It’s ugly and rainy out, the kind of insistent drizzle that’s never a downpour but nevertheless leaves you completely soaked. This morning, it was almost 8:30 before it even seemed like the sun would rise (I’m still not sure it did), and the clouds are a uniform, oppressive grey. If I were Wallace Stevens, I might say it was evening all morning; it’s raining, and it’s going to rain.
Days like today make my house, my couch, my blanket, my tea seem ever more appealing. But as always, there’s the obligation to get somewhere, be it job, lecture, lunch date, appointment. And an extra-domicile obligation means sucking it up and getting out there on my bike.
When I’m faced with crappy weather and the overwhelming desire to hunker down under my blanket, I have to remember that it’s always the transitions that are the hardest. When I’m in here, cozy and warm and dry, the idea of going out there, fully immersed in the wet and cold, is not the most appealing of imaginable worlds. Whether I end up superficially wet–just on the outside, waterproof layer–or actually drippingly wet down to my socks, it’s a hard reality to throw myself into when I’m already so comfortable and warm. And I think it’s what sends a lot of people running for the car or the bus on nasty-weathered days.
But here’s the trick: it’s just the transition that’s hard, not the actual biking in the elements. Imagining being wet sucks, but once you accept the fact that you will be wet, the water’s not so bad. It’s the anticipation, the looking ahead to a time where you might be uncomfortable, that’s hard. But as with most things, the anticipation is worse than the real thing. You spend so long imagining all the heinous possibilities (“I’ll be wet!” “I’ll be cold!” I’ll have squelching socks all day!”) that they magnify, and make the ride seem so much more daunting than it would be if you just sucked it up and headed out.
It’s basically the paradigm for life–what you know and experience right now, while maybe not the best, is the most comfortable. Any change, be it a change in career or simply a change in location, couch to bike, is in some sense throwing yourself out into the unknown, a place where you can no longer predict what will happen. That’s always hard–even harder when the potential drawbacks of your change (rain, cold, etc) are so immediately apparent as when you look out your window to see the downpour.
But as always, you’re not going to grow or get anywhere if you just sit down with what’s comfortable and pour yourself another cup of tea. Sure, sometimes another cup of tea is in order, but most of the time, you’ve got to suck it up and throw yourself out there. Into the rain. Like James did the other day. And when you get there it won’t be that bad. I promise.
That being said, it’s time for me to head out into the rain…