up in my room, kick-stand fully extended and front wheel slightly tilted for style. It shone like a diamond among piles of dirty clothes and scattered books. This was the reason it took me six days to learn to ride it. I was so entranced by its shiny finish, its metallic chain-guard, and its clean mechanics that I decided I would not dare try to ride it, not for at least two or three years.
A few days later, amidst the post-Christmas humdrum of decoration tear-down my parents grew concerned. Subtle hints would not suffice. I was too fixated and too worried about ruination that I simply tuned them out. Finally my dad ordered me to go ride it. I was more than hesitant and it must have taken me twenty minutes to step away from my Cheerios, trudge down the hall, and finally wheel the bike out into the front yard.
I showed my age by deserting my commitment to retaining the beauty of the bike in a matter of minutes. I was quick to the saddle and before long I was pedaling along without the guidance of my jogging dad next to me. It was bliss. I rode back and forth for close to an hour, memorizing all of the cracks in the sidewalk and over-grown blades of grass shooting out from our lawn. When I started getting really confident I rode along the edge of the lawn and pretended to cut the edges with my unscathed tires.
My mom took pictures and I pretended to not notice, mostly because I had decided I was a motorcyclist, and everybody knew that motorcyclists were the coolest kinds of people. I was hunched forward (for aerodynamics of course) and focussed on the concrete about eight feet in front of me. When I decided that the bike needed a rest I walked it toward my garage and my mom asked me what it was like learning to ride my first bike.
“The sidewalk is more slippery than the grass,” I replied, matter-of-factly. I was an expert you see. Years later I learned that my mom wrote this observation down and then attached it to the picture she took. I have since revisited this picture a few times and have had some good laughs.
At times, usually when I am tempted to give up on something, I remember this picture. I remember my aerodynamics and my acid-washed jeans and I think on how nothing in my life mattered to me more than riding that bicycle. The wind through my hair was confirmation that I was succeeding, beating the odds. I have since grown, learned a few things, and seen some of the most beautiful nooks this world has to offer. But all things have an origin somewhere. Wisdom is born out of new beginnings.
Bicycle culture, different people, foreign places, diverse food, inspiring conversations–these are my subjects, and my object is simply to observe and report. More explanation of my intent is coming, and I will blog about it and post it under my About tab. For now, bear with my lack of coding knowledge and poor grasp on visual aesthetics take a trip with me. Let’s tour life!