Thinking about going outside, in the dark, alone, is intimidating. Flashing lights, blinking red reflectors, unseeable terrain ahead I take a deep breath and strap on my helmet.
I’ve rode bikes on wooded trail with a headlamp strapped to the top of my head, racing against the clock and pushing my teammates up the next switch back or following them down the final hill to the end of a race, or the end of that stage in the race. These moments were hard mentally and physically but I never once hesitated. I just did it.
Now, here in Chicago, I tend to linger at the bar after work a little bit longer. I have to psych myself up to re-attach my front wheel, unlock my U-lock that keeps the frame safe from crooks and I have to take a deep breath when I put the blinking lights on my handlebars and as I climb into the saddle I’m truly a bit afraid. It’s dark, kinda cold, the air is now damp and there’s a slight breeze that never seems to cease from Lake Michigan–I both love and hate that cool push of air.
But once I’m in the seat, once I begin peddling I forget that fear. There are fewer cars, the adrenaline doesn’t need to flow as hard as it does during the day; freedom is ahead and I’m rolling towards it self propelled and on two wheels. A ride home at 2am is a ride through a city that not everyone gets to see. It’s a quiet and calm city that during the day is rushed and stressed but at 2am she’s serene and relaxed. At 2am she bears her soul to those that will listen.
Freedom awaits at a 2am ride, however every time I have to saddle up and go I’m scared. It takes me a while to convince myself to go, but I always do and I never regret the silent moments we have.
Don’t be my friend. I’m searching for a friendships that will leave me guiltless when I leave after six months or a partner in crime that will come with. A circle of friends that will give me community for a short time and let me belly laugh and smile mischievously as we plan adventures. Hang out with me if you’ll let me tell my stories and inspire you to make stories of your own. Most likely if it’s winter I’m dreaming of the year I spent hot and sweaty climbing Buddhist Temples and praying at the foot of a thousand year old statue, drinking warm beer and hot coffee on the street. If it’s summer I’m cursing the tourists who come here for a week and forget to notice the enormity of the Lake, the power of the Waves and the beauty of each Sunset and Sunrise we can witness each day.
Don’t be my friend if you expect me to not make a game out of mundane activities and to not connect with the people I’m surrounded with. Please remember that community is important and an interesting conversation can be had at the bar, at the beach or on a bus tumbling through a far away land. Don’t be my friend if you don’t want me to question you, I expect to be questioned in return–because I like to talk and share and most of all I like to listen. Don’t hang out with me if you can’t handle hard questions.
Don’t be my friend if you don’t want me to encourage you to try yoga with me tomorrow morning before work, or after work. If you don’t want me to try and spur up your deepest dreams or suggest you download that flight searcher app and play hooky with me to go try a new brewery. Don’t hang with me if you don’t want to be pushed into a diagonal weird direction you never though you’d go.
Don’t be my friend if you don’t want to hear about my confusion of ‘life’ and how I might be ‘missing out’ by not being ‘somewhere else’. Don’t be my friend if you can’t attempt to reel me back in, calm me down and remind me that where I am is where I’m supposed to be for the moment. When I freak out could you remind me that there is a huge, incredible, beautiful Lake down the road that just by looking at it lowers my heart rate, softens my eyes and brings on a true smile.
Don’t attempt to be my friend if you don’t appreciate those kind of moments because those moments, those small seemingly insignificant moments, are the ones I live for. They are the times in life that we look back on to appreciate. Those moments are the ones we call upon when we’re in a bad place, in a physically or mentally dangerous situation that we think about to lower our blood pressure and remember that there is something that you can come back to. Coming back to the breath and the seemingly small moments are the ones that play a huge roll in life. Don’t be my friend if you don’t understand this.
I forced myself to crack a new journal today. I have been back from South East Asia for over a month now and I had yet to write anything. I’ve hardly blogged, I went from journaling twice a day to not at all. This is weird for me. I’m in a funk. A full body and mind encompassing funk. Yep. There are other clinical terms certain people chose to use, but like many parts of my life I like to use euphemisms.
I left the house, because lord knows I can’t concentrate here. Just like in college, I do my best work elsewhere. So I bought a fountain soda and I drove to a beautiful Lake Michigan overlook. I sat in my Mother’s convertible, I left the top 40’s pop radio station on and I opened up my pink polka dot journal and I wrote. It was nothing profound but I whined and complained through words that came out of the tip of my pen. I wrote a list of things that piss me off. For the sake of balance: I wrote a list of things that I like too.
Lists are the best way for me to just write. I can always think of one more thing to add or a new list to start. So in this funk my list of piss were pretty damn negative. I was even pissed at the sun. The SUN is on my list of things that piss me off. (It was really hot, I had sweat dripping off my elbows.) But then once I started the other list things I like flowed quickly and steadily.
There were silly things. The first three or four things on that list are beverages. (Coffee, beer, iced coffee, diet coke through a straw) I mean, really… but they were all positive. There are all things that in this moment I enjoyed. And that is how I got through today and made it a not so bad day. Baby steps people, baby steps.
I like the tiny straw