Empathy. My real life example of why I should be more empathic was brought to life on a bike ride on the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Waukee, Iowa on Sunday with my friend, Laurie. I never rode with Laurie before, and we were talking and enjoying the day - riding abreast. Now, I learned in 2nd grade that riding abreast is not appropriate, but usually when other riders approach one of us, we will get behind or in front of the other to give safe passage to the oncoming riders. Well, some horrid anxiety ridden mom shrieked at me to “GET OVER!!!” (which I was in the process of doing). Then later some guy from a couple hundred feet away started to ride directly towards us I guess in his way of saying “move onto your side of the trail” -- again, we were in the process of getting in line.
So empathy … I think I may have been the hysterical mother and the bully guy in the past. I’m still bothered by both of their behaviors, and I really feel like I should apologize to everyone I’ve been a “biking ‘Karen*’” to over the years. I hope, I sincerely hope and pray, that I was not as bad as these two were but I can’t guarantee that. Stepping back, it would seem that I could, should, and will incorporate a bit more grace into my riding.
I’ve often thought that it would be interesting (and indeed, life changing) if I had someone video me all day, every day. It makes me shudder to think of recording all of my bad habits, but it would also force me to be more empathetic in that, I like to think that I never would behave that way (when in reality, I probably do all the time).
Quint used to say if you are standing in front of a mirror asking yourself “should I wear this” … you probably shouldn’t. Same goes with behavior. “Should I teach this guy/gal a lesson and tell them to get on their side of the trail?” Unless, they are completely in your lane, chill out. Relax Inner Karen*, enjoy the ride.
*apologies to all people named Karen