I bought a bike.




I have had seven addresses in the past five years. Every year since 2017 has brought on suitcases and relocation. My only issue with all this movement was that I knew I wouldn’t stay anywhere for that long. Whether it was my uni accommodation or wherever I was living with my family, I knew it was all temporary. This harboured a desire for belonging inside of me. I desired the comfort of once again living somewhere with my family for the “foreseeable future”. That way I could really take off my shoes, really sink into a sofa, really fall in love with a room.

Then we moved out of London in February, and I finally felt like I belonged at home again.

But life is always going to throw some lemons your way. When you’ve spent your whole life in one area, growing accustomed to the way of life there, it’s natural to struggle to adapt to a new place. To go from where I grew up in East/Greater London, to deep Essex was a shock to say the least.

Despite my gratitude for being near grassy fields and quiet roads, I’ve found it quite hard to adapt. I tell my friends all the time how long it is to travel to anywhere in London now (since everything I do is still there) and even I am sick of talking about it. I didn’t expect transport to be such a thorn in my side.

But I realised you can never anticipate the upcoming root of so many issues in your life. An inconsistent bus? An expensive Uber? An M&S petrol station being your closest shop in walking distance? Yes! It surprises me anyway. The lack of access to a simple corner shop or close-by restaurant in addition to the price of the bus, trains and even Ubers has been chipping away at me for months now.

Knowing that most of my out-of-home needs can’t be met around the corner has made my appetite virtually disappear and any semblance of a healthy diet has long gone out of the window. I hardly have the motivation to cook or exercise, or even step outside for fresh air on most days I’m at home. Even my creative endeavours have been muted because executing them feels especially difficult. So I’ve spent the last nine months dreaming of moving back into an area I’m used to to finally bring my hopes to life and get myself back on track.

The bike

My only saving grace this whole time (besides the thought of a car) has been the thought of getting a bike. I got rid of my old one in February and I’ve been without one since.

So, after nearly nine months of complaining and procrastinating, my dad drove me to a local bike shop and I bought a bike. It’s light blue, and it’s amazing. When I rode it home that day a corner of my mind opened up again, and I remembered just how good I feel when I’m exercising.

The following morning, I cycled for about 45 minutes. Halfway through, I was faced with an uphill stretch. It was a cartoonishly steep bridge over a river. I’ve lost a lot of focus and discipline lately and my reaction showed that. Upon seeing the bridge, I almost turned around and cycled back home – I just couldn’t be bothered to put in all that legwork. But then I thought against it and decided to go.

And it was like a movie, an epiphany. I felt emotional as I willed myself to keep going over that river. As my feet pushed down those pedals and I tried to control my breath, the idea of resilience came to me.

I thought to myself, ‘perhaps I’m here to learn how to live when ease isn’t so accessible to me – when everything feels inconvenient. Maybe God wants me to learn how to operate when resources aren’t within arm’s length. Can I still create, thrive, grow and be productive when there are so many obstacles to doing just that?’

It was only as I pushed myself up that hill with nothing but the grace of God, weak thighs, and a dream, that I realised what all this is for. Life has not always been easy. Neither has it always been hard. I am just dealing with a different set of inconveniences.

So what now?

I now see the value in accepting new battles if only for the purpose of growing the list of things you can overcome. You could eventually turn that into the list of things you’re not afraid of.

I don’t have the area I grew up in at my beck and call anymore. Neither do I have a bus to the station that comes every 5 minutes. I don’t have access to a train journey below £10 and I don’t have a driving license (my test is booked for early next year, pray for me!!).

However what I do have, is dreams and ambition. So I will use the resources currently available to me, whatever they may be, to bring my dreams to life – no matter how they may turn out. In other words, I will do the best I can with what I’ve got! And I will no longer shy away from an opportunity as blatant as this to grow and develop some resilience.

The most beautiful thing about it all is reconciling this realisation with self-compassion. There are days where I am so frustrated that I don’t do anything. But I have more patience with myself on these days than I did a year ago.

I am learning about life as always because I am having new experiences. It’s a perspective I really needed.

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