What would a 10-year-old you do?

  
It started with a bike ride (as most things do in my life to be honest). 

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.

 

F

 

 

8 thoughts on “What would a 10-year-old you do?

  1. Sometimes, life is just too short to ride a bike that you don’t like and make what can be a pleasure a chore. I changed from a heavy framed bike to a very inexpensive lightweight hybrid last year and I haven’t regretted it for a second. Initially, my OH, who is a cycling fanatic, laughed at my choice, but the moment I got on it, I felt like I was a 10 year old again and I just loved riding it. I just knew instantly it was the one for me. We now share it. He loves riding it too and uses it more than I do, so he doesn’t have to use his expensive road bike for getting about town.

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  2. Reconnecting to the 10-year-old-self is a good way to think. I’ts mostly healthy for the mind, but don’t forget mind and body goes together. And if you can trade in you got “lighter” for your wallet and enjoy cycling even more.

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  3. I’m having serious bike envy right now. My brand new bike was stolen only 3 weeks after I bought her (she was known as Florence, The Machine *blush*) and I never replaced her. Living in Johannesburg, South Africa, we sadly don’t have any bike lanes and cycling around here is not viable from a commuting perspective. But having said that I wholeheartedly support your 10-year old self’s view…nothing quite so freeing as a fast bike! You’ve made me want to buy a bike again soon – even if I just use her to go to the shops.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your loss, I’ve been unlucky enough to have a bike stolen in the past and that loss of freedom can be hard to take.
      There are plenty of other ways for you to listen to your younger self in day to day life, it’s about removing the restrictions we put on ourselves as we get older which stop us living the life we really want.
      Riding fast is what kick-started the thinking for me, let me know how you get on in finding others! F

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  4. Great post and very well put. It’s so easy to do the safe and practical things all the time and we get so used to doing this we forget how to live and have fun for the sake of it. I really like the idea of thinking what your much younger self would do. I will be putting this into practice! Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Justine, agree that it’s easy to be safe and practical and before you know it you can be missing out on having fun and living more. You’re right when you say we should have fun for the sake of it, I’ll be trying to remember that as well when I’m trying to shake off Mr Practical! F

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