This post was originally shared on May 31, 2015.
But what if you don't know how to ride a bike?
Yes, I am a human. It's not like I lived in a closet under the stairs for most of my childhood, which reminds me that even Harry Potter knew how to ride a bike.
I grew up like most 90's, boy band obsessed, Legends of the Hidden Temple playin, Barbie hoarder, girl-power chick. And I certainly wasn't bike deprived. I had a hot pink with purple stripes and streamers bike with training wheels. But if we're being honest, I had more fun pulling my bike around the driveway on a string pretending it was my pony. (Cough, cough Mom & Dad!! A pony, I'm still waiting). With the training wheels, I could bike knowing there wasn't much to be afraid of. Just the freedom of the world in front of me with the knowledge that I wouldn't fall. I remember watching my father take off the training wheels in the garage with nerves in the pit of my stomach. Why? Why ruin something I enjoyed perfectly by adding fear? Nothing was wrong with the training wheels except it seemed like it was a right of passage. If everyone else had a 2 wheeler, I had to follow suit.
Now, I know I exude sheer gracefulness and have the balance of a goat on the cliffs, but with my head screaming "don't fall!", my feet trying to pedal and my hands stayed in the same position, it was if my soul wouldn't have it. I'd like to blame this sheer lack of coordination on living on a busy street on a hill with cars around, which is true, but after a few sessions of trying at the playground parking lot, I let my nerves kick. Knees bloody, clothes ripped and ego sore, I threw in the towel. If I couldn't ride a two-wheeler then forget the bike all together. I don't need it.
And that was it....or so I thought.
Quite a few years later, after graduating college on a celebration vacation to Florida with my roommate and friends, everyone was thrilled to see a row of beach bikes in front of our condo. Everyone, but me. "How do I explain that after all these years I still don't know how to ride a bike?" My fear wasn't that I would be embarrassed, these friends had witnessed me chug a bottle of Arbor Mist (I was classy back then), my fear was admitting the truth about who I was and that I was afraid of missing out on the fun.
FOMO. Fear of missing out.
Labeled by hipsters and the reckless cult following of Miley, the "fear of missing out" on even the smallest amount of fun, while others are ravaging in it, has built a society of hungry, rage-chasing "YOLO-ers". (For my mother, YOLO means "You only live once"), a phrase given to excuse just about anything these days, constantly craving the next rush, hopping from one trendy, bass thumping club to the next with fervor in constant chase to catch the beat before it drops.
But that's just it, with the "fear" always looming in the clouds, don't you end up missing out anyway? The chase seems like it ends up taking more time than the actual fun. Correct me if I'm wrong, all you party people! I certainly don't want to be missing out while I'm here enjoying my life.
I've never been one to follow the "hype". I was the last girl to convince her mom to drive across town to pick through baskets of glittery Butterfly Clips. I was usually the last kid picked for teams in gym class, however always managed to get an A (gym teachers enjoy a kid with quick wit and enthusiasm, a skill I will pass along to my kids). Oh, and I still haven't watched Lost or seen The Sixth Sense. I'm sure they're great but who would listen to me talk about them with excitement now all these years later? Do you want that burden? I didn't think so.
I can hear my dad saying, "bring it back to focus now, Marge" so here goes... There's always going to be a fear and on most days, if I haven't woken up with another thing to add on my "Things that Stress Me Out" list, one pops up before I hit the office.
Whether it be the fear of a bruised ego, heart or a bloody knee, the fear of embarrassment, the fear of being true to yourself or just the fear or missing the best party. There are always going to be some big scary monster hiding in the closet, taunting us and keeping us constantly questioning our focus, our path, who we are and what we stand for.
I think back on to those young summer evenings, running around the driveway laughing carelessly, living in a wonderland where my "pony" was following me and I was euphoric. Sure, I couldn't ride the beach bikes with my friends on that summer trip but I walked along the water, toes in the sand and got to see the sun slowly creep behind the horizon. I've been in the company of wonderful people, laughed so hard I cried, cried so hard I laughed, I've seen skylines, world wonders, and watched magic happen before my eyes. To me, that's better than the chase of something better. While I'm not the model for risk and adventure, I'm finding new ways to challenge my comfort zone and push myself as a person while having a great time. I'm not living to check off the boxes, I'm living to create boxes no one has ever seen, and to me, that's fearless and pretty damn cool!
(Don't everyone rush to teach me how to ride a bike at once!)