Saturday, August 20, 2011

Remembering Why I Bike

I have an unfortunate tendency to hold on to those negative feelings associated with my career veering wildly off course, in a direction I had very purposely sought to avoid.  I am glad to be employed and to have benefits (especially health insurance) but my salary has taken a significant hit in the last several years and my professional status is quite diminished.  Professionally, I wonder if I will ever recover.  Poor, poor me.  Many people are in dire straits with no job, some with more brains and skills than I possess and still more with fewer qualifications or family resources.  I have to remind myself of this sad fact in order to prevent myself from drowning in a mucky pool of unearned self-pity.

In my pre-Flagstaff days, a temporary case of the blues could be easily conquered by a trip to Ann Taylor with my friend Jennifer who would supportively declare, as I feign indecision about whether or not to purchase yet another dainty cardigan with 3/4 sleeves, "You deserve it!".   Heavy sigh!  Flagstaff does not have an Ann Taylor, and Jennifer is hundreds of miles away in Kentucky.  What's a girl to do?

If the Great Recession (did it really end?) taught us anything it was that buying stuff often creates more problems than it actually solves.   Better, more effective ways of coping do exist.  Yoga, deep breathing . . .
I am not one to stop and smell the roses but do appreciate a good view of the wildflowers and have even been know to pick a few for a display in the family room.  My bike commute has provided me with an excellent opportunity for enjoying wildflowers. 

I'll be honest that I must make a conscious decision to let go of my obsessive career ruminations in favor of redirecting my attention to wild flowers.  I am not a totally at ease with the outdoors and nature but it is something that I've gotten used to and learned to appreciate.  I definitely believe that being out in nature is good for mental and physical health so when, at the end of the day, I find myself dwelling on the negative, I make a concerted effort to focus on the flowers - their colors, leaves, the hummingbirds feeding off of them, and whether or not I can harvest seeds for our backyard.

Indian Paintbrush
Stopping to look at the wildflowers is just another reason why I bike.  You can bet that I wouldn't do this in the car.  I'd just stew and grip the steering wheel all the way home.  Biking to work and to where I need to go helps me live in the here and now. 

Blanket Flower
The flowers are only with us for a few short months in Northern Arizona.  Other times of the year, I am looking am breathing in the crispy, piney sent of fall or enjoying the view of the snowy San Francisco Peaks in anticipation of cross country skiing in the National Forest or at the Nordic Center. 

Lousewort flower (I think)

Recently, a Louisville blogger who I read commented on his blog reading SRAB is like being on vacation.  What a great compliment, and I felt motivated to take some pictures of the wildflowers that I see on my ride to and from work.

Some kind of Yarrow.
I have to admit, that, once the winter snow recedes for good, I really get excited for wildflowers and was really disappointed this year that I saw so few California poppies this year.  Oh, well.  Can't dwell on disappointment.  As you can see, there was no shortage of beautiful flowers to take there place.


inspiredcyclist said...

Thanks for sharing the Flagstaff wild flowers, and taking me on a virtual vacation. These past few days I found myself taking off my usual rose colored glasses, and it was not good. To get me out of a downward spiral, I am trying to focus on things that I can be in control of: practicing yoga, eating healthy, and trying to be a better person. And if I keep to those three things, I believe I will once again find the silver lining. Hoping your time riding and in nature helps you find your bliss! And again, thanks! I always enjoy your posts and photos!

She Rides a Bike said...

Thanks, Inspired! I really struggled with sharing my career pity party since I KNOW that my situation isn't bad; it's just not what I want or planned for. Lots of people are not only worried about getting their career back on track but worried that they will be forever unemployed through no fault of their own. But we all love to indulge in self-pity and it can be a real temptation to take up residence there. My husband and I both love bike commuting for its mental health benefits. We actually got an upclose view of an male elk one morning on our way to work, a thrill we related to anyone and everyone for at least a week. We created a lovely natural oasis in our own backyard last summer for escape and to share good times with friends and family. The efforts have brought us a lot of satisfaction and aren't we lucky we are in the position to even do it. Yes, I'd prefer that we were in Chicago but here is where we are and ultimately its what we decide to make of it. Thanks for indulging me.

SuperKat said...

Girl times are tough, you have every reason to post a woe or two...we all have our why me? moments. you are dealin wonderfully...better than most. At least you dont need happy pills to make it thru the day. Ive been feeling crappy too, this post help me remember the little things in life are best. Thanks for an always interesting read!

She Rides a Bike said...

Thx SuperK! I'm glad my post actually benefitted someone other than just me! Today, I wrote a product review for a local bike accessory e-retailer and felt my old mojo. I'd don't get paid for it but I have to do something to keep me feeling in touch with the professional me and blogging and writing the reviews really helps.

zakpegg said...

I found your blog from the Dahon web site. Will have a read from my RSS feed as time goes on. Good luck with career and stopping to smell the flowers.

Barb said...

Thank you for sharing the beautiful wildflowers! I often tell people one of the things I love most about my bike commute is that I'm truly in the world, experiencing it--not racing past shut away from it by steel and glass. Your flowers are an extra reminder of the things we enjoy that drivers miss.

I found your blog as part of my search to compile a big list of women bike bloggers ( and you're now part of the RSS feed to a Twitter account @WomenBikeBlogs and a Facebook page It's been a joy to find so many women experiencing the same things--or entirely different things I get to live through vicariously.


inspiredcyclist said...

Again, thanks for bringing a sense of beauty, good info, and helping foster a sense of community through It is much appreciated!

Cherilyn said...

Great photos, great thoughts. I hear you. Hot Husband and I are happy no have landed in a beautiful place, but financial hit we're taking in the sale of our house is huge, even though we're lucky to be selling it in 6 months. Hooray for bike seats as therapy couches!

She Rides a Bike said...

You said it Cherilyn. High mountain living is a huge trade off. The outdoor life style is great but the cost of living and lack of career options hurts. Bob and I are grateful for our bikes and the times we share on them.

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