How many times have you told yourself you can’t do something or don’t like something? That’s exactly how I felt about cycling. I couldn’t understand why my husband wanted to go on four-hour bike rides on the weekends and was convinced I just didn’t like biking.
Then I went to Italy.
When I was trying to think of something to do for my husband’s birthday and our wedding anniversary (which are just a few days apart), I came across a new tour offered by VBT Tours. The weeklong trip was a bike tour of the Piedmont region and included a day of truffle hunting (one of my bucket list items). I figured the cycling would be for him, the truffles would be for me, and maybe I’d cruise around a little bit on a bike.
With so much traveling happening before this trip, I put the details of the itinerary aside until a day or two before we left. That’s when I realized I had signed us up for a tour that consisted of a minimum of 30 miles a day on a bike for 6 days. Uh oh, what did I just get myself into?
I arrived in Italy with some hesitation telling myself that I could just sit in the support van or stay at the hotel while Ross went out. Surely, I wouldn’t like all that biking.
The first day we got there, we got fitted for bikes and another realization came: uh oh, these are road bikes. I’ve never ridden on one! My husband encouraged me to give it shot and taught me some of the basics of braking and shifting gears. I shakily tried it and took a short spin around the vineyard where we were staying.
Fast forward six days later: I’ve crushed over 125 miles on the bike and tackled some steep hills along the way. And guess what? I love cycling!
This experience reminded me that we often write stories for ourselves that aren’t true or are outdated. Yes, there will always be things in life we genuinely dislike no matter how hard we try (I’m looking at you hummus). But, many times, especially when it comes to experiences, we have predetermined perceptions about ourselves.
After my dad died, I was convinced I was an anxious person. I would approach every situation through the lens of “I’m overwhelmed” and “I’m so anxious.” That dictated how I experienced everything in life from work to family and relationships. Yes, I was an anxious person because I convinced myself of that. It was my story. Turns out, I’m not so anxious.
When I looked back at how I used to think and handle situations, I was very optimistic and laid back. Sure, I think about the future a lot and how I want it to go. But, that made me a driven person. This feeling of anxiety was situational because I was going through a traumatic event. It wasn’t who I truly was.
So, I changed my story and wrote a new chapter using character traits of who I wanted to be, not who I thought I was. This shift in thinking changed everything in my life for the better and is a continual process. Just look at the cycling trip!
Ask yourself, what story are you writing for yourself? Do you want to change that story? If, so then get that pen out and start a writing a new chapter.