There is more to life than increasing its speed. -Gandhi
Skyline Drive schooled me on slowing down my life this weekend. Sunday morning I set off for a 100 mile training ride with a group of riders. Starting in Sperryville, Virginia at the base of the mountains, we started the morning in good spirits. Within the first 20 minutes I found myself biking my heart out at full exertion at what seemed to be a never-ending ascent. Once we finally reached a stopping point for a breather, I lamented to my coach Debi asking her how much further we had to bike uphill and how I could possibly make it. She laughed, told me to simply stop trying so hard, to stop rushing the climb, and to slow down. Then she nonchalantly added that we had “about” thirty more miles of climbing to do. We had only done seven at that point. I thought I was going to die.
I didn’t know how I was going to slow down as per Debi’s instructions without toppling over on my bike as I peddled along at a snail’s pace uphill, but I knew that I had to try because otherwise I would have never survived the remaining six hours of the ride.
Miraculously, Debi was right, as is Gandhi. It turns out that there is something to this “slowing down” thing. Over the next 30 miles of the climb I embraced the word “slow,” and in it, I found peace. My heart rate stayed controlled, my attitude was positive, and when I looked at the ahead road — the constant upward climb — I never once got discouraged. Strangely, I found myself enjoying it.
Life is no different. It is when we stop worrying about lies ahead of us that we are able to accept the hills and valleys that are bound to be a part of our journey. Pace yourself on life’s hills, be them weight-loss, financial planning, or self-improvement. Forget about increasing your speed and just calmly embrace the insanity in the hills of life that makes life so very interesting.