Something that has fundamentally changed in my worldview while losing weight and getting fit and finding myself has been my absolute rule of Carpe Diem (referred to as “carpe the diem” in my house because it makes my Latin-major husband giggle, which is all too rare) in regards to trying new things. Kale? Sure, I’ll try it. Spin class? Why not? Going back to school in math? Absolutely.
I find that each of these experiences has been delightful, with some degree of variance (spin class delight is not exactly the same as kale chips, let’s just say). New stuff is FUN. Almost always. And last week Trainer Guy suggested we do something new and try mountain biking, and I just had to say yes, even though my brain was like, “Are you insane? You will fall and break your face and never be able to work out again, plus you will look like an idiot and you probably can’t do it anyways…and you always bag on mountain bikers, so now who will your husband make fun of if you become one of THEM?”
Fortunately, I chose to ignore my brain, get over my nerves, and get on to the important decisions: what to wear. Now, you may laugh at that, but it was a 6 AM mountain bike ride. In Colorado. It’s cold, but I imagined I would get pretty hot pretty quickly, as this was advertised as a “different kind of cardio than you’re used to, Susan”. So what’s a girl to wear? Well, I should have worn bike shorts, but I didn’t, because I didn’t want to do the whole 2 pants thing since it was about 35 degrees out. That ended up being a poor decision. However, I figured out that NEXT time, I could wear bike shorts and ski socks and go for that whole hipster look with the compression socks thing. I probably won’t pull it off, but it’s not like anyone else was out there at 6 AM.
NEXT time, you say? Could you dare to hope that my first mountain bike ride didn’t turn catastrophic? That’s right! Now, I am not about to pat my own back because I sat in the lowest gear for pretty much the whole ride up and went about 4 mph on the way down and the whole event was about 20 minutes long. BUT, I survived and I had fun! I was still smiling while Trainer Guy put the bikes on the car and ordered me to run the first hill out and back. I got to the top of that hill and I was in awe of the sun rising and my own athletic prowess and the fact that my heart was back in its proper place and not in my throat. I was practically skipping on the way down to the car at which point I declared that the singular experience of mountain biking at 6 AM could have been better than coffee. I know, back up the bus, right? My slavish devotion to steamy, hot, yummy black coffee could not possibly be replaced by freezing my butt off on the side of a hill while my lungs attempt to bust out of my chest. And you would be right. It’s only almost better than coffee.
The wonder of trying and enjoying something new can happen at any time and at any age. I used to think that the joy and amazement on my little girls’ faces when they encountered something new was just for kids. But I know how I felt last week, and as I watched my friend Christine stand-up paddle (SUP) board this weekend, you could see that feeling in her face too- well, that and she kept yelling, “I LOVE THIS!” So whatever new things you want to try, just go for it! What could really happen? You fall and break your face? It probably won’t happen, and the feeling of doing something new and fun is pretty addictive… in an awesome kind of way. Let me know how it goes!