At this very moment, I have three huge first aid-up wounds around my shoulder and leg, and one purple-colored thumb. It looked almost I’ve been half-eaten by a bear. I am supposed to be at Cheongpyeong with a bunch of bikers, drinking beer but I’m sitting at a cafe, writing this.
What happened was, I went on a bike trip with a bunch of cyclists this weekend. Our plan was to bike up to the upstream Han river and meet up at Cheongpyeong, Gyeonggi Province. The whole ride is 80km. I’ve never done that long bike ride before, but I wanted to challenge it. Nice early summer weather, along the beautiful river and a group of fun people, what’s not to like, right? So I hopped on a bike at 8 am, this Saturday. It’s been quite a while since I was on a bike. It took some time to get used to it but after all, I had to believe that “just like riding a bike” was all true.
I was extremely nervous before I started this expedition. I thought about, why.
I was nervous, why? Because I haven’t done anything like this before. Okay, that’s understandable. And nervous because I would be suck at it. But, I’ve never done this before, that meant I was going to be suck at it and that was okay. But I will be embarrassed, and why is that? Because I may look like an idiot.
Along the whole process of thinking, I thought, we cannot be good at everything. That’s not human. We cannot be the best at everything we do. But the nervous feeling and embarrassment stop us to actually do something. Because we do not want to be mediocre, seriously. As we grow up, we have this traumatized part of the brain that says ‘You have to be the best’. That’s a part of general education in this world. We have to be good at, no, be the best. If not? We stop trying because we don’t want to feel and to be seen that we suck. And we stop trying because we don’t want to be a quitter. That is really a negative word to use for a person.
However, who cares? Even if I’m going to be suck at biking, who would judge me and says, “Hey, you really are bad.” And so what if somebody says that? The important thing is what you think about yourself. Do you really think that you’re bad? Do you really think that you should stop trying because you are not going to be the best? Should I have declined the offer because I was nervous, and miss out on everything?
After about 10-something kilometer, I fell, massively. I landed on the ground with my left palm, right shoulder, and right elbow. I was rolling and felt that my shoulder and elbow were peeling off by the ground. Did it hurt? Of course. At that moment, my body hurt for sure, but I felt a serious embarrassment. I couldn’t believe I fell that badly. As I was falling down, I leaned on Katie and she fell too. It was terrible. My ego hurt more than the burns on my skin. I hurt myself and I made my friend fell.
I have a positive attitude about pretty much everything. I always am confident about everything I do. But I thought while I was lying on the ground, maybe that’s because I’ve done what I was good at. I don’t think I cope well with embarrassment. I just always have been that way.
At that moment, I had two choices. A) Bike back to where I started and just call it a day, or B) give myself another chance on the bike. I didn’t want to push me too hard but I was already there, so I’ve decided to give it another try. On a bike and for the first time, I realized that the breeze could physically hurt me.
A while later, we stopped for a toilet/water break. From that spot, 6 more kilometers, then I got to see the top of the Han River. However, I decided to call it a day. I was mentally tired, rather than physically.
You know what? I’ve realized that it takes courage to call it a day. It is important to know where your limit is. We always want to be the strong one. It takes a lot of courage to admit that we need some help. As a traveler, I consider myself a super independent, brave, and tough human being. So that makes it harder for me to say that I need some comfort in my life. Part of my brain says ‘What are you doing? You are an independent person. You don’t need help! You can do this!’ But actually, I am. Just I was too coward to admit it.
That moment, I swallow my pride and admitted that my wounds were too painful to ride all the way. I admitted that I was mentally tired. I felt sorry for my friend, but I saw my limit there.
But it’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you are a quitter. You are just being true to yourself and seizing the moment. We set the boundary, not anybody else. You don’t have to prove to the entire world that you are the best. It is your world. You make your own standard.
That is a lesson for the day, with massive wounds. Even though I have huge bandages all over my body, I am happy that I have taken that chance today. It was really nice day out there, and the upstream Han river was beautiful. We had so much fun during all that time, and we met some nice people on the way too. Experience, that counts.