Return of the Cycle
I was a big time cycling enthusiast during my college years. I continued to cycle to work during my first jobs but had to give up cycling when we moved to Mumbai after marriage. Kids, jobs, transfers and business managed to keep me away from my favorite sport for about 13 years. For some reason, even after all this time, the dream of cycling did not abandon me. It just sat there patiently in my heart waiting for the time when it could rewind. That day came sooner than I had imagined when a good friend introduced me to Cykul. I was literally jumping up and down with excitement after placing my first rental order for getting my first cycle. In my heart, I knew there was nothing stopping me from hitting the roads again. I could cycle again. I could fly again. I was free again.
The cycle was promptly delivered to my doorstep (with a safety helmet), while I was still at work. I could barely sit at my desk the rest of the evening, itching to hit the roads. By the time I wrapped up work, school homework and bed time stories it was 9:30 PM. Was it too late to step alone into the winter evening? Would it be safe? I pushed the fears aside and took out the cycle from our ground floor parking and onto the road. As I settled onto the hard seat, I felt oddly uncomfortable. My back arched and my butt ached. The handle bars seemed so far away from my arms. This was not what I had imagined in my mind. I had assumed that I would be able to fly right after pushing the first pedal down. But that had not happened. I labored with each push of the pedal and my breath was soon heavy. My lungs wanted to burst from lack of oxygen and my arms ached trying to control the heavy handlebars.
I realized I was sooooo out of shape. Even though I managed to cycle around the neighborhood for the next 30 minutes, I realized the dream of flying on the cycle would need more work than I had originally planned for. I had to sadly accept the fact that even though I could still feel and behave like I was 16, my body was definitely not there, anymore. It needed lot more work to get in shape before it was light enough to fly.
I woke up the next morning with a stiff back which got worse over the next few days (even though I had not dared to take out the cycle again). I could barely walk, leave alone think of cycling. The constant ache made me realize, for the first time in my life, how it feels to be sick over an extended period of time. The back was finally cured with some specific yoga exercises and thankfully I am back at a stage where I can finally run my normal day.
Even though I am fine now, I am not ready to step back onto the cycle again. Today, I placed the request to return my rented cycle. I am not sad. I am not happy. If anything, I can say I am more determined to pursue my dream of flying more than I have been before. The whole experience has taught me that my body is really growing old, quickly, and I need to intervene quickly before it gets too late. Oh! How far I have come from the days when I could go up and down mountains without breaking a sweat. One day of cycle ride has been like an Assessment Report with a big, fat, red color F written on top of it! I might have failed this time, but I am not ready to carry this failure forward to the rest of my life. For the sake of this F, I will need to get back in shape soon.
I write this blog today, to publicly declare my failure and my resolve to turn this failure around. For those who believe in New Year Resolutions, this is my promise to myself for the coming year.
I also write this blog today to share my experience with middle aged youngsters, like me. Most of us are focused on keeping our mind healthy and growing, but we lose the focus on working on our body. Since we started our lives with a brand new healthy body, we just assume it is going to stay the same way. The irony is that as the mind grows each passing day, the exact opposite is happening to our body. If we want to have the slightest hope of physically keeping pace with the speed of the mind, we need our body to stay young.
I am thankful for the accidental F in my life for this realization. Given this realization, my only wish for all my friends and family for the new year is a happy mind and a healthy body to go along with it.