Scaredy Nicole Wears Blue. This Was Not Part Of The Plan!

This weekend I got on my bike for the first time since 2003. I know! It felt like quite the undertaking. I stopped going for bike rides when I was pregnant with Mark, and then I never started again. My husband rides with the kids, but the truth is I’m not a strong rider, I cannot ride in traffic without panicking, and I just can’t deal with worrying about the kids riding WHILE I’m riding. But the kids are now at an age where they are perfectly competent, and they’ve expressed interest in “family bike rides” and so I thought riding up at the lake, where there is little traffic and few things to worry about, might be just the ticket. I also remembered how shocked the kids were to learn that I actually know how to swim, and so I thought in some way I should show them that their mother is actually capable of riding a bike.

So my husband dragged my bike out of storage, and tuned it up a bit. I went out and bought a bike skirt because if I’m going to spend any amount of time doing an athletic activity, I want to do it looking nice.

bikeskirt

My friend Alice (HI ALICE) expressed concern about the colour. She thought the blue was too bright for me, and that I resemble a flower, and will get swarmed by marauding butterflies. If this happens, I will probably die. Or scream.

Anyway, I nervously rode with the boys and it was pretty fun, so I guess we are going on family bike rides now. It’s one of my goals to be more sporty and active with the kids, and as long as I have a cute outfit, I’m good to go. Right?

A friend (HI JOANNE) posted a long quote about embracing yourself as you are and I just have to share the last part:

 I don’t want to waste one more precious, livable moment being anything other than totally thrilled that I’m here! I’m alive! I get to live every day in this body that my soul chose and my only job is to honor it with a full life!”
~ Christina Vanvuren

So I guess I’ll be bike riding more often. I’m not sure if ANYONE is capable of being in a state of thrill every second of every day, but it’s good to remember that it is good to be alive.

Social media is a funny thing, isn’t it? For the most part, I love it, and not just because I have a job based on it. I really like to peek into other people’s lives and celebrate their little victories and happiness. I love photos of pets, kids, and vacations. I love selfies, recipes, pictures of what someone had for dinner, and links to funny or interesting stories. Most of all, I love personal stories. The other day, a woman I know from yoga (HI LAURA) posted an anecdote in which she and her one year old son were in Starbucks and were approached by an elderly lady with dementia. This elderly lady thought that Laura’s baby was her own grandson, and instead of correcting her, Laura sat down and had visited with her. Not one out of one hundred people would do that, I think. What a kindness. This has stayed in my thoughts and has given me a goal to be more open and kind. Think about it – what a gift she gave that lady, the gift of dignity and kindness. I want to be more like Laura.

Then there’s the flip side of social media, the passive aggressive updates, the angry link posting and the threads that follow, the invitations to express differing views followed by the total rage that results from people expressing differing views. I’ve actually seen friendships – actual, real-life friendships – disintegrate over vaccination discussions and political decisions. Just this weekend, someone posted a piece about the price of starter homes. The thread that followed was basically many people agreeing that no one but the very rich can afford to buy a house, and buying a house is stupid anyway. Then one of my friends very reasonably and calmly commented that, by making informed decisions and figuring out where one’s priorities lie, most people can in fact purchase a home. He also – very reasonably – pointed out that the definition of “starter home” is possibly flawed; a 2500 square foot house with all new appliances might not fit this description.

I strongly agree with this last point. My husband and I bought this house in 2000, and it was in terrible shape at the time. The living room was bright pink with shiny forest green trim, and featured a giant fireplace with gold-toned rock work. The basement was panel board and linoleum, the kitchen had five different – but coordinated! – patterns of wallpaper, and the bathroom had BROWN FIXTURES. The kitchen cupboards and drawers were homemade in 1962 and required a great deal of strength to open and close them. The linen cupboards smelled like ginger and garlic had gone in there to die and the gardens were completely overrun by weeds and grass. That, my friends, is a starter home.

But I digress. After my friend made these very reasonable points, and also drew on his own experiences and setbacks, he was immediately attacked by the other commenters. People said some really mean, cutting things, and THAT is what I hate about social media. I hate the pretence that everyone is open minded and can express opinions freely, but if someone does that, then they get attacked. I hate that people say things that they very likely would not say face to face, and most of all, I hate when people follow up a mean comment with a smiley emoticon and/ or an “lol!”. THE LOL DOES NOT CANCEL OUT WHAT YOU SAID, PEOPLE.

Well, we can’t control what others do, we can only control our own reactions and behaviour, and that’s why there’s the “I don’t want to see this” option. And in the meantime, I will be thinking to myself “What Would Laura Do?” Laura probably wouldn’t write a blog post about what she hates about social media. Hmm. Too late now, and so if I do get swarmed by marauding butterflies, it will be karma, I guess. xo

Comments

  1. If you get swarmed by marauding butterflies it will be beautiful. Unless you are afraid of butterflies. Are you afraid of butterflies? I think they are lovely.

    I once saw a Persimmon tree in TX and it was completely covered in butterflies. True story. It was amazing!

    Sorry about the FB dissension on your friend’s wall. I mostly try to run away when I see icky stuff. A helpful saying, for times such as these, is: “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” 😀

    Now getting swarmed by monkeys … *that* would be horrifying! *shudders*

    Do not buy a banana coloured skirt. Just in case.

  2. I think your skirt is darling. We have been talking about getting some bikes. *I* haven’t ridden a bike since I was…about 15. We’ll start with getting C (my 12 yo) one and go from there. Like you, my kids need to know that Mom can do some things they’ve never seen me do.

    I completely agree with you about social media. I just try to ignore the negative stuff. If someone posts a lot of divisive things, I hide their posts, unless they’re REALLY toxic, and then I defriend them. i agree that people say a lot of things online that they would never say face to face, and I don’t know how we stop that. I suppose, as you say, we should just ignore it. Yet if your friend hadn’t said anything, all those people would never had heard an alternate viewpoint. I guess it’s not worth speaking out if they refuse to listen to reason, though.

  3. bibliomama2 says:

    An old acquaintance from high school just friended me on Facebook. Her feed was full of nothing but games and silly quizzes (not the good one that says that Atticus Finch is our husband and we’re sister wives, that one is very worthwhile and prescient). Then she posted an unfunny joke about Brucy Jenner’s transition.

    Sigh.

  4. I rode a bike for the first time in 17 years, 3 years ago. It’s true you really don’t forget howe, but I HAD forgotten how fun it is. I still don’t own one, but I rent them at the beach to get around town.

  5. Hey, Atticus Finch is my literary husband too! Guess there’s plenty of him to go around :). I feel like I’ve been lucky on Facebook – no dramatic events among friends that I’m aware of, at least. Maybe I just need to go there more. Love the new bike skirt!

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