Growing through Hard Work…and Fun!
Hard work: even the sound of those very words has a draining effect. When I’m on vacation, or away from work, do I really want to work hard? What about you? Do you like to work hard? Wouldn’t you rather spend your leisure time, well—at leisure?
I had to reconcile that contradiction on this summer’s Mom-to-Mom bicycle tour. Just two days after we returned, our new superintendent addressed the school staff. He said, “You know when you are working really hard on seemingly the hardest thing you have ever done, and you later think about how much fun it was?” That statement resonated with me—that is exactly how I felt about our Mom-to-Mom bike trip.
There were times in the South that I thought my skin was going to dry up and wrinkle right off my body from day long exposure to the sun. There were times when I was so exhausted from the heat and the riding that I didn’t think I could go on. There was at least one time when my load felt so heavy climbing a steep hill that I had to get off my bike and walk it (how humiliating—and by then I was in pretty good shape!). And there were times when I had absolutely no energy and thought about selling my bike and hitching a ride home—leaving Tim to fend for himself! But my skin is still intact. I’m stronger—not in spite of, but—thanks to the physical exertion. And, alas, we made it home—together!
Each new day was a chance to start over. Each new day was a day to freshen up, perhaps even smarten up or grow up! And, in the end, all that hard work WAS really fun. The memories that are beginning to emerge confirm it. So the next time you are working your tail off, please bear in mind that some day you may well look back on it as one of the more enjoyable, if not rewarding, times you have ever had. And you will be the better for having endured.
More Mom-to-Mom Post-trip Thoughts
Tim shared some post-trip thoughts last week, so I thought I would add some he didn’t cover. The Mom-to-Mom tour was quite different from our first bike tour in 2010. We were newlyweds then, so part of our challenge was to learn how to get along after being single for fifty-two years (more about this, of course, in our upcoming book, Two Are Better). We’ve grown as a couple since then. The best thing about this summer’s trip was how close I felt to Tim. I have grown to respect him more and recognize all that he puts into a trip. His navigating and his protection of me helped me feel secure, loved, and cared for. As I shared above, the trip was physically demanding at times, but we were in it together.
We will never have an experience like this bike tour, just like we will never have an experience like our coast-to-coast bike tour in 2010. It made me realize that every day is a special occasion and that we need to live each day to the fullest. A day will come when we won’t be able to do what we are doing now. What about you? What will you regret when tomorrow comes, and you no longer have the opportunity or ability to pursue a passion you have today? Take steps while you still can to prevent tomorrow’s regrets.