Thursday, December 21, 2017

May all your days be bright!

It is truly amazing how swiftly a month can pass! I suppose during the holiday season, time seems to pick up a quicker pace anyway - though that was definitely not the case as a child. I can recall my parents talking about time moving faster or slower when I was young, and it made no sense at all. Everything seemed to take an eternity. If we were taking a trip to a location I was excited about or was anxiously awaiting a holiday, that, in fact, seemed to move time in reverse.
*Image found here
Of course, as is almost always the case, as we get older, we begin to realize that much of what our parents stated can often truly become our reality as well. I'm not certain I care for this process of figuring things out, but it is what it is and I suppose there isn't much to be done about it. Just as I cannot seem to stop the wrinkles from coming to my hands and face, time will do what it does, moving at exactly the same standard, even if I perceive or experience it at seemingly different rates.

Although I've never quite identified with trying to keep wrinkles at bay, I understand wanting to maintain a youthful appearance in some manner. To me, wrinkles have always signified wisdom (at least for some individuals), and what could be more wonderful than to have knowledge and experience under my belt? Growing older though also means we are coming ever-closer to the end of our physical existence and that can bring up a whole slew of thoughts and emotions too. Perhaps this is all a part of societal need to maintain a youthful appearance.

Oh, how I have digressed already and I haven't even begun! Apparently, age is not bringing me wisdom, it is simply having me ramble on sooner in conversation (and writing). My original point was that it has been a month since my last post and it seems as though it has been but a few days in my own mind.

This season brings with it interesting emotions. I am always a little anxious as holidays were not the best in my youth (though thankfully much of that has resolved now well into adulthood). I also feel a need to review the year, even if only in some small way, to remind myself what was (and wasn't) accomplished in the prior 365 days. But that, I suppose, in and of itself is arbitrary, as self-evaluation should truly be ongoing, I think. Although not really a resolution sort of person, I do enjoy reflection and possibilities.

As can happen, this space has taken a backseat to other priorities in life. I have accepted that I will have times when I feel the need (and have the time) to write more often than others and as long as I have some sort of desire to share bicycle-related items, I will continue to keep this space alive in some way. I am thankful for applications like Instagram and Twitter, where it is easier to make and read quick posts and share in-the-moment thoughts and experiences with others. I'm still not the best with regular check-ins to those places either, but I find it to be a much easier space to connect with others, so if you ever have the desire to check in without sending an e-mail, it's likely I've put a photo or some sort of communication up in one of those places.

I took a very part time job this year as a school crossing guard. It's provided more examples and perspective of both polite and completely unaware road users. Requiring relative stillness for a small stretch of time (meaning, I don't leave the corner during my shift), I've witnessed so many dangerous activities taking place in a residential area that has multiple schools within a couple of blocks of one another, so I can imagine it's far worse in higher density areas.

Despite my personal awareness that road users are often oblivious to pedestrians and cyclists, I find this little segment of time each day has reinforced and strengthened my belief that something needs to be done about distracted and dangerous drivers. These aren't intoxicated drivers; these are the people drinking coffee in their cars while driving to/from work each day, staring down at phones, speeding through areas at a velocity far exceeding the posted limit, most often highly unaware of their surroundings. I don't know how this gets resolved as more distractions seem to get added to automobiles regularly and few people put themselves in the position of pedestrian or cyclist on an everyday basis. Even injuries and deaths don't seem to rid our world of these tendencies toward distraction and inattention.

This year, a bike share system was added to our community. I tried it out myself and occasionally I see users around town, but it does not appear to be the most used service in our city. I am curious to see how this program evolves and whether or not it will remain a part of our area.

Participating in my first duathlon this year was a big milestone. When I signed up, I didn't believe it would be as difficult as it was, but I also didn't expect to be injured when starting the race. As with most challenging things in life, I learned my lessons and hope to find new ways to test myself in the coming year. Who knows? Maybe another duathlon is in my future.

Sharing some thoughts on my personal frustrations with they cycling industry was therapeutic, but didn't necessarily resolve much. Every year I hold out hope that one day it will no longer be a necessity for me to write about the shortcomings I see as a consumer. I know there are others who are frustrated as well, so I still hold out hope that things can and will change. Sometimes, it just takes enough voices willing to persist.
*Image found here, where you can purchase this card on Etsy.
Perhaps one of the most exciting activities/moments for me was when we received our tandem bicycle. I have become completely enamored of riding together to the point that it's all I seem to want to do (I still ride my own bikes, never fear, but often I find myself daydreaming about the tandem -- hello, infatuation!). The newness and excitement will no doubt wear at some point, but in the meantime, I am enjoying the together time and seeing what we are capable of accomplishing as a team.

On one hand, it's difficult to believe that an entire year has almost passed, but in the next breath I would say that much has also taken place in that same span of time. We have been presented with challenges both small and large, but these are the things that keep us interested in life and moving towards personal and societal betterment.

I am never quite able to predict what the coming year has in store, but I always look forward to it. I am grateful for those who read and comment here, whether or not we share the same opinions on a matter. Having some sort of connection with people just a few miles away, or across several hundreds or thousands of miles is truly amazing, and I do not for one moment take for granted our ability to have a small amount of space in each other's lives.

My wish for all who read here is that you have experienced a year full of all the best life has to offer, that you are able to spend the holiday season with those you love, and that the new year brings peace (though never at the expense of sacrificing morality or beliefs), success in whatever areas you choose to pursue, and of course, the most fantastic rides on a bicycle.

Happy Holidays and tailwinds to all, and a wish for a 2018 full of adventure!


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