I used to ride. For fun. For exercise. For a personal challenge. A few years after law school I had a crisis of confidence in the choices I had made up to that point in my life. So I challenged myself to do something that would be - for me - really crazy and out of character and see it through to the end. And I did sort of. I decided to train for the Boston-to-New York AIDS Ride.* Yes, I decided to train to ride my bike (which I didn't have until after I decided to do the ride) over 200 miles (and fund-raise an insane amount of money for someone who hates to ask for favors - I think it was $2500 minimum to participate and that was 10 years ago). All the necessary money was raised. I trained as best as I could considering that along the way (1) my bike was stolen out of my car** and (2) I was in a car accident that put me out of commission for a few critical training weeks. I did the ride as best as I was able despite the fact that there was a huge hurricane that required cancelling the first day of the ride. I wore enormous but cool hot pink feathered wings I made on my helmet. I talked to complete strangers. It was a big deal to me to have done these things. I developed the courage to leave my job and try some new things.*** I am not saying that I ended up happier on the other side but when I have doubts about my abilities to accomplish things, I look back and remind myself that I did (for all intents and purposes) succeed in completing a major personal challenge that not even I thought I could accomplish
* I do not think this event, or the organization that sponsored it, even exists anymore but it was similar to the Avon 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk, except on bikes.
** Funny story - I never ever ever stored my bike in my car overnight but I was plannng to invest in a nice roof rack/bike carrier. I was going to get the rack put on the next day. So I decided to put in the car the night before because I wanted the installer to show me how to put the bike on the car after he installed the rack and I didn't want to get dirty before work jamming the bike in the back of my VW Golf. The rack money was used to buy a new bike - which was never left in the car again.
*** The universe was conspiring against me in part. I took some time off and goofed around at the beach (where I incidentally met my now-husband). When I decided it was time to try getting my act together again, I moved back to New York to look for a job in the city. My return date was September 7, 2001. By the middle of that week, my prospects for work in NY were looking pretty bleak.
Photo credit: k.steudel on Flickr