Today, I love Messing Up.
I started winter biking in high school, from my house, to school, back to my house. I rode a bright yellow mountain bike that my dad found for free somewhere (#dads), and rain pants that zipped all the way up the side, and a heavy windbreaker. In retrospect, I was totally overdressed most of the time, but I didn’t know that, so I felt good. My bike was also probably pretty shitty, but I didn’t know that either, so I was happy with it. One of my secrets of messing up is not knowing you’re doing anything wrong.
I have a sticky note titled “2016 GOALS” on my laptop screen right now. The very first goal is “learn one new skill.” I made this goal because, recently, I am very scared of messing up. So I do things that I know I’m good at, or I don’t do things where it’s likely that I’ll mess up.
But when you’re winter biking, you can’t really avoid messing up.
In high school, on my yellow mountain bike, I fell a couple times. I didn’t know that you could avoid falling when winter biking, so I didn’t feel embarrassed. I was braking on ice, and I fell. I was wearing my rain pants, so I didn’t even get get. I wiped the slush off my butt and kept going. One of my secrets of messing up is to wipe the slush off your butt and keep going.
When I’m winter biking, I know that sometimes I don’t have all the gear, all the tools, all the knowledge that I can possibly have to be optimally prepared. Sometimes that means that I’m wearing mittens that are too hot, or the my goggles fog up, or that my chain is dirtier than it should be. I accept that, because I know that I don’t have the time, or the money, or the skills to be perfectly prepared.
Recently, I applied for a professional training program, and wasn’t accepted. I sent a gCal invite to a client for the wrong day. I left a library book on a plane. I make these small, dumb mistakes (and larger ones, too) all the time, and wonder: Why didn’t I do that right the first time? Someday, I’d like to wonder instead: What did I appreciate about this time? What can’t I change, and what can I?
I had a volunteer shift at a bookstore during a snowstorm a few weeks ago. I biked down 32nd Ave instead of taking the Greenway because I thought the trails wouldn’t be plowed. Turned out the trails were the first thing plowed, and 32nd was a slippery mess. But I didn’t know any better on my way there.
I took the trails on the way home. It was a beautiful ride.
Anna writes weird blog posts professionally for a small tech start-up. Unprofessionally, she obsesses over Beyoncé and eats snack foods.
Read about this collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls, or check out last year's #lovemnwinter posts.