My friend and I were at the top of a steep hill on our bikes. She went first. She went down the hill with her hands raised high over her head; she didn’t touch her handlebars or her brakes.
I wanted to ride my bike down the hill with my hands over my head like she did. But, I couldn’t. I couldn’t take my hands off of the handlebars. I kept my hands on the handlebars and the brake all the way down the hill. I don’t like to go fast. I went a few feet and then braked to slow down the bike. I went down the hill, glide, brake, glide, brake, glide, brake.
Every time I braked I looked at the side of the road enjoying the journey down the hill. Looking at the trees, the sky, and the ocean.
I am not brave. She goes down the hill the right way. Something is wrong with me. She is going down the hill the right way. Brave, fearless. Something is wrong with me.
I felt shame.
I was embarrassed by how I rode my bike down the hill. As though something was wrong with me because I didn’t go fast.
Then I arrived at the bottom of the hill.
We were both at the bottom of the hill.
We started at the same place, and we ended at the same place …
Hey, you made it. You went down the hill. There is nothing wrong with you. You can go slowly if you want to. We both ended up at the same place.
[share-quote]It doesn’t matter how fast you go, it matters that you don’t quit. [/share-quote]
Brave is going down the hill when you are scared. Brave is putting one foot in front of the other foot when you want to hide in your closet, close the door and cry. Brave is drawing a picture and letting people see it. Brave is getting out of bed when you want to pull the covers over your head and stay there. For days.
Ride your bike down the hill. Fast. Slow. It is your journey.
I didn’t realize Confucius talked about the importance of not stopping until I looked for quotes on the internet about not quitting. I wonder if he rode a bike down a hill too?
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
–Confucius (551-479 BC), philosopher
Don’t compare. Be you.
And, you is good.
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p.s. The photograph was taken on a biking trip with friends. The rain cleared and then we rode down the hill.