Young or old, learning is a part of growing. In the first three years of our lives, we begin learning basic cognitive, verbal, social, emotional and motor skills. Being curious, we want to see, touch, eat, smell, and try everything. We have little to no fear. The world seems a very exciting place.
As we get older, loved ones, friends and teachers begin to warn us about the dangers around every corner. These good-hearted friends try to look out for us by sharing with us those dangers they themselves have experienced. Unfortunately, sometimes these warnings begin to shape our outlook on life and our willingness to try new things. The scary part is often we fail to even realize it.
When it happens the young self that once wanted to try everything, explore and be daring, slowly starts to wither up and melt away insidiously. If you were the extremely careless or reckless type and liked to live on the edge this can be a good thing. Having someone there might serve you well to look out for you and remind you how precious life is and how short it can be. What’s important to remember is to have balance in our lives. We should retain that desire to be excited by learning something new and expand our existing comfort zone. We must also know when to be a little cautious. Our survival requires it.
I decided a few years ago to do exactly what I had always taught my girls to do. I would be open to trying new things, face my fears, and live a little. I wanted to set a goal for myself each year and try something I had not done before. In the process, I might even meet some new friends along the way. Just thinking about the possibilities made me excited. The sky was the limit. I decided to get my motorcycle license. I knew full well the dangers of the sport, but I really wanted to experience the feeling that only riding can give you.
I began to research the process. I watched some videos and spoke to some men and women who ride. I knew without a doubt the first thing I would do was take the two day Highway Patrol Safety Course. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to ride. Then I needed to pass the written test for my Class MI license.
After months of planning, training and test taking I was ready to purchase my motorcycle. For those of you that don’t know me, I am 5’3”. This makes it a challenge to hop on just any motorcycle and ride off into the sunset. I spent a lot of time sitting on different styles looking for just the right size. I wanted one that I could easily reach the ground. I also had my mind set on a certain look. Although I love “speed” I am not a sports bike girl (at least not yet). I wasn’t interested in buying a brand new bike so I looked for a used bike in my price point. Locating a used bike with low miles, in good condition, in my size….now that’s a tall order (no pun intended). With the help of a good friend and a lot of patience, I finally found the motorcycle I wanted. Now I ride off into the sunset…NOPE!
There is still much to do and learn. Just because I took the course doesn’t mean I can ride my new motorcycle safely with ease and grace. This is serious stuff, a motorcycle can be very dangerous and should be ridden as if everyone out there is trying to kill you.
I was not allowed to ride on the road with other cars until my riding instructor and friend was completely satisfied I was capable of starting, stopping, turning, and making u-turns without killing myself or someone else. This included several days of training, lessons in a parking lot and on deserted roads. This went on for several weeks, and honestly, I wasn’t sure I was ever going to ride by myself. At one point I even considered selling my bike and giving up the dream, throwing in the towel. It was at that point I had to remind myself why I started this process in the first place. Remind myself why I got my license and chose to command a piece of machinery that outweighs me by over 400 pounds and gives no protection from potential death.
I reminded myself to be like the once young girl I was. The one that wanted to explore everything this world had to offer. I wanted to keep all of my basic learning skills sharp. I reminded myself that I never give up and by doing so I would have let myself down. Quitting is not an option for me.
If we are remiss in learning new and exciting things during our lifetime, we’re then choosing to die a slow death. We must keep all cylinders firing until the end. Don’t be satisfied with mediocre. Expand your horizons, get out there live, learn and enjoy what this world has to offer.