Like Riding a Bike.


Remember learning to ride a bike? My memories of it aren’t that clear. A small blue bike. The uneven, grassy front lawn. My parents pushing me around. I don’t really remember all the specifics, although my dad tells me I had some trouble, but I know what I did just about every nice day growing up.

I rode that bike.

My sister and I recently pulled our bikes out and cruised our circle driveway. You know the saying, “It’s like riding a bike”? Meaning, it’s something you’ll never forget. That may be true, but I kid you not, I actually ran off the road trying to turn. My sister kept almost running into a brick landscape wall. Steering wasn’t quite as we remembered it. Our butts weren’t used to being in such uncomfortable seats.

We started talking about all the things we used to do when we rode our bikes. There is a hill in our backyard. Not crazily steep, but a long hill nonetheless. We used to start at the top and just coast down, gaining momentum and flying by the end of stretch.

One day, Lauren wrecked. It was a traumatic experience, apparently. She had scars for years. We were recapping the day and she said, “There is no way I would ever do that now. Ride down a bumpy hill of grass? What was I thinking?”

I laughed, but it made me stop and think of how sad it is.

You’d think that being older and bigger, the hill would look less daunting (because it really isn’t bad at all). You’d think our perspective would have changed with age. We would see that hill as tiny now, something that could be easily overcome.

But that wasn’t the case at all. She wouldn’t even consider doing the silly things we did as kids.

Somewhere along the way, we lost our child-like wonder. We stopped taking risks and not worrying about what could go wrong or what could get hurt. We stopped thrill-seeking and trailblazing and have become content to just sit and scoff at the hills to be climbed and the paths to be ridden.

We must drink deeply from our imagination once again. Sure, we draw the line between childish and stupid, but above all, we must keep hope and faith alive. Children believe the impossible and dream endlessly because their world has no bounds. They want to be mermaids and superheroes. Let them.

As we were talking about the infamous wreck, I asked my sister if she totaled her bike that day. My dad piped in and said, “No, but that bike was never the same after that.”

Let's blow the lids and the rules off of this neat and tidy life. Let’s dream wildly. Let’s imagine what the world says is impossible. Let’s take risks, feel the wind in our hair, see the world buzz by as we joyride. We may hit the ground. Hard. We may wreck. We may follow our hearts only to be left with scars.

But we will never be the same.

And I’m really okay with that. At least I’m moving. At least I’m living.

Always moving. Always changing. Never the same.

LifeErin WestermeyerComment