I feel biking coming on!

I made a significant investment in my inner child today.  Over the past 30 years, the focus has been on collecting responsibility.  Now I have reached a place in my life where shedding responsibility and exploring have taken over!   Today that investment looks like a few new items: bike rack, bike, glitter streamers and a rainbow helmet that lights up.  My soul already feels lighter!  There is a road bike in my garage that happened to be about 2000 miles away.  That bike is 10 years and has seen me through all kinds of life events.  After 2 knee surgeries, I had to hang up my running shoes and find another form of exercise.  Biking seemed perfect.  At that phase of my life, I used to exercise to soothe my stress.  Hell, I still do, but with less panic or sense of urgency. Yet much like the need for new luggage before I left home since the old luggage carried so much emotional baggage with it, the old bike does the same with regards to exercise.

When I left home the end of March, biking did not cross my mind.  Hiking was my focus, but now that I am in Sioux Falls something has shifted.  I simply love this town and everything about it.  There happen to be 26 miles of bike trails around the city.  I have run a handful of those miles and borrowed my housemates’ bikes for a few more of them.  I have been pining to ride more of the trails to simply explore.  This desire is not about stress relief, escaping emotional discomfort or weight loss.  This is all about the craving exploration around the town with a smile on my face!

Entering a small local bike shop made my heart sing!  Walking in the door, I was greeted by a wonderfully knowledgeable salesman, Pete.  I explained that I am traveling all over the country so I need a rack that can withstand that abuse and one that I can navigate alone while getting in and out of the back of the car often.  Guess what?!  Yakima already solved my problem with a 34-pound drop-down rack!

Next step was to find a bike that met my new life need; fun!  Rather than sticking to paved roads, I wanted to try my hand at gravel and dirt trails.  Yes, I remember that usually, I steer clear of any kind of “mountain biking”.  This is more of a dirt path kind of bike that navigates small molehills well.  It is a giant step for me!  How could I resist when the bike of choice is purple?

Next was to find a helmet that expresses my desire of riding for fun exploration.  My eyes scanned the wall and locked in on my dream helmet.  Sadly, it was a helmet for 8 to 14-year-olds.  Expressing my sadness to Pete, his eyes lit up as he told me to try it on because they sent a large one.  My hands were on the helmet before he finished his sentence.  Before I placed it on my head, my new BFF Pete stopped me to turn on the glittering lights embedded in the front of this helmet.  I swear I squealed with delight!  It was too big, but Pete promised me they could add the needed padding.  Many friends report that I have such a small face, apparently, they are right.  My head is smaller than a 14-year-old!

The last step was all about accessories!  Spotting the glitter streamers brought me right back to childhood and college.  Like most young ones, I had streamers on my bike.  When I went off to college I had a bike to get me around campus that I tricked out with blue glitter streamers.  Oddly enough, someone stole my streamers just before I went home for the summer.  If they needed the joy of streamers, I’d gladly given mine to them.  It only seemed right to bring new glitter streamers to life again at this point in my life!

My plan is to ride off into the sunset on my purple bike with pink glitter streamers wearing my light up rainbow helmet laughing and smiling from ear to ear.  Who wants to join me along Sioux Falls bike trails?  We can always stop to do yoga under a tree!

Kristin Springfield
Happy biker chick

Daily choices are required!

After a visit with my daughter, I realized something valuable. As much as I wanted to hurry up and be an adult with my life together at 22, there was simply no way to speed it up. You have to make micro-decisions daily with regards to everything adult-like and see where it takes you. You don’t get to simply say I want to be fiscally responsible without daily choices over a LONG period of time to achieve that goal. You don’t magically become physically fit at 46 without the active daily lifestyle over 20+ years. You don’t achieve some level of career delight without doing the first crappy job in that field. You have to put in your “time” of doing things you don’t really want to do, work in jobs that aren’t the dream you envisioned, stay home for dinner when you want to go out but your budget says no, move your body when you’d prefer not to, and wear sunscreen when everyone else is going to the tanning bed because skin cancer is a real threat to you.

We have no clue what the trajectory of our micro-decisions over 20+ years will look like. No matter how much you plan, life has a way of throwing curve balls at you. My life looks very different than I imagined it would when I was 22 years old. I have made the best decisions I was capable of at the time or that I simply felt I had to do. Yet it was all a leap of faith. Now I arrive at 46 with an accumulation of decisions over time. As I look to my left and to my right I am delighted with where I am and very surprised at the same time.

