Before I had kids, I was pretty fearless. I was always up for trying new things. When Daniel purchased his first motorcycle when we were still dating, I didn't bat an eye. But once I had kids, fear wormed its way into my head and made itself comfortable.
In those early years when Jack was a newborn, I was afraid a lot. Would this little baby that I had been entrusted with survive? There seemed to be things lurking at every turn and I found myself awake during many nights just worrying.
When Jack was around the age of one, Daniel and I started biking pretty regularly again, taking Jack with us. One of our favorite places to explore was the Hays Nature Preserve in Huntsville. It has great paved trails and you can also explore some dirt tracks that aren't too difficult.
Jack loved his time on the back of Daniel's bike, and Daniel and I enjoyed getting to do one of our hobbies again. On one of those rides with Jack, Daniel found a trail that had a rocky descent. I don't think that it was particularly steep or long, but as I stood at the top I experienced a serious mental block.
When I first started biking as an adult it was mostly on mountain bike trails. I had great confidence speeding through the woods in an effort to keep up with Daniel, riding over roots, knolls and around tight turns. I had no fear then. But that day in the woods with our toddler, I could not, for the life of me, muster the courage to ride down. In shame, I got off my bike and walked...
About a year ago Daniel and I had the opportunity to sneak off and ride our mountain bikes, just the two of us. It was the first time I had been on my bike since being pregnant with Isaac. It had been raining and the trails were muddy, but we were undeterred in our effort to find the right trail out to Edward's Point. We didn't find Edward's Point that day (we ran out of daylight), but I did tackle some really difficult terrain. Over big rocks and logs and down some pretty steep sections. We were both covered in mud when we finished, but I don't think that either of us fell off our bikes!
I'm not sure what happened between that day in Huntsville 3+ years ago and the day last year, but fear is no longer controlling me. At least not when it comes to mountain biking!
I have been more willing to try other things as well. Maybe it is confidence in being in better shape but this ability to be confident instead of afraid of hurting myself has manifested in other ways as well. I have been going to yoga once a week over the last couple of months and when we have the opportunity to try harder moves, I always try the harder variation.
I have surprised myself by feeling comfortable flipping my dog (or wild thing) and also being able to do a wheel. I would have been too afraid that I was going to hurt myself in the past. Today in bootcamp I was jumping rope and it crossed my mind that I could do some pretty cool moves with a jump rope when I was about ten years old. So during my 60-second interval with the rope, I tried crossing my arms. The first time I hit myself with the rope, but I tried again. And my body remembered! It felt good to try to do something I used to be able to do. And I did it again, and again.
I am constantly reminding my kids to get back up, shake it off and try again. Whether walking or riding a bike. I want them to keep trying. And I want that for myself too. I hope I never stand at the top of a hill and let my fear take away the joy I might get from accomplishing something. I hope I have the courage to remind myself that it is ok to fall sometimes (or hit myself with the rope) and that I just need to get back up and try again.
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