Hills, Headwind, And Going The Distance

Being alone as much as I am has its pros and cons. Without going into detail, one thing is certain.

I tend to think too much. emoticon-thinking-wallpapers_12816_1600x1200[1]

Possibilities, ramifications, and consequences swirl like a maelstrom inside my head. Most times they stay there, confined and secure; other times they seep out and interact with others in my life. The storm eventually blows over, leaving me calm and peaceful; most times it refuses to stop or even to slow down. And it wears me down.

While many of you reading this now might think of that as a disadvantage, I am here to tell you from first hand experience that is not always the case.

Sure, over the years this has proven burdensome. But, on the flipside, it continues to enable me to survive and overcome the worst situations, given time and patience. If I think enough about a specific situation, I can think of it metaphorically and it helps me to move through it. Not just move through it, but rise above it to become a better, stronger person.

Usually, I have alot of time to think. But, I do most of my best thinking when I work out. Cycling and running provide me a fertile ground for analyzing my life against any manner of metaphor.

Each time I run or cycle in a new area, and even sometimes when I return to the same spots, I still battle certain elements in the terrain that are less satisfying…at least on the surface.

The routes I used to cycle and run back in Houston didn’t have many hills. If there were hills, they were low grade and gradual enough that I didn’t always realize that I was actually on a hill. Not so here in Austin. Every route I have run or cycled on here has been of considerable grade, by any standards. 

When I plow through these, whether on foot or on wheels, I analyze the terrain in the following ways. Even more apropos as I face the dawn of the new year, with all of the challenges and joys that will inevitably travel with it.

thCASKICJGHills are representative of any troubles that exist in life on a daily basis. The low grade, gradual hills are the easier, daily challenges that tend to be forgotten the next day. These hills have greater visibility, which clears the way toward the target on the other side. The high grade hills, the ones I need to throw my bike into low gear to power through, are those more intense challenges that punctuate everyone’s lives and tend to hang around longer. The other side of the hill is not visible on higher grade hills. Energy loss, decreased stamina, and a need to slow down to crest the hill are some of the symptoms that result.

But, the downhill thrill is so much more exhilarating. Bigger challenge = bigger success. More than that, the downhill is like a renewal, a breather and time to relax before the next challenge presents itself.

Headwind is always an issue. The obvious impact of headwind is that you slow down but work harder to go the same distance. One interesting side effect when cycling is that it makes it difficult to hear what is going on around you: the birds, the rustle of the leaves, the spin of the pedals, and the beat of your heart. I imagined on yesterday’s ride that it was God’s whisper trying to break through the chaos of my life. If only I could have deciphered all of His word.874233788[1]

The traffic further complicates the ride: more noise, more dangerous diversions, more near misses. Attention to the details is critical to avoid injury or instant death. On more than one bike ride I have almost run myself into a ditch trying to make room for a passing car and almost fallen off my bike two different times while maneuvering at traffic lights.

bucks2[1]There are frequent straightaways. Straightways are not challenging, unless they go on for miles at which point they become boring. Then, the challenge for the cyclist is to stay engaged in the ride. But, straightaways are restful and dependable, even necessary. Too many of them, though, and you tend to get bored and complacent.

Overall, life is like a long bike ride. The hills, the headwind, the traffic, and the straightaways combine to make life interesting, exciting, fulfilling, exhausting, and enjoyable at intervals that God designs and sees us all through. And, on either side is a beginning and the end.

No matter the length or destination, I intend to enjoy the ride and to go the distance.

© 2010-2013 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

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