I’ve always wanted to try this exercise – write a letter to my younger self, and because this is a women’s cycling blog I’m going to focus on cycling and things related to riding and exercise. I’m imagining that I’m 21 years old for this letter. I’ve just finished my undergraduate uni degree at Bathurst in NSW and I’ve moved backed to Sydney to pursue my public relations career.
I’m writing this letter from a couple of decades in the future. I hope the passing of time has made me wiser and therefore qualified to provide this advice. So here goes:
Go ride a bike – I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. In fact you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll declare yourself obsessed with all things cycling within a couple of years. You’ll meet lots of new friends, get fit and find your purpose – your passion. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait a few years before you start writing a blog because they haven’t been invented. In the meantime you could write a book instead.
Move more, eat less – Stop eating all that terrible food and sitting on the couch so much. As well as riding that bike, make sure you do other forms of exercise – maybe try running. I know you think you’re a terrible runner but I think you’ll actually enjoy it once you get started. You won’t break any records but you’ll get fit.
Worry less about what other people think of you – I know you think it matters a great deal what other people think of you, but guess what? It matters little. Of course you want to be a great human being – authentic, real, ethical and all those other important characteristics but not at the cost of pleasing others. Please yourself first and the rest will follow.
Travel more – Take off right now and visit some great overseas destinations. You don’t have to travel for long periods of time, just get out and explore. You don’t have to urgently find a job and start a career. Take that bike you’ve just acquired, pack it in a bag and fly off somewhere. And buy your fabulous boyfriend a bike too and take him with you. BTW he’s worth holding onto.
Be kind to yourself – This is the best advice I can give you. Be kind to yourself and don’t put other people’s expectations before your own dreams. Do what you love doing as much as you can get away with. You’ll realise in a few years that your life, just like everyone else’s is very, very finite and you need to make the most of it.
Go see a bicycle race – I know you’re not keen on watching professional sport but I think you’ll really like watching the cycling, and particularly the road cycling. In July each year there’s this fantastic bike race called the Tour de France, watch it on TV if you can. I doubt they broadcast too much on Australian TV but watch whatever you can. And go watch some bike racing live. You’ll love it, particularly if you can find some women’s racing. I’m not suggesting you’ll actually want to participate but watching will be fun.
Commit to life-long learning – You probably think you’re pretty good because you’ve just finished your uni degree, well don’t be too cocky. That degree is just the start. You need to commit to learning new things constantly. It doesn’t mean you have to have heaps of formal education, although I suspect you’ll be back at Uni in the future, but commit to being open and curious for the rest of your life. Start learning about cycling too. I know you’ll enjoy it.
Wow, that was a fun exercise for me – write a letter to my younger self. I hope you enjoyed it too. Share your thoughts via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.