Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life Is A Balancing Act

I am no stranger to riding a bike.  Or trying to balance the things in my life.  It's just when I try to combine the two that things can get tricky.

When I was around 10 years old (I think), my oldest sister had a job working at the library in my home town.  I don't exactly remember why, but there would be occasions when my mother would ask me to walk her bicycle to her so she could ride it home after work.  Today, I would ask why she hadn't used that means of transportation in the first place, but as a kid who was I to question the chance to get away from summer time work around the house?

My house was on the same street as the library and the 5 or 6 blocks between the two were just enough to give me a sense of freedom and adventure.  Oh how I thought I was being sneaky.  I would walk the bike along that road until I was out of my mother's sight and then I would attempt to teach myself how to ride it.  I had no bike of my own so I would borrow time on my sister's bike until I became quite adapt at riding that thing.  Or so I thought.

Later that year at Christmas time, my other sister and I were delighted to discover that Santa had left us both two new blue bicycles of our very own.  There was only one catch.  My mother didn't want us to ride them unless she was around to supervise.  She was a very strict disciplinarian so her children rarely went against her wishes.  Except she could never have understood the temptation to fly like the wind, no matter whether the "warden" was around or not.

A couple of days later my parents left my sister and I alone at the house while they went grocery shopping.  No sooner had they left the driveway than the two of us were on those bikes and riding down the alleyway behind our house.  No harm, no foul, we both thought it would be a quick and easy adventure with plenty of time to return the bikes to their places in the garage and our mother would never find out.  Of course, we never factored in the neighbor's car that was parked in the middle of the alley, nor our fledgling attempts to be speed racers.  The end result was a meeting of the minds...and our poor bikes crashed into each other when my sister took the path to the left and I traveled right...and we met in the middle!

Bent wheels, dented metal frames and scratched knees weren't something easily explained when we were suppose to be safely at home instead of pretending to be daredevils on the open road.  Thankfully my mind can't remember what happened once we walked those damaged Christmas gifts back home, but safe to say we didn't attempt THAT again any time soon.

My life today reminds me of days like that.  I'm good at my job managing the martial arts school.  I'm good at working on my writing projects while I learn to be better at it.  And I'm pretty good at managing my personal affairs.  It's just sometimes when I try to balance all three at once that I run the risk of crashing.

Do you ever have days like that?  When the harder you try to balance all the things on your plate, the easier it seems for everything to fall down?  While not necessarily enjoying the "scraped knees", I have come to appreciate those moments when I take that tumble and am forced to reevaluate my life.  Being on the ground gives me a chance to look at things from a different perspective.  Most of the time I find myself discovering an angle I have not pursued before...whether in my teaching, my writing, or personal relationships...and things actually go smoother after I'm back on the seat again.  

But that's just it...I have to remember to KEEP getting back on that bike and just keep pedaling.  Moving forward and not looking back.  I can't get to my destination lying on the ground and I will surely never learn to balance all the craziness in my life without trying.  Maybe that childhood lesson prepared me for the future without my realizing it at the time...all I know is that I didn't stop riding that bike back then, even with all the dents, and I still enjoyed the ride!


  1. Getting back on the bike. That's the important (and sometimes scary) part. You can't experience the exhilaration of the ride while sitting on the ground.

    Thanks Donna!

  2. You've got the right idea, Donna! And before you know it you'll be saying, "Look, Ma! No hands!" :)

  3. We call it "get back on that horse" when one has been bucked off, and yes I have been down that road many times.... Like Susanna's comment "look Ma! No hands!" That's the best part Donna.

  4. Forgive me for laughing at the thought of the collision. I'm glad you keep getting back on the "bike".

  5. Beth, Susanna, and Diane...I can't wait for to let go of the handlebars and see where my bike takes me!

  6. What an inspirational post. Good reminder.