Year End: Writing, Cycling and 2016

Being typically Asian and driven to hard work to acquire a sense of accomplishment and acceptance, I've always been one to strive for higher goals, in the process of which I'm often pushing myself beyond my limits and burning myself out. That's exactly what happened to my relationship with cycling. I set a goal of cycling 4,000 miles across the third largest country in the world in under 40 days in 2014, and when I was done, I was done with road cycling.

Following that cross country ride, I descended immediately into a valley of lost hope and aimless wandering, without my bicycle. 

Nothing remotely close to cycling interested me. I look at my bicycle everyday (it has its place in the living room, next to the TV, so whenever I’m seated on my couch, I see it. Besides, I live in a small apartment, so a bicycle is a rather large object in relation to the size of the apartment) and it stares right back at me, motionless. Of course it is motionless - it doesn’t have a soul and needs a rider to give it soul and meaning.

But I refuse to ride. I see my two-wheeler lying against the wall, looking sturdily handsome, and I have no desire to bring him out to play.

I might have a glimpse of how depression and coming out of it feels (I'm not saying I was depressed, but I was in the doldrums alright). When you’re depressed, you feel limited, trapped and hopeless. You feel like there are little options available to you; and even if there are, they require money, work and effort. For example, when I got into the I-don’t-wanna-ride-my-bicycle-funk, my cyclist friends suggest I pick up cyclocross or mountain biking, just to change things up a little. Besides, off-road cycling (i.e. cycling on trails, i.e. cyclocross or mountain biking) will open up a whole new world of cycling to me. I was strongly reluctant because firstly, I didn’t have a cyclocross or mountain bike; secondly, getting to those trails require time, and thirdly, cycling on trails meant getting dirty and muddy. You see, I was cheap, convenient and clean. I didn’t wanna buy a new bike (money required), didn’t wanna drive to trails (time required), and didn’t want to clean off dirt and mud (again, time and effort required). So I didn’t do as they suggested.

It’s silly, even as I write this and think to myself, “But, Angie, all of life is work! You have have a haircut every couple of months or so. You have to trim your finger and toe nails every week or so. Heck, you have to pee every couple of hours. All of that requires effort and work. You have to groom yourself, get an education, get a job, show up at work, pour your heart and soul into your craft, buy a house, car, etc. All of that is work. Life is all about effort and work.”

So why was I so opposed to spending time, effort and work on the bicycle then?

On hindsight now, I was in a season of extreme focus for this entire year of 2015. I was focused on writing my book and completing it before the year is out.

Why was I focused on writing my book? Because I was a wreck after the cross country ride. I lost a piece of myself during that ride and writing was the only way I knew how to draw out the gunk and reconcile my brokenness.

My priority for 2015 had been to write, so any activity in contrary to writing or would take time away from me showing up at my writing desk is seen as a distraction, thus I paid no attention to cycling and certainly didn’t entertain the potentially fun idea of off-road cycling in dirt and mud as my friends suggested.

It’s been almost a year since I started writing in January. And I have kept to my goal of completing the writing before the year is out. I completed my final draft just two weeks ago (in mid December), and am now in the process of making final edits before publishing the book on February 1, 2016 (fingers crossed!).

Now that I’ve finished the main bulk of writing, I feel relieved and am ready to cycle again. It almost feels like I’m exiting a ‘cycling depression' and entering into the light.

As I step into this new season, suddenly it feels like a world of possibilities have opened up to me. The things that used to ‘limit’ me (not wanting to cycle, or that cycling requires money, time and effort), I now see possibilities in cycling and trails. The world seems bright, cheerful and hopeful again. My world is no longer dark, dreary and grey.

So as we celebrate this season of joy, love and giving this Christmas Eve and wrap up 2015, I want to take this opportunity to thank all my friends who stood by me through my high-exhilarated-moments and low-funky-moods, for encouraging me to never stop believing in myself and to never, ever stop cycling - they'd tell me to go ride a trail, hop over a stone, or do whatever necessary to fall in love with cycling again. I wasn’t ready to listen to them for the better part of this year; heck, for the whole of this year, from January to December, and it wasn’t until this very last week of December that the dark spell within me broke and a ray of light shone through my being and now, ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to report... I am enlightened. ;)

So here’s to promising my family, loved ones and friends that 2016 will be filled with some FUN adventures. I’m done with doing big things and not enjoying the journey. I will do some crazy big stuff in 2016, and I will make sure I enjoy them. ;)

To give you a glimpse, they might look something like this…

Or it might not. Who knows? Life is filled with possibilities, and as long as we breathe, the possibilities to do, accomplish and enjoy this life and this world is endless. So live I will next year, and explore I will, even more so.

So Merry Christmas, and a happy new year, my friends!