It’s that time of year when cycling enthusiasts to take to the roads, bike paths and mountain trails to enjoy the thrill of pedaling along in unbridled freedom. Think about that statement for a moment.
Where does mankind enjoy freedom the most? In the broader sense, it’s in creativity, self-motivation and accomplishment.
I love to write about the enjoyment I get from skiing, cycling, hiking because those are activities that bring joy to my heart.
But, what is it about any activity, which makes you happy, that keeps you coming back for more? It would seem to me, it is the childlike sense of accomplishment.
Take a moment, and think back to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when you were with a group of friends on a warm summer day and everyone rode bikes. The freedom from parental supervision, the joy of going fast down an alley, or jumping over a pile of dirt brought squeals of delight.
But, most of all, it was the excitement of getting good at something you could do physically, and the more you did it, the better you got.
I grew up when the brake was part of the pedals, and I loved to turn a corner, step down on the brakes and make the rear wheel slide sideways around the turn; you’d then let off and pedal for all you were worth to keep up the momentum.
By now, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that these were dirt roads in a rural town in the 50′s, and the bikes were all Schwinn’s with fenders, one speed, probably had a bell to ring or playing cards in the spokes. The girls had streamers at the ends of the handlebars, but the guys never did.
We’d race around town in mock Tours de France, dogs running alongside, their tongues hanging out, ears flopping and eyes wild with excitement.
Of course, when we tired, it was off to the local store for a Popsicle or can of soda, if we had .10 cents.
Freedom is often childlike. We adults could learn a lot from children sometimes; tear down the barriers of stoic maturity and let loose with some real unadulterated fun.
I train for my bike races with a buddy named Jeff, and he never quite knows when it will happen, but he knows that during our rides, at some point in time, I will break out into a terribly off-key version of “O Sol O’meo” which I think is from The Barber of Seville.
I can’t help it, the endorphins take over, joy spills out and the words to the opera (what few of them I know) burst into the air, startling motorists and pedestrians alike. I’m generally grinning from ear to ear, totally out of breath and completely in the moment, the joyous, present, moment.
Children live almost always in the moment. The past is what happened ten minutes ago and most likely already forgotten; the future might make it into the weekend when they get to visit Grandma or go the zoo.
Adults, on the other hand, are far too busy to grasp the present and enjoy it for what it’s worth; our minds are too full of junk. Junk about the argument with our spouse this morning, the creep who cut us off in traffic yesterday still lingers, and, how on earth are we going to get little Suzy into that expensive pre-school which will most certainly define her future.
The solution is to be creative in some way that you don’t normally do. Expand your circle of activities to something, which used to bring you much joy that you done in a long time. Or, try that one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but…If at all possible, do something physically active, so you get the blood moving, the muscles warmed up and the endorphins flowing. Then, don’t forget to laugh and have fun, let go, be in the moment, be a kid again; your kids will wonder what happened, but be ever so glad it did.
In the end, it’s just one man’s opinion…mine.
Keith E. Renninson is a motivational speaker and co-author of the popular parenting tool and illustrated storybook “Zooch the Pooch, My Best Friend”. Through the 1990′s with much self-examination, academic study, bicycle racing, and mountain climbing, he discovered a renewed zest of life, which included a love of metaphysics, philosophy, humor, and writing and speaking. As Keith says, “Some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue…it’s all in what you make of it.” You can read more about “Zooch the Pooch” or contact Keith to speak at: http://www.zoochthepooch.com
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