This I Believe

Sonali - Syracuse, New York
Entered on August 29, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in living a full life. This means seeking out a challenge that takes something you do not think you can do, nor does anyone else expect you to, For me, this was biking.

When I was in third grade I got in an accident. My friend was teaching me how to ride a bike on a hill, and after pushing me off, I crashed into a tree and my face was bleeding. Needless to say, I refused to get on a bicycle again. My brother finally dragged me, literally, into learning at the age of eighteen. Even after I learned, I only went on a couple bike rides and was still terrified.

This summer I picked up a copy of Lance Armstrong’s book “It’s Not About the Bike”. If you haven’t read it, you should, it’s a fantastic book. There are only a couple books that will truly change the way you think and for me, this is one of them. The man won the Tour de France, one of the most grueling athletic events in the world, after surviving cancer. He had a two percent chance of living. And he fought tooth and nail to live.

So what did I do? I dusted off my 80’s Schwinn, found my helmet, and made myself get back on the bike. Again and again. I made it my goal to get completely comfortable on a bike by the end of the summer. After I became decently comfortable, I decided to start riding long distance. So far I have only biked fifteen miles, but I want to go farther each time.

Forcing yourself to push beyond what you think you can do is the ultimate way to grow. You can achieve so much more if you embrace the pain and suffering your challenge gives you, and you transcend above it. If it hurts, that is good; it probably does not hurt enough. Living in a way in which you constantly challenge yourself makes you a stronger person.