What's Your Passion?
I used to hate when people would ask me that question. I never had an answer and always felt inferior because of it. My father had music. My mother and sister had gardening. Sports, Art, Teaching.....it seemed like everyone I knew had something. There are plenty of things I enjoy doing, but a passion? Something was missing.
Then last year when I was training for a 50 mile walk, I mentioned to a friend that when the walk was over, I wanted to try something else...maybe cycling. She suggested I come to one of Friday night "Ladies Rides" organized by a local bike shop. I imagined a group of hard-core spandex wearing tri-athletes, but I went.
I met lots of different women that night. I've lived here for 27 years and all of a sudden there were all these really great women that I'd never met before! They were a mixture of cyclists, runners, tri-athletes, non-athletes, mothers, mothers with their teenage daughters. Many others were new that night also. We rode about 6 miles, stopped, asked around...."Who wants to go farther?" Some did, some turned around for the ride back to the bike shop. No one rode alone. Back at the bike shop, the women brought out wine, chips, dip, etc. Oh! A party! Every Friday is like this? I'm in!
Since then I've ridden many miles and spent many a Friday evening at the bike shop. I moved past the Friday night ride and have ridden up to 35 miles. I haven't ridden alone yet. From this group there is always someone willing to ride. We encourage each other. We laugh a lot. We connect in a meaningful way...which has always been another passion of mine...to recognize yourself in someone else.
I am in love. With cycling. Even without the support of my fellow riders, cycling makes me feel strong. It is reliable like an old friend. It is the psychotherapist that clears out my brain. I spend a lot of time (too much maybe) thinking about the relationships in my life. Cycling is where I can forget about all of that. Cycling is about me. It's about being out in the middle of this landscape appreciating the beauty of the cornfields where you can see for miles.
A few weeks ago, I bought a new bike. It's the first real 'toy' I've ever splurged on for myself. It should last me many decades to come. When you break it down into 'smiles per mile' it won't cost much at all.
I have a passion. And her name is Dr. Ruby.