When I first told a few people that I was going to learn to ride a Harley, a few said, “What…are you having a mid-life crisis or something?” In the moment, my face blushed and shame whooshed through my body. I was embarrassed by the notion that I could be making an irrational, selfish decision or going through some kind of predictable phase in my life that would soon pass and fizzle out like a deflated balloon.
I hid the seeds of doubt and the feeling of being small that the question evoked. I didn’t let on; I just laughed and agreed: “Absolutely! ” But later, in the quiet of my mind, the question soaked into my pores and niggled at me.
Was I having an emotional crisis of identity and self-confidence?
The answer soon revealed itself in the core of my belly that felt like a slow burning ember. This internal tinder grew warmer and brighter and spread out through my heart and limbs, muscles, tendons, veins, and out through my toes and fingertips. The truth was full and bright and unwavering:
I didn’t feel in crisis at all. Instead, I felt like this choice filled me up…with good stuff…stuff that humans universally crave: excitement, adventure, joy, independence, freedom, and control. I wasn’t having a crisis of either minor or epic proportion, I was just pursuing a personal interest that happened to be at my mid-life period (give or take).
Shame on others for judging me. Shame on me for feeling “less than” because of them. Consciously, I refuse to give away my mojo based on what other people think. In my experience, those who judge are simply afraid. Afraid to live.
I’m not afraid.
I’m going to ride.