Today I purchased a shiny new bicycle. This fills me with independence: independence from breaking down, independence from failing breaks, independence from chains that slip and fall off in traffic. Up until yesterday, I cherished my old blue bike, however it rattled to a halt halfway up a bridge, leaving me stranded, and walking home in the dark for thirty minutes.
This gleaming new bicycle is not only practical, it fills me with a secret pride… there are few things as memorable as a new bicycle !!
This morning riding along the streets of Florence, I’m reminded of my very first bicycle as a young girl. A banana bike with a red seat, and silver fenders.
A recollection that prompts me to consider my own independence, this new life in Italy, the choices I’ve made, the unfamiliar road ahead…..
Recall if you will the day your parents hand let go of the bicycle-seat, and you rode a bicycle without assistance for the very first time!!
Think back to how your fingers fit perfectly into the groves of the sturdy rubber handles. How tightly your hands gripped, bracing against the unknown, refusing to let go, to give up. The breeze adding to the thrill as it gusts across your face in perfect unison. Excitement and angst toward this newfound independence. The quiver in the front wheel as you turn your head to look behind you, amazed you are actually riding on your own, keenly aware of the distance between you and your parents. The smile on their faces as they watch you ride away, their one hand raised in a wave, the other clenched in fear for your safe return.
Quite unexpectedly you are now the one in charge. Every move you make is a choice. Glancing back is no longer a sensible option. Looking forward is the safest course of action. By peddling harder, you make it up the hill. Breaking softly keeps you steady. Swing to the left, you risk riding into traffic. Wobble too far right, strike the curb. Stay the course, and you’re further from home. Further from the strong safe hands that hold you upright, giving you direction, offering sound advice…. shielding you from harm.
If you refuse to remove the training wheels, you’ll never experience the thrill of that first autonomous ride.
What should you do?
You have a choice…. stand next to the curb OR experience the adrenaline rush of a solo ride….the excitement of a new adventure….achieving it on your own…these choices demand independence.
An irritating requirement of independence is that you must become independent!!!