Bike ride to self

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Photo by Thomas Welch

I grew up on Cedar Lane, a road that had two hills. Our house was in the middle, at the base of both hills, where a pond had once been. Cedar Lane climbed up from Route 306 then dipped down and back up again. Cedar trees lining one side of our house.

I was riding my bike from 306 up the hill, but it was harder than I recall. An announcer said, "Now you are working on who you are." Then when I reached the top and began to bike down, the announcer said, "Now you ARE who you are."

Grass had grown over the pavement. Gravel and moss in thick spots, so that it was no longer a smooth ride. I switched gears and struggled, turning the bike in an S pattern, digging to make the climb. When I made it to the top I breathed in and began to anticipate the joy of the easy side down. The announcer said, "When you are doing what makes you happy that’s when you are who you are."

I felt what he had said. I felt it like the truth you feel when you open your eyes and think, I am no longer asleep dreaming. I felt happiness — soaring downhill with wind, and all the same, a joy — like wind, knowing a single truth, reminded. That by the nature of doing what made me happy I knew who I was. Everything else was just work to arrive at that destination.

When I was young I’d had this thought. I was unhappy about the role religion expected of me. Alone in my room, I decided we were all born with a line, a path, intended for us, and when we followed that line, by following what made us happy, we arrived in the life of our most potential. I had seen people who were religious but unhappy and thought they were adding harm to the world not living more honestly.

It wasn’t that some higher power wanted us to be religious. It was the opposite. Religion was there to help us find our higher power. If religion wasn’t what made you happy then it wasn’t intended for you. I believed, it wasn’t intended for me. That if there was a god he’d want me to enjoy life, and if I wasn’t enjoying being around religion, then it was obviously not designed for me. Each person with their own sense of what their purpose and happiness means. I had decided, a thoroughly positive person makes a greater impact for good than just being one of the holy. This was the thought, that happiness guided us, encoded like DNA, to the most appropriate passage for our life.

Happiness as a spiritual and physical factor. Driven by our most basic needs and our emotional instincts, guiding us to be truthful about our wants and more encouraging to others. Happiness, at it’s intellectual, our own internal drug, helping to push us forward, by growing, recovering, adapting and evolving. Because to suffer isn’t going to make the world a better place.

You are only yourself when you are doing what makes you happy. The rest is just working on becoming.

And we––

— keep climbing.

Written by

Traveler, writer, bread-maker. Experiences of heart-mind, perspectives on love, loss, change. A human condition.

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