Sometimes I’m grumpy. I like my rigidity, because it stems my anxiety. There are certain activities that I’m not likely to do if they don’t fit my hair washing schedule, my normal routines, or I just don’t like them. Like biking on vacation.
So we’re on a mini weekend away, staying at a friend’s vacation house in Sanibel Island, Florida. The weekend is slow paced, we’re on island time, not needing to be anywhere at any particular time until it’s time to head to the airport.
If we can all live like that.
Our final day it was suggested we ride the bike to the beach, walk the beach for exercise and the sheer experience of smelling the salt air and shelling, because I do like collecting shells.
We do that and I’m ready to head back to the house. Instead, we ride. I don’t like biking, it hurts my butt, my legs are tired, I’m hot, I’m getting grabby, we have things to do, and yet, instead of complaining, I agree to ride.
I’m sulking in my head instead of living in the moment, and enjoying the scenery, the beach, the water.
As the voice banters on in my head, I stem it, simply shut it out and the longer we ride, I realize, I’m less inside my head. When the crabby thoughts return, I force myself to change my mindset, to shut them out, because they keep sucking me back to the negative. They complain how much I hate riding and that my back and hips hurt; that we need to get back and get ready to go.
I got out of my head in that moment, concentrating more on riding, because I’m a dork and had difficulty controlling the bike, so much so that I nearly missed the turn and fell off. I chuckled to myself and instead of complaining I got back on.
All in all that morning, we walked two miles along the coastline and collected shells; we rode for four miles around the east side of Sanibel Island. I lived in the moment, not stressing about what was next, not worrying about what we still had to do, or that we were leaving at two for the airport. No anxiety, no stress, I slowed down, I lived my life.
I often wondered how some people have the ability to look at the positive in the midst of pain. I believed that we were born with that ability and it wasn’t something we could control.
I was wrong.
I’m slowly realizing that we can retrain the voices we talk to in our head, we can relearn how to be nice to ourselves, we don’t have to be lost in the weeds, we can be positive in the midst of adversity. We don’t have to be a victim.
It’s all about our mindset, how we speak to ourselves, how we approach every experience that crosses our path, how we discover joy.
I will never be an avid cyclist, but I’m pretty sure, I’d get on a bike again and ride through a small town, or the east side of an island to take in the sights. I will for the experience to slow down and live in the moment; hear the sound of wheels on the sidewalk, feel the heat of the sun as I work up a sweat, stop and smell the gladioluses on the side of the road, talk to the traffic cop directing traffic, saying hi to other riders and walkers along the bike path.
As much as I like jumping in a car and roaming the island, you don’t get in touch with the world around you, unless you jump right in. It’s all in your mindset.
I still don’t like riding bikes and I don’t expect that I’ll be riding many miles soon, but there is something about taking the time and living in the moment that feels really good.