Lately my life has been all about learning.
Learning new skills, learning that I can be the old me again, learning that old skills are still stored carefully in my brain waiting for me to dust them off again. Learning to have confidence in myself and trust in my abilities. Important stuff.
There’s a learning point that I’ve been thinking of in particular.
You never know if you never go.
You never know if you never go. This is slowly but surely becoming my new motto.
Instead of staying home just in case the weather is awful, the traffic is terrible, the people are critical, the class is long and boring, the walk is too steep and etcetera, I’m transitioning into a more cautionsly optimistic frame of mind.
Cautiously optimistic is a term coined by my GP and is used when we think we’re have a breakthrough but it could be nothing or it could come crashing down or it might stick. We’re hoping, based on not very much maybe, but we’re hoping.
So being cautiously optimistic would look like saying to myself, what if the weather is lovely, it doesn’t rain, the traffic is a breeze, they are all lovely and kind, I learn lots and the content is interesting, and I manage the walk and have the satisfaction of accomplishment? What if?
You know by now that I completed the Wheel Women-run She Rides program in Hawthorn. By the nature of bike riding the classes are held outdoors. I was happy to be enrolling in the autumn class rather than summer because I get hot easily. But of course the flip side is that autumn can get cold, and as it turns out wet. Wet was something I hadn’t really thought about beforehand but there was a lot of it around!
So every Tuesday for 8 weeks I committed to meeting the group in a car park at 10am to take the class. The classes were held over March, April and May. Other than the first class all of the classes involved some riding around of various distance. So I’d wake up on Tuesday morning and look out the window to see what the day looked like it had in store and what kind of riding conditions were out there.
I have a second storey window that looks west-ish. Probably South-West-West if I remember correctly from school, but it doesn’t really matter. The morning sun, if it is showing, bounces off the new plate glass type multi-storey construction in front of my window a ways away so I can sort of get the gist of east and west. All irrelevant detail really.
Sometimes it looked windy. Sometimes it was raining. Sometimes it looked clear. Sometimes it wasn’t rainy but looked ominous. And to be honest, sometimes it was beautiful and sunny. Somehow the story doesn’t have the same drama when things go well but of course sometimes they go well, and really well!
If I had pulled the pin every time that I thought the weather was going to mean the class was cancelled, I’d only have made about half of the classes. But there was no weather cancellation clause, the rider being that if it was truly too awful to be outside well at least we would all have coffee together and a nice morning anyway.
And you know what? In eight weeks we never got rained on once! The weather was never terrible, just a bit windy or a bit chilly. Now that winter weather has arrived the weather we had for those classes looks even better by comparison! And we had some really nice, lovely, enjoyable days too. Must mention the good days!
One time we had to move our class from the outdoors to the nearby cafe to continue talking about bike gear; but only for the last half hour anyway which may well have been spent the same way on a clear day.
One time we sat in the nearby rotunda and chatted while it dripped around us.
Every time that we went on a ride it rained before, or after, or both and a couple of times it started raining as we got into our cars to go home.
But every time we had a great class, a lovely social event and nice chatting over warm drinks and fun riding.
And the stats have gotten even better: it has now been 13 weeks since the first class and in all that time we have only cancelled one class. That’s it, one class.
We’ve sat in a cafe with our hot drinks until the rain cleared, we’ve had coffee instead of a ride once only, and last Thursday it started raining as we got in our cars!
The forecast has looked terrible, the radar has been worse but I have really learned a valuable life lesson over these weeks.
By treating the situation as non negotiable, it takes away all the umming and ahhing that I usually do, mostly from a sitting/lying in bed position. No procrastination, because it’s an inevitable event.
You are going. I am going. The other girls are going to be there expecting you after having organised themselves and gotten to the meeting point. Our dedicated coaches are waiting for you to show up so you have to go. Telling myself ‘if it’s really bad we’ll just have coffee and it’ll be fun’ got me out the door on the worst days.
And do you know what? That worst day by forecast we did a 14km loop into Herring Island and back, which is somewhere that I’ve wanted to go back to since the summer but didn’t realise there was a bike path that could get me there.
And so this day, and each and every week I have said to my self, and likely to some one else too cos I’m like that, ‘if I hadn’t come, look what I would have missed out on!’
I would have stayed home, probably in bed to be honest, trying to avoid the rain when in fact by going I found out that there was no rain (although it was jolly cold!)! At least not between 10am and 12pm. It was beginning to spit as we got in the car but we did it! A nice flat ride, interesting sights and a surprising location, great company and that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that is just so lovely.
To feel like, I’ve really done something today! I wasn’t going to go, I thought it would be awful and difficult but I went (kudos for that), I participated (easy once you’re there, getting started is always the key!) and I had a great time and now I can rest mentally knowing I’ve done something worthwhile for myself and I’ve been a team player and it’s such a nice feeling!
Rather than wasting away the day waiting for the forecast and the outlook to be better before venturing out. Turns out you really do have to JUST DO IT! And more times than not, it will be well worth your while and you have experiences and enjoyment that you would have missed waiting for the sun to come out!