Do something everyday that scares you.

Today marks three weeks until the ride ends. I can’t even begin to process that at some point, the summer ends. In reality, we’ve already started our descent to San Francisco. We’re at the northern most point of the entire trip, and it seems so crazy. How are we possibly to that point?

Almost everyday, we talk about what it’s going to be like to go back to “real life.” We’ll go back to having showers every day, to washing our clothes in things besides sinks, to sitting behind desks, to listening to professors and TAs, to sleeping in the same place every night, to being one student in a mess of 40,000 people.

I don’t know how to feel about any of it. I’ve always loved school, loved sitting behind desks, loved listening to professors and TAs, living a life that’s solid and steady. Suddenly, I found myself in a world that doesn’t seem real, one that’s full of a team that I adore, biking across some of the beautiful places in the country, having adventures every single day, and knowing that the next day is going to be just as incredible, if not more so, than the last day. Every day feels like multiple days in one, because SO many things happen every day, things that make me love this summer more than anything I’ve ever done.

Honestly, I’m afraid of what the school year is going to be like. How am I going to go back to spending every day in the same town, going to class, doing collegiate things? I’m so blessed that I get to spend every day doing what I can to fight cancer, and I can’t believe that in 21 short days, I wont be doing that anymore. I’m afraid of being separated from the cause. I’m afraid of forgetting the memories from the summer. I’m afraid of losing the lessons I’ve learned from the incredible people I’ve met along the way.

A lot of people ask me what the hardest thing is about biking across the country. It’s not the pain in my knees, it’s not the soreness in my quads, it’s not the fact that I can’t walk up a flight of stairs without cringing. It’s not the climbing the mountains, avoiding the cars, or fighting through the heat. It’s finding the parts of myself that I didn’t want to admit existed. You realize there are parts of you that you despise, the parts that want to quit, the parts that whine and complain, the parts that want to run and hide, the parts that are terrified of breaking through barriers. You have a LOT of time to think when you ride your bike for thousands of miles, and a lot of my thoughts have been about the parts of myself that I don’t like very much. As hard as it is to admit that they exist, it’s great to discover them. Discovering them means accepting them. Accepting them means conquering them.

 

Maybe that’s why I’m so afraid of going back to normal life. I’m afraid that I won’t find the parts of me that I’m unhappy with. I’m afraid that I won’t get to have the feeling of standing on top of a mountain, screaming my lungs out in happiness that I just managed to tackle it. I’m afraid that I won’t keep learning about myself and about life and about cancer. I’m afraid that I won’t be as drunk on life as I am now.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do something everyday that scares you.” I guess when we get to San Fran, the thing that scares me for that day will be returning to life without riding my bike for 6-10 hours a day.

Comments (2)
  • Rebecca Shaevel says:

    Here’s what works for me, maybe it will help you: every day, stay in the present moment. Enjoy today and all that today has to offer, because the present moment is the only moment that’s certain. When appropriate, think about the future, but don’t worry about the future. The future is just a continuous series of present moments, and you will make the right choices to handle each present moment as you experience it.

  • mmarek Maggie Marek says:

    Tory, amazing blog post! As a former rider I can tell you that returning to normal life will be a bit strange, but nothing to fear. And best of all, once you do settle back in to the everyday, you will be surprised at how so many little things will remind you of something amazing that happened on your journey. I still think about it everyday. Best of luck in the last leg of your trip!

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