A funny thing happened while riding my bicycle Sunday morning. It was such a subtle shift in thinking I almost didn’t appreciate the gravity of it.
John and I have a tradition of riding our bikes to breakfast on Sundays. The little restaurant we go to is the Summerland Beach Café, which is about eight miles from our house. There are some pretty good hills along the route, especially the last one, so it is a good way to earn breakfast.
I usually look forward to our ride, but this Sunday I woke up feeling terrible. I had a headache and felt tired. We had been on the road the last week and I was beating myself up for not eating as well as I should and for drinking more wine than I normally do.
I kept thinking what a shame it was I wasn’t doing better.
When I looked in the mirror and saw the rosacea on my cheeks had flared up I thought, “Well, that’s what happens when you eat this way!”
By the time I got on my bike, I was in a foul mood and wondered how my out-of-shape-over-indulgent-fat-self was even going to make it the eight miles to the café.
The first part of the ride was easy as we careened down the hill towards the beach and onto the bikeway. Making our way past East Beach and taking the turn past the cemetery, we pedaled up the first big hill towards Butterfly Beach.
As we crested the hill, my mind wandered to my family.
The day before, I received news that my niece was in trouble and was rushed to the emergency room. While we waited to find out if she would be okay, my job was to keep her mom (my sister) calm.
My sister lives 1500 miles away from her daughter and I knew it was agonizing for her to not be there. She also has a heart condition so I spent the better part of the day chatting with her to help her stay calm. I’m good at that and I was happy to take on the task.
We messaged each other until late in the evening, keeping our phones close for any news about her daughter’s condition. I don’t sleep with my phone in my room, but did that night.
The first thing Sunday morning I checked in for an update.
I was thinking about all this as John pedaled next to me and asked how I was feeling. I told him I was okay and was just feeling the stress of worry for my family.
As soon as those words left my mouth I started feeling better.
My head still hurt but I no longer felt the weight of my self-condemning words. I forgave myself for being tired, having a headache and a rosacea breakout because stress was an acceptable justification.
By the time we arrived at the restaurant I was contemplating how my own thoughts had dictated how my body felt. One thing I knew for sure was I needed to stop beating myself up for perceived shortcomings. Life happens and I want to enjoy the ride.
I also want to see my wins as easily as I see my losses.
When we headed back home after a healthy breakfast I noticed I was making much better time than usual on my ride and didn’t have to reach for my puffer even once.
I pedaled even harder realizing each day is a gift to be started fresh without doubts carried over from the past. I think the best way to achieve that is to leave yesterday in the dust.