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Sunday, August 16, 2015

PBP Envy: Getting Over It

"The only calibration that counts is
how much heart people invest, how much they
ignore their fear of being hurt or  being caught
out or humiliated. And the only thing people
regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they 
didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough.
Nothing else really counts at all."
Ted Hughes 

I am envious of those at PBP.  There is not use denying it.  I wish I had lived more boldly, had been able to cope better.  "But I am who I am," I think as I do my solo century to Norman. If I am a weak woman/person, that is just the way it is. At least I loved enough, or I think I did.  I still love and I still have moments when I think it is not possible to go on by myself, but they are less frequent though I can not say they are always less intense.  I still walk myself over the coals occasionally over what I did and did not do, the decisions that I made.   As with many things in life, perhaps I would do some things differently with the issues surrounding his dying.  But despite the fact that miracles do happen, I think I made the right decision.  And there are no do-overs.

I think of how I married so soon after college, and that other than a year of graduate school I really never lived on my own.  Even then, I was always dating someone, always had someone to do things with or to talk with.  For the first time, this is not true.  Part of it is due to my unwillingness to move forward, I suppose.  I have been asked on a date, but while I did  not decline, I told him not yet, that if he wanted to ask again in a few months perhaps I would be more ready, and if he did not there would be no hard feelings.  You see, the thought of returning to dating and all that it means scares the dickens out of me, particularly with all the new rules.  And I am just not ready to let go, but that does not mean I am not ready to move forward. 

I think of Grasshopper's advice telling me to open myself up to what life may put in front of me, and I think it is sound advice.  Momentarily, the words of Janice Joplin come to mind:  "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.  Nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free."  But I decide that I don't agree with Janice, at least not yet.  I can't judge my new life and independence yet because it remains sullied by grief.  Perhaps it always will, but I think that eventually there may be things that I come to appreciate, like being able to come home from work and do whatever I feel like, though of course there are still the cats to maintain and my mom and my sister to care for occasionally.

Today I am exploring new roads for part of the day, and I am unsure what I will encounter.  I am on my own and can do as I please pace wise without any worries of inconveniencing someone else or feeling badly if we get lost or run into an unexpected obstacles.  Actually, I quite adore many obstacles that I encounter during rides:  they serve to make the ride memorable, to stand out.  And I quite like the "weird" things one sometimes encounters, like early in the ride where someone had put decorative stones and coins into a patch of tar in the center of the road.

Today I did not do the club ride as I wanted time to think and sort things out, to think about what has happened and where I am going because life is too precious. And there is no place I think better than on a bicycle unless it would be on a long run, and my hip and foot does not allow me to run the roads as I used to love to do.  I decide that since I did not do PBP, I will take my first baby steps toward self supported solo rides on a route that I decide.  I decide that I will go for two to three days if I can get the time off work, and I begin to think about where I would like to ride.  

It is a rather frightening decision because I am not a good bicycle mechanic and I really have nobody other than my daughter to assist me if I have issues, but I have decided that I will not let that fear bind me.  I don't want to get to the end of my life and realize that I have let fear bind me even more than I know it already has at times. Once I see where I am at financially with things, I may decide to take a class to see if I can improve my skills, but there are other, more important things, to be tended to before I really know where I stand.   (Later I have two friends who, unasked, volunteer to help if I run into an issue after hearing of my plans:  Rainy and Diana.)  I am also impressed by the kindness of Facebook friends who invite me to stay at their homes if I pass their way. 

I decide to e-mail Duc Do when I get home as I know he is a master of the self supported ride having completed a ride through every county in Kentucky through the years and now working on every county in Indiana.  At least I "think" I remember hearing that.  But I also think of designing my own route.  And I get home and begin to plan.  I also e-mail Duc who is kind enough to share with me his own, immense collection of adventures.  As I told him, I have decided to begin with staying at motels, but in the future if I see frequent places were camping might be relatively safe for a lone female, I may incorporate that if I enjoy myself.  If I don't enjoy myself, nothing says that I have to do it again.

So while I remain quite jealous of the PBP riders, (though I am happy for them and cheering for them and wishing them success), I now have something to occupy my mind and something new to look forward to doing.  And if I like it, I will plan on doing it more, and in different places, and for longer periods of time.  Perhaps I will end up liking it better than brevets?  I guess I'll find out.  As Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young said, "I don't know who I am, but life is for learning."  

My ride ends without really being an adventure, but there have been some lovely new roads that I look forward to riding again and perhaps sharing sometime in the future.  

*  (I just learned Duc has finished all Kentucky and Indiana Counties and is on to Tennessee)

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