In Empathy, Humility, Perspective, Wednesday Wisdom

When life knocks you over, get back up and keep going.

My friend, Becky, gave me a t-shirt for Christmas that reminded me of a spill that I took on my bike last summer. You might be thinking, what a great friend, huh?! Or that it’s January in Iowa and perhaps a story about a bike isn’t exactly timely (except for my fat-tire bike riding friends!). Stick with me here.

“Research from Athletic social networking site Strava reveals that January 12th is the most common day for the formerly resolute to start waving that white flag.”’s-resolutions/ar-BBQv644?ocid=spartanntp

In other words, New Year’s resolutions typically last about twelve days.

Friends – January 12 is this weekend. Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? How’s it going? Will you be validating this statistic? If so, you’re going to experience the metaphorical equivalent of my bike fall (or maybe fail?).

It was July; I was about a mile and a half from my house. Almost home. Of the group I was riding with, I was the first to reach a busy intersection, so I hit the pedestrian button to trigger the crosswalk signal. Unfortunately, after I pressed the button, I found myself slooooowly falling over. I didn’t clip out fast enough; my bike was still attached to my shoes. For non-bike nerds (or aficionados), this meant that my biking shoes were still connected to the bike pedals. My foot, still in that shoe, was unable to break free to provide the support I needed for balance when stopped.

My brain knew what was happening, but my body wasn’t able to respond fast enough, and I ended up on the ground. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon. At one of busiest intersections in Cedar Rapids.

Physically, my bike and I were a bit banged up but absolutely fine. My ego sustained the most damage. Of course it happened in front of my friends and about a million people who just happened to be at that same intersection. And, truth be told, I just wanted to be done riding my bike and walk home.

I’m exaggerating about the number of people who witnessed the event. And about the significance of the tumble. Sure, I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself. But that’s what mistakes and ‘failures’ can feel like sometimes. Like we are a victim of circumstances. Like everyone was watching – and judging. And likely there is a strong desire to give up.

And that’s what a ‘failed’ New Year’s resolution might be to you now. I tried; it didn’t work; I’m done. That’s how change feels in other areas of life too.

But here’s the rest of the story. And it can help your story too.

I got back on my bike and pedaled home. A bit sore, but riding my bike. I shared my story with other friends, and this helped me put the event in perspective. It truly was trivial in the grand scheme of life. It’s happened to many bikers before me. And it will likely happen to me again.

The gift was a fun reminder about how I want to handle future ‘failures’ — with humor and grace.

Statistics indicate if you made a New Year’s resolution it’s probably not going to last. And you decide how you are going to handle it. My advice – get perspective, add a bit of humor and grace, and get back on the bike.

How have you handled life’s latest fail?






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