I believe that life is as cool as the other side of the pillow. I had developed this belief, at the age of sixteen, on one muggy night when I couldn’t get comfortable. I was twisting and turning and sweating from my head to my toes. I then discovered coolness I had never encountered before, coming from underneath my pillow. I had an epiphany: I need to keep searching for the cool side of the pillow. I need to find solutions to problems that once before had me baffled.
I realized I had unknowingly used this method my entire life. At the age of four I began to teach myself how to ride a bike. It was cherry red with forest green letters. I vividly remember yanking my dad outside ordering him to take the training wheels off. I wanted to be the first four-year-old in the neighborhood able to ride a bike without training wheels. The wheels were off. Now I was ready to begin my journey.
The first attempt was horrific. I went up and over a curb and into the neighbor’s bush, but I was determined to learn how to ride a bike by day’s end. Of course I needed help and my parents were not afraid to give me some. He only gave me a few pointers and let me fill the other blank areas on my own. FRAGMENT I remember my dad’s only words “don’t fall.” At the time I had no idea how this advice would help, but as the day wore on and after many trials I began to realize the faster I peddled the bike the easier it was to keep my balance. By filling in the blank areas for myself, I gained confidence in myself that I still use today. I can still always say that I was the only four-year-old in my neighborhood who knew how to ride a bike without training wheels.
The pillow does eventually get warm and the procedure begins again. The next time it is not searching for the coolness but waiting for it. Being patient is the key. My senior year in high school I was on the baseball team. The whole year I was overwhelmed with multiple injuries. One in particular was a blow to the mouth by a baseball. Being patient and staying calm were the main ingredients for my success in the recovery process. I waited for the injury to heal and was back on the field in two weeks. The pillow takes time to cool, but when it does it is one of the best comforts.
After each mishap I don’t fret. I stay cool and collected. Each roadblock gives me a new sign to follow showing me different paths to take in my journey. I have learned to embrace the roadblocks and be patient with them because eventually I will find the right path. It is the only way possible to stay cool.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.