0.1 - Embracing the Fallout
Updated: Jul 8, 2018
Put in my notice at work today, told them my plan. Coffee and anxiety are a less-than-pleasant combination.
“Get up, get down. Get up, get down. Feel the turn of the rotation, and stop”
Sylvan Esso’s Coffee buzzed through my headphones this morning as I dismounted my bike, slung it over my shoulder, and carried it into the elevator up to the office. Today was going to be interesting, and as it would turn out, the caffeine-induced highs and lows metaphorized in Amelia Meath’s lyrics would set the tone for the day more than I would realize.
Anxiety. Coffee. More anxiety. More coffee. So goes the Monday Tango. Today’s dance in particular was shaping up to be especially tumultuous, as I still needed to tell the remaining ⅔ of my bosses I'd be leaving the company at the end of the month to pedal west for the summer. Gulp. I needed to take lunch before breaking the news.
I won't bog down this post with the details of either conversation, but thankfully, everyone was pretty understanding and supportive. I was relieved to know that all things considered, I'd be exiting on a good note.
Some did, however, raise questions as to my reasoning and rationale. Leaving after less than 1.5 years on the job? A job in the field I'd wanted to work in at a company I really enjoy? Why??
They were making some really great points. While they were mostly throwing me shade and bummed I was leaving, which I can understand, it really got me thinking. What am I doing?
Why was I choosing to leave a great job now, just when I'm starting to get really comfortable and as things are really picking up in the industry? With no help from one more cup of coffee, I was in my head the rest of the day, seriously doubting myself and my confidence in my decision.
I was still shaken when I got home, and I knew that I'd needed to test out my new clipless pedals I'd received in the mail the week prior. Another thing I'd never done. Ever. And I'm supposed to start a 4,000-mile bike ride in less than three weeks. “What am I thinking? Is this a huge mistake?”, I kept asking myself.
But at the park with my new pedals and cleats (I'd been advised to practice somewhere soft, as I'd almost certainly fall), something wonderful happened. On my first attempt I clicked into my pedals, and clicked out with ease. Astonished, I clicked back in and sped off with energy I seemingly summoned from thin air.
I pedaled on for about 20 miles, marveling at the difference the pedals made, and how quickly I started to feel comfortable. As I rode the gravity of my situation slowly began to melt away. Heavy feelings of doubt, fear, and anxiety seemed to lift up off my skin like pollen off a petal, and beads of sweat grew in their stead. The combination of the mild-mannered breeze sweeping coolly through my hair (under my helmet, of course), the crisp, spring evening air and the sun setting over the treeline reminded me how beautiful life often is on two wheels. How far you can travel and how much you can explore, all under the strength of your own two legs, of you. It was a spiritual experience. A reawakening.
The only thoughts running through my head the rest of the ride pertained to when to shift, when to stand up and power forward, and when to sit back and recoup for the next burst.
It all came so naturally, so subconsciously, I barely thought at all. As I pulled up to one of the last intersections ahead of my apartment, I felt rejuvenated and inspired - excited, but tranquil. My mind was at peace.
Too much so, it turned out, as it failed to register I was on clipless pedals and needed to clip out as I rolled up to to the stoplight. By the time I realized, it was too late. Like a freshly chopped tree, I toppled over onto the tarmac with my bike on top of me. I guess the day needed to knock me down one last time, but this time it didn’t bother me. When get knocked down, sometimes all you can do is to get back up and keep going, rolling with the punches as they come.
With a complexion as red as the stoplight I was facing, and a freshly bruised tailbone (along with my pride), I clipped back in and rode on home, smiling all the way.