Hi there. I just bought a new bike! Ok, it’s not just a bike. It’s a red adult tricycle! I’m so excited that I can’t stand myself. I have always wanted a three-wheeled bike with a little basket and maybe even a cute little bell. I think it’s pretty amazing that something as simple as a bike can make people uncomfortable though. A few of my friends who knew that I was considering buying this bike to be my main transportation tried to talk me out of it pretty strongly. They said things like, “It will be a lot of exercise. Are you sure you’re up to it?” or “What if it rains?” While I try to understand that they are just worried for me and my safety, I feel like this points to something deeper, and I wonder if it is something with which we all struggle.
So, because I love to play the Analyze-Yourself-and-Others game, I rolled the dice and made my first move. Why did this bother my friends even before I bought the bike? I think that they might be afraid of anything unconventional or different. Knowing these friends’ personalities, I know that they like to be in control, like safety, and enjoy knowing what to expect from their days. There is nothing wrong with that. I admire their organization and adult-ness. They buy flood, fire, and tornado insurance. I don’t even have medical insurance (yet…). So I know that my freedom (for lack of a better word) or whimsy (?) drives them a little crazy. They continually try to talk me out of things that I want, but respect me enough to know that I may or may not take their advice.
All of this got me wondering about myself – dice roll number 2. Do I feel uncomfortable with some of my friends and family’s decisions because it goes against my own wiring? Yes. I wouldn’t say that I worry about them, but many times I sigh and think, “If they’d only stop looking for jobs that have a certain salary, they’d be happy.” or “Why don’t they just eat the cheeseburger instead of talking about it for 20 minutes while eating bean sprouts?” Because I analyze myself so much, I know that I have weaknesses in dealing with reality, organization, and “the American Dream”. And because I know this and love my friends, I try really hard to be supportive and not critical when they tell me about the vitamins they are taking or the twelfth life insurance policy that they just took out…even though deep down I’m screaming, “Nooooooo!!!!!! buy some cute shoes! Feed the homeless! Start a business that recycles old tires into amazing art!”
It’s so crazy that we are all wired so differently. It’s so interesting to me what makes people uncomfortable about me. I used to try to change so that everyone would be comfortable. Then, I started wondering if I would want my friends to change so that I would be comfortable. No indeed. I would actually be more uncomfortable if they went against their dreams, desires, and hopes. We all just have to lay down our worries and fears in order to let our loved ones truly be themselves. I’m so thankful that I have friends who will let me be myself even though they worry about me. So, when you see me riding to work on my nifty red adult tricycle with a sweet little basket and a fancy bell, just wave to the girl who is ok with being herself and letting others be themselves. (And please don’t worry- I have a raincoat and I can handle the exercise!)