Lessons from my commute

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More than anything, biking to work serves as a daily reminder of the journey of life. 

In biking it’s all about timing the lights. Coming to a full stop, losing momentum, with the bonus of forgetting to gear down? You earned yourself back sweat and a disgruntled rider. 

Without even trying, biking becomes a competitive game of “can I pass that person?” When I pass someone on my commute I automatically feel like a winner. I never take into account a head start, momentum, a higher starting point on a downhill. No, it’s just my skill. And yet, when that same person comes flying past me and I’m a sitting duck at a newly turned green, I’m fuming. Them? Again? I just passed them? 

Pass someone who is stopped at the bottom of a hill, and you have the full momentum of mother gravity you feel like a grinning bat straight out of hell. Cackling as you speed by. And yet, cycling, like life, has a way of humbling you. Suddenly it’s you hitting the next red, and you’re being passed by a runner (it was uphill and his legs went on for days, while my stubs were barely keeping the chain turning).

In life I think we divide up success as the distance between two lights. We focus on getting ahead of people in the short term, instead of realizing it’s about how we ride the whole course, not simply light to light. If I get ahead of that person first, if I buy a house, land the job, find the husband, then I’m winning. But it’s not about the space between lights, it’s about where you’re going (hold onto your helmets, this is about to get cheesy). 

While you’re busy watching the other person sail past you, you’re too green with envy to notice what set that person up for success. They got a head start, they had the help of gravity, their bike is lighter and faster, they had the luck of timing. None of that I can control, but I can control my ride. I can change my mindset from lights to long term. Instead of wanting to get everything first, what about securing the foundation to a happy life? 

And isn’t that life? Sure their instagram is lit, and they suffer for nothing, but I’m working focusing on enjoying the ride and where I’m headed, not beating my fellow commuters. Aren’t we all just trying to get where we’re going?

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