A few days ago, I posted a picture of my new bike on Facebook, and I mentioned briefly how I think everyone needs a “thing.” I think this is especially important for women, as we often lose ourselves in taking care of others…our husbands, our children, heck, sometimes even our pets. We forget to focus on ourselves, on who we really are.
I Lost My Identity
Years ago, when I was married to my first husband, I let this happen to me. I was a stay-at-home mom, and I let my entire life become about taking care of my two children and my husband. I focused all my energy on them and none on myself.
And suddenly, I was divorced!
It hit me then; I didn’t even know who I was. My identity and self-worth were wrapped up in other people.
As I started trying to figure out who I was, I stumbled on bike riding. From the time I was a young child, I’d loved riding a bike. I have so many memories of riding my bike around the neighborhood with my friends. My friends and I rode our bikes everywhere! First, I remember riding a little single-speed with a banana seat. Then my parents bought me a Schwinn 10-speed, and I was in heaven! Later, as an adult, I purchased a cheap, clunky bike from Target, and I rode it, but only occasionally.
It wasn’t yet a “thing.”
I Found My Identity
Then, I went on a date with a guy who competed in triathlons, and he spiked my interest in serious riding. As soon as I could scrape up the money, I bought my first real bike—a beautiful yellow and blue Specialized road bike.
I remember my first ride at River Legacy park in Arlington. The smell of the fresh air, the feel of the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin. It was an overwhelming sense of peace and belonging and rightness.
Suddenly, I had my “thing.”
In the years since then, I’ve had numerous bikes: a road bike, a couple mountain bikes, and now the cruiser in the picture up above. But regardless of the bike, they all provide me with the same thing: an identity. I’m a cyclist.
Yes, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m an employee.
But in addition to all those things, I’m a cyclist. It’s who I am.
Cycling allows me to devote time to myself. Sometimes I use that time to focus on improving my physical fitness. Sometimes I use it to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Sometimes I use it as time to think, to work out challenges in my life, to quiet all the crazy in my head.
What About You?
Think about your life. Are you consumed with taking care of other people? With work? With just the general craziness of life? Do you carve out time in your day for yourself?
Do you have a “thing?”
If not, what could you do just for yourself?
It doesn’t have to be something that takes up a lot of time. It can be something very easy and simple. It only needs to be something that allows you to focus on just you…something that fulfills you in some way, something that makes you happy, something that brings you peace.
This is not being selfish; this self-care, and it’s important.