Life Lessons from Gravel Roads and a Kid's Bike

posted Mar 31, 2015, 2:43 PM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Mar 31, 2015, 2:43 PM ]
I remember the day I rode a bike on my own for the first time without the assistance of an adult holding on to get me going (thanks for that, Auntie Lydia!). It was probably very similar to the bike pictured here. I was in Grade 4, it was a sunny Saturday morning in Spring - I remember a bit of snow left on the ground. I had been trying to learn for a while and for some reason on this particular morning, it clicked. I took off, unassisted (with no one around to witness my success, and no helmet or training wheels, I might add), beetled down the gravel driveway almost to the road, where I managed to fall over. I didn't have the knack for stopping yet, and I'm sure the bike was at least two sizes too big for me. I got up with gravel embedded in the palms of both hands, and it hurt like the dickens - I can still feel the sting when I think about it. I pushed the bike back to the house, ran inside, got a pair of gloves, and ran right back out to try again. In no time, I had it licked. 
 The gravel driveway where I made that first solo ride. The old farm house on the left is no longer occupied, but it's the one in which
 I grew up. The house on the right is much newer and sits about where the old corral and barn were years ago. 

The point of the story - my triumph overcame the pain. The success was hard-earned and came with bumps and bruises and many failed attempts. But I persevered. I could have given up, but I just knew I could master it. Even though my first solo ride ended with a huge 'OW moment' and skinned palms, that moment typically would have ended in tears at that age and not excitement. Instead, I wanted to keep on going, regardless of the zingers in my hands - I didn't care that they hurt and were likely bleeding a bit. I wanted to keep at it until I nailed it. The pain could be dealt with later.

Sometimes that's how it is in life. We've worked and worked on something important to us, scraping knees, skinning elbows, having the bike fall on top of us, etc., etc. But that moment when we nail it for the first time... the 
exhilaration of victory, even if it hurt to get it... there's nothing like it. I often think of the long distance marathon runners and what it must feel like to cross that finish line. The race was painful, but you work through it and drive on, having trained hard for that moment. If you fall, you get back up and keep going, skinned knees and all. Ow.

Are you working hard on a goal or a special dream right now? Had a few setbacks? Tripped and fell a couple of times? Got gravel in the palms of your hands? Get yourself a pair of gloves, knee pads and elbow pads - whatever it takes to keep moving forward - I know you can master whatever it is you're working on! Think ahead to how you're going to feel when you cross that finish line... and you WILL cross it. There might be more pain to come en route, but your moment of victory is coming, and what a beautiful moment it will be!

- Nancy Ehle is the Owner of Witness 4 Fitness, and has several fitness industry certifications, including Leslie Sansone's Walk Leader and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She is also a published author, artist and amateur photographer. Nancy grew up in rural Saskatchewan (yep, gravel roads and all) and currently resides in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

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