Freedom

I arrived in the Lake District today for a few days of cycling before going on to the Lowther Show at the weekend. It’s pouring with rain, and I didn’t much fancy going out on the bike! But remembering Mel Robbins and her “five-second” rule, I put my gear on and ventured outside.

Within minutes I was soaked to the skin, and with the low cloud, it was hard to appreciate the beauty of the landscape. On days like today, cold, wet and cycling slowly I’m left wondering why exactly I’m out here?

I had intended to ride a 50km loop starting near Keswick, taking in the Honister Pass which I haven’t cycled before. It’s one of the UK’s classic climbs and is both steep and hard with a maximum gradient of 21.8% and an average gradient of 7.4%.

Within minutes of reaching the base of the hill, I knew I was in trouble! I just didn’t have it in me and pulled up about a 400m into the climb. I sat in the rain, trying desperately to catch my breath as my lungs felt like they were going to explode out of my chest. Five minutes later, feeling a bit better, I climbed back onto my bike and cycled back the way I had come.

Sometimes, we must accept that it’s not our day. I was beaten by the gradient and the rain and my lack of regular cycling over the last few months. As I rode back to the campsite, I pondered the situation.

In years gone by, such a failure would have left me distraught, so much of my self-esteem was wrapped up in my physical fitness and my refusal to give up even when things are hard. I realise that today marks a very positive step forward. Rather than being obsessed by the goal and the outcome of reaching the summit, I’m focused on the journey and enjoying each day as it comes.

The climb will be there tomorrow and the next day and hopefully I will make it next time. Either way, sitting eating a lovely meal back in the caravan, I can feel the warm glow from my body as it recovers from physical exercise, and it feels good. I feel so lucky and grateful for the life I have, with the freedom to explore, to create and play in our beautiful countryside.

I hope you will spend today thinking about what matters in your life. Now is the time to let go of those material possessions, stop comparing yourself to others or worrying about what they think. You don’t need more things; you don’t need better things, you don’t need to worry about tomorrow. Instead, look in the mirror and decide on the person you want to be today and then be true to this vision.

You must live the life that you have always dreamed about. There is no guaranteed tomorrow, only today and the choices you make right now. You have an opportunity; so please live each moment with no regrets, doing the things you love, with joy in your heart.

Together, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

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