So, this might come as a surprise… but I never learned how to ride a bike. Like, not ever.
My mom wouldn’t let me.
Starting as a pre-teen, I was the breadwinner of the family, teaching dance around the country. And my mom was afraid that I would hurt myself on a bike, so learning how to ride was out of the question.
It seems like such a normal part of American life… It’s something you learn when you’re a kid, or something that you teach your children. It’s so related to developing your sense of freedom when you’re young, and teaching your children to have a sense of independence and developing their self-esteem as a caregiver.
But for my mom, my learning how to ride a bike meant loss of control… and potential family ruin.
So, why now, in my 50s, do I want to finally learn how to ride a bike? Why, after all these years? Why has this become important to me?
Recently, I told a friend of mine that I wanted, finally, to learn how to ride a bike. And he was so surprised! He couldn’t believe that I never learned. He said, “But you have such great balance! It would be so easy for you.”
I thought his response was really interesting. He assumed that because I’m a dancer, I must have great balance, and therefore, of course! Riding a bike would be so easy. Well, yes, maybe…
Balance isn’t just in the body. It’s not just a physical skill. It’s also in the mind and the spirit..
So, for me, learning how to ride a bike goes beyond just the actual riding of the bike. It begins before I even touch the handlebars. Because, first, I have to battle a bunch of childhood demons before getting the benefits of riding a bike.
Of course, I think that’s why I want to learn, because I want to overcome my fear.
Finding balance—at home, at work, in relationships, in art, on a bicycle—is all about overcoming fear and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It’s about making decisions.
So… back to the why. It’s all about the why.
I think a big part of why now is because I’m fighting for a new balance in my own life. Everything’s different now that we’re all at home. Routines have changed, and responsibilities have shifted.
And so many of us are battling for balance, a way to juggle it all, not just at home, but in our communities. How can we balance everyone’s needs? What’s an appropriate balance of force in policing? And how can we balance out the scales of justice?
Balance goes way beyond whether or not you can stand on one leg, go up onto the balls of the feet in releve, or even ride a bicycle.
What does balance mean for you?
The original blog was published in the Salimpour School blog on September 4, 2020.