I’m not a big believer in déjà vu, but I am a firm believer in the idea that we know, on some level, when things are about to go south on us. The case of cancer that, however bravely fought, never goes away. The less-than-optimal grade that follows an entire semester of faking it. The relationship that got off to a weird start, and you aren’t sure exactly how you ended up in it, but between inertia and the benefits that come from actually belonging to a piece of coupledom, you think, fuck it. Until things end up becoming really weird, that is — weird, or sad, or aggravating, or a combination of all three, and you think, Oh, man. I cannot do this anymore.
So I’m single, I’m cool with it, and as September comes blowing in, I can’t help but reflect on the summer that’s just passed and how little cycling I have done this year. I mean, in a sense I shouldn’t complain: by July, I’d done more cycling than I had done the previous two years combined, according to Strava. And this was NOT a normal year, by any metric. Between Dad’s passing in late May, his mom passing away in early July, and an exceptionally rainy summer, it was not a summer for getting out and going nuts, unless you were a duck. I did get out for a 56 km ride at the start of August, not long after I bought my new camera, but by and large, this summer has been enough of a wash-out that I don’t think it’s unfair to ask for a do-over, on some level.
Here’s another thing about endings: I don’t believe that any ending, with the possible exception of death, ever keeps you from discovering something new, especially something new about yourself. Or maybe even learning to be honest about tendencies that you’d rather not face in yourself. Case in point: Twice, in the past ten years, I’ve tended to shy away from working really hard at cycling when a man came into my life. In both cases, it provided a good sense of balance, but, in both cases, it also meant that I felt my biking got seriously disrupted, and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself and say, no, I need space for this, I don’t want to get derailed.
So I guess it’s not too late to start planning for next summer. J. and I Skyped this afternoon to talk about next summer, and it looks like a trip to Calgary and the Rockies might be in the cards. I still haven’t ruled out doing something next weekend, if the weather holds. (Today dawned with a brisk 5ºC and didn’t get over 16ºC – not prime camping weather.) There’s still fall riding, chilly and windy, but very scenic. And there’s time to reflect, as well. Where does that impulse come from, the one that makes me cave in and give up what matters to me, once I get in a relationship? Assuming that I don’t end up in a relationship in the near future (highly unlikely – a year or two of singledom will do me a world of good), how much do I want biking to take over my life again? (Life was so much easier when I went balls-to-the-wall with cycling, although I don’t know if that’s feasible now, with a bum knee.)
All of this to day that I’m freed up to be back in the saddle. I just don’t know how I’m going to do it yet. Hence, doubt.