Michael's Happenings

Handling the Headwind

I headed to University in February 1990, to start what became a 5-year stint of formal learning. I loved my time there, and have been back since, but the journey started in 1990. To coincide with starting University, I spent $1000 on a black Diamond Back mountain bike, to serve as my main form of transportation. Come rain or shine, I usually headed to university that way. Over the next 5 years, I would put a lot of kilometers on that bike, doing 100 km in a usual week heading to the university and back, or to Katrina’s parents house and back.

21 years later, I purchased a new bike … in line with the idea that I would spend a lot more time in the saddle this year. We live in the “middle-of-nowhere” (and I’m not talking about New Zealand, but it equally applies to the country as a whole), and riding around the block is 12 km. You know the drill … head out to the road, turn left, turn left at the end of the block, turn left at the next road, turn left again … and you’re back where you started. For me, that’s 12 km. Needless to say, I don’t live in the city!

Anyway, the wind blows strong out here, and there is usually a headwind going out or coming back. Usually it’s a headwind going out, and a tail wind coming back. Sometimes, like today, it’s the other way – a good tail wind heading out, and a strong headwind coming back. I knew the wind would be strong today, but I still put my gear on and did the deed.

Today as I was cycling out in the tail wind, and then home in the headwind, I was thinking about the “why?” question. Why do I do this? What’s the point of headwinds? Surely a good tail wind is the best situation to be in? As I pushed my pedals into the headwind, I kept thinking this thought: headwinds make us strong. Headwinds force us to evaluate why, and if we decide to keep going, it forces us to try harder. It’s easy cycling with a tail wind – you can get a good speed up, but you don’t get strong with a tail wind. With a tail wind, the circumstances are all in your favor, what you try to do goes smoothly without much effort, and so on. But in the bite of the headwind, that’s when you find out who you really are.

I’m sure you have headwinds in your life as 2011 begins to unfold. Difficult relationships, perhaps at home or at work. Poor job opportunities. High debt, which is causing you to lie away at night. An upcoming foreclosure on your home, after which you’ll be out on the street. Difficult studies, or poor grades at University?

What’s your plan for handling the headwinds in your life this year?

Categories: Michael's Happenings