I read this article the other day about an Irish journalist in Cork, Ireland, who’s learning to drive a car for the first time at age 32.
I can relate.
Actually, I got my Driver’s License at age 17 and passed the test on the first try. So I’ve been a licensed driver for 13 years… however, I live in New York City so I almost never drive. It’s weird that there’s this major skill that other people find so easy but I find so rusty.
It was the same with biking. I never really got around to taking the training wheels off my bike as a kid. So as an adult, whenever friends of mine proposed going biking, I turned them down. Then, when I was 19 and studying abroad in Italy, there came a biking experience I couldn’t turn down. We were going to bike around the gorgeous, ancient city walls of Siena, Italy.
I seriously had no idea how to get the bike going, and my friends practically left without me. But after lots of trial and error and time, I was able to get the bike going…though I had no idea how to stop it.
“Coming through!” I screamed, “I don’t know how to brake!!!!” The confused Italians didn’t always understand what I was saying and would dart out of my path completely in fear. As I got the bike to go even faster, I sometimes screamed out “Attenzione!” which translates loosely from Italian to “watch out!”
After Siena, I didn’t attempt to bike ride again until I was 27. I whimsically rented a bike in South Beach, Miami, and painstakingly spent hours doing figure eights and teaching myself how to ride once again. I fell off the bike numerous times, cut up my legs, but actually got the hang of it by the end of the day.
After the painstaking learning experience in Miami, I never forgot how to ride a bike again. Rumors are true…it really did come back. I started renting bikes in all the warm cities I visited for work… Miami again, then Houston, then San Diego…
Today I was listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast. It’s a finance podcast, but he happened to be talking about running a marathon. He was saying how anyone can do it- if it’s a goal you really want to achieve you can just go online and grab a training schedule and follow it. Once you finish the schedule, you’ll be able to run a marathon. It’s just that simple. Other people are doing it and you can too.
I wonder how many easily achievable tasks are out there that seem impossible. It seems some “super difficult” goals are actually right within our grasp. We just have to decide that we want to achieve them.
Start right now. It’s never too late.