photo by Joey Schuster

You can read What 2015 wants to steal from you  on a plain white background.

The ugly purple scar on my ankle and shin is courtesy of a mountain biking accident in Utah this spring. I wish I could tell you I was attempting some daredevil feat, but my fall happened at low speed and over a small outcropping of rock. Not very impressive, but still painful. My body, I knew, would heal. I was more worried about the unseen damage.

Riding my bike in the months that followed, I was unusually tentative, choosing “safe” paths and braking at the slightest hiccup in the trail. But I kept going: I figured if I just kept at it, I’d eventually get my mojo back.

Then my sister – who was riding her bike through a quiet neighborhood — told me she’d nearly been run over by a motorist who blasted through an intersection and didn’t stop. It was a close call, but my sister has an outsized sense of justice so she pedaled furiously after the driver (which is both awesome and slightly terrifying) all the way to the woman’s house. The police were called, the woman confessed, and justice was served. It could have been a lot worse. But there was a casualty after all. “It really scared me,” said my sister. “I used to LOVE riding my bike.” She paused. “But thanks to that driver, I don’t want to anymore. “ Another pause. “She stole that from me.”

In the past I would have offered advice like, “You can’t let other people’s actions dictate the way you live,” but my sister’s words made me shudder at the cold truth of what had also happened to me. In my case, it was a rock outcropping and wobbliness that had caused my fall, but the accident had taken the same thing from me as the near-miss had taken from my sister. I hadn’t stopped riding my bike like she had, but I knew one thing in my heart: I was close.

I reflect on this as the New Year newly unravels. 2015 is already poised to take from me the determination to reclaim my former biking confidence. It’s going to be my make-or-break year not just for biking but for some adventures I’ve started to convince myself I’m too old for. There are, in fact, a number of items I’ve considered crossing off my bucket list and 2015 looks like the year I might. And while I may be able to convince myself that I’m just being practical, what I know in my heart is that it all comes down to fear. I’ve got plenty of reasonable excuses — what I need more of is resolve. The fear that is keeping me from committing to re-building my biking skills is the same fear that will rob me of the energy to chase the ideas and dreams I want to pursue. Because once fear closes one door, it will close another, and another. Riding my bike with abandon again seems like a tangible way to keep it at bay.

What does 2015 want to take from you? It’s a sobering thought, but take a little time as you replace one calendar with another to think about what fear might keep you from doing this year. Then fire up your resolve and blast into this next year with a commitment to calling your own shots. Even if someone or something tries to run you down.

What about you? What does 2015 want to steal from you and how will you stop it?

1 Comment

  1. Chris McLeod said...


    Thank you for underscoring the way a fall or accident can impact our mindset. About 20 yrs ago, I had a serious horseback Riding accident and ended up with knee surgery and months of rehab. I was humbled how quickly my sense of strength and resiliency disappeared. Gratefully, I recovered 100 % of my mobility and strength ( and yes, I eventually got back on the horse) but it made me a lot more mindful of what I LOVED to do and other things I just did for exercise. ( rise my bike). I kept riding but about 8 years ago I stopped riding my bike anywhere other than the greenway because of other people, their cellphone distractions, etc. I’m all about not making up stories about “feeling old” but i also want to be mindful of what makes my heart sing – and what makes it stop from healthy fears. For 2015, I’m taking on some emotional risks, since those are actually harder for me. Thank you for your always incisive and provocative questions.

    Comment posted on January 8, 2015 at 4:59 am

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