Most of my life, I have struggled with being in the moment - with living in the now. Whether this was a learned behavior or something I was born with, I'm not entirely sure, but some of my earliest recollections are in regard to thoughts about the future. As a child, I frequently found myself daydreaming about what my life would be like at 16 (I would finally be able to drive - wahoo!), 18 (I would be an "adult" and could "do whatever I wanted"), 25 (I would be through school and have a fabulous career that I loved), 30s (I would be old, "like my parents" and probably have a spouse and kids), and even my 80s (when I would be sitting in a rocking chair, knitting for my grandchildren). I should note that almost none of those thoughts were a reality when the time came (Well, I can't speak for my 80's just yet, but I suspect very little is as we dream it as children).
I have a theory that part of my reasons for wanting the future to hurry up and happen was that the present wasn't as great as I would have liked it to be. Perhaps daydreaming about an idealistic future is what kept me somewhat sane as a child and teenager? I have no doubt I could be analyzed for years by professionals who would have various thoughts on the matter, but what I have learned about myself is that as an individual who grew up living in the future, shifting to a life in the present moment is a mightier task than it might seem on the surface. It's not that I have a terrible or torturous present life, nor that I don't enjoy the people, places and things that surround me, but to this day I find myself living for some future, pick-of-the-day moment.
Although I hadn't really considered it until recently, I am certain that transformation takes place in those brief instances. Those moments of pain, fear, self-doubt and eventual victory that take place as I struggle (at times) to make it; the last few pedal strokes as I reach the top of something I never thought I could or would attempt; the instant I decide that I am strong and able to do anything I chose to do; those nanoseconds when I, without contemplation, commit fully to moving forward, onward, upward... these are the moments that are changing me, perhaps even helping me shift (pun intended) into the person I always wanted to be.
I am so grateful for these experiences on a bike - and even more so for the extra challenging and grueling ones - because they are showing me exactly what I am made of and that I am able to live, breathe, and thrive with life in the present moment... even when those moments seem insurmountable.