Witnessing the struggle of my daughter as she navigates her way into early adulthood takes me back to that time in my life. She is working so hard to “get it right” in ways that I did not, while at the same time she strives to have the skills that I have today. She forgets that I am where I am today due to 20+ years of actions, choices, and relationships. You don’t get to simply arrive with the skills without the work. She intellectually knows this, yet taking the first steps in a very long journey can be daunting and defeating. Buck up my dear one, the road is long but worth every step you take. Let’s not forget, she did not know me at 22 years old, nor did she witness my struggles in the transition she is in right now. By the time she can remember me I was already 8 years into my journey to adulthood. I certainly was still struggling, but I was further down the road than she is now.

20+ years of micro-decisions have brought me to a life that has almost nothing in it that I believed I wanted at 22 years old. Elements of my life that align with my 22-year-old desires are motherhood, physically active and that I have a dog. EVERYTHING else is different! If someone had told me when I was 22 that at the age of 46 I would be single, renting a room, working in temporary jobs all over the country, and traveling alone most of the time; I would have considered myself a failure. For this reason, I am so glad we can’t see the future. I revealed that to my daughter, she paused to consider this and took a deep breath. Hopefully, she is able to relax for a moment, and just start with a micro-decision to put her best self first. Life has a way of working itself out, but our participation is required.

If you want to be fiscally responsible in 20 years you must start today. If you want to be physically active in 20 years, you have to move your body in some way today. If you want relationships that are loving in 20 years, create a healthy relationship with yourself today. I really wish I had understood the one about a self-relationship at 22. It took me many more years to embrace that. Yet, I am excited to see what 20+ years from now will look like with regards to amazing relationships in my life because of the micro decisions I make every day now. It is NEVER too late to make a shift in decisions. We just have to remember that the true outcome may take 20+ years to really see it’s potential.
Kristin Springfield
In for the long haul

Weight loss

It has been 7 weeks since I left the place called home since 1994, and I feel amazing! Whenever you go there you are, but the location makes all the difference in the world. There was a rainbow of emotions around taking this big leap of faith in leaving everything I have known for a life that unfolds 90 days at a time that takes me to places I have never lived before. People do this all the time, there are companies designed for traveling professionals, but this is all new to me.

The weight that has been lifted from my shoulders with this transition is immeasurable. I will attempt to describe what it is like for me with a story of packing up my home. I am a doer by nature and don’t procrastinate. The expectation I have of me for completing tasks is close to ridiculous. My previous job was part-time, which left me ample time to pack, paint and get ready to move. Initially, I was hesitant to remove all things from my walls in order to paint, as I knew the items would not be rehung, and I’d be living in a home with empty walls. I imagined it to be depressing with an empty feeling. I had already gone through my items and given so much away that the home was far from filled. The empty walls were the remaining task of preparing to let go of this home. My “Get Shit Done” attitude met with a rainy week and every room in the house found itself in a fresh coat of paint. Much to my surprise, my anticipated feelings of sadness were completely wrong. It actually felt refreshing to have a clean slate.
Much of the pictures and art on my walls were from several years ago. I selected all of the items because they brought joy to my life at the time I moved into the home. Yet all of them also had a very painful back story. What I did not realize was that the story played simultaneously in my head when I looked at the items. With the walls empty and freshly painted everything changed. I felt more relaxed. It was quiet in my head, which is rare! The negative back story to all the items had become normal and unnoticed until they were gone.

Now that I have been away from that town for 7 weeks another layer of emotional weight has been shed. It feels like the last 10 pounds that are so hard to lose when on a diet. It takes great dedication and a shift in perspective to free you from the last lingering pounds. For me, it has taken a shift in career, over 5,000 miles of driving and letting go of the idea that home has to be a physical place. Jumping (or driving) from a home place that was filled with joy, comfort, and very painful back stories required a great deal of personal courage. I have learned that bliss is just on the other side of fear. Now that I have walked through some of my primal fears to a brand new location, I ‘m free from the back stories that accompanied not only the items on my walls but all of the places in the town as well. Now going literally anywhere I do not have a nagging dreadful story in the background of my mind. As this is truly a new chapter waiting to be filled with new experiences; FINALLY!
Kristin Springfield
Imperfect Wanderlust