I was riding to work on my reliable (but very heavy) commuting bike and as always it was taking me forever to get to the office, using up all my effort and, frankly, riding just didn’t feel fun.
I thought back to when I was a kid and how much I loved riding my bike; cycling back then was about seeing how quickly you could go, racing about, getting out of breath, and feeling free. I loved my bike and it was a simple pleasure.
If I contrast those feeling with those I felt cycling to work, they couldn’t be more different. My bike was a heavy workhorse, what it lacked in fun it made up for in reliability. I ride it more than 20 miles a day and while it gets me from A to B, riding it just didn’t bring me the same sort of pleasure I got from cycling when I was a child.
I’d managed to take the pleasure out of something I love.
So I reconnected with my 10-year-old-self and what did he say?
‘Let’s go faster!’
So I traded in my commuting bike for one that is faster. A bike that’s about fun rather than boring old reliability and guess what, I’ve turned a boring commute into a great start to the day.
I’m not advocating reckless cycling here – I’m a safe cyclist – I’m talking about something bigger.
When we’re children we take pleasure in simple things, we take on challenges because we’re not scared to fail and we experience more because we think of life as an adventure.
As we get older we lose these traits. We start to look at the hurdles, we’re worried about repercussions, we question whether something that is fun and spontaneous is the best use of our time, whether there is a more prudent or effective way to do something rather than just go for it.
In some cases we may just feel we’re ‘too old’ to do something.
Getting rid of the stuff in our life, stuff that marked us out as ‘grown-ups’ and ‘successful adults’ has left room to ask these questions of ourselves and one of the most important is: have we forgotten how to have spontaneous fun?
In the last few years I have been Mr Practical, everything I did had to be the most efficient way to do things or there was no point to it. It helped me get to where I am now but there wasn’t much enjoyment in it and the daily grind became exactly that.
I’m trying now instead to look at an opportunity to experience life like I did when I was younger, and ask; ‘how can I make this more fun?’
So from now on, I’ll be consulting my 10-year-old-self on what he thinks I should do.