How to Fall
I knew things were not good as soon as I learned that my boss was unexpectedly driving down from Seattle. It was 2017, and I was working at my dream job. I had been working hard, and had built my life plan around moving up in the company. But tough decisions had to be made. My boss took me into the “lay-off” room—the one with the sealed door and glass window, so other employees can see everything, but can’t hear your cries. It was painful. But as the newest employee, I was the first in line to feel corporate America’s sharp ax. They took my company car and called a taxi. I arrived home, with no job, no car, and no plans. I cried for a week straight.
I moped around the house trying to find things to do and eventually found my way to the garage. My daughter’s bike had been sitting there collecting dust while I had been clocking 50 hours a week at work. With much more time now on my hands, I pulled the bike out and removed the training wheels. My daughter is the ultimate girly girl. On Sports Spirit Day at her school, she was only willing to wear a jersey as long as she didn’t have to actually play the sport. On the other hand, I had grown up a tomboy. I had gotten on a bike and just figured it out. As my daughter put on her helmet and pads, she looked like she was being booked for jail. We walked up the street with her bike and began her lesson.
Ajuna mounted the bike but refused to move her feet. I held on firmly to the bike and committed to not let go, but she still wouldn’t budge. When I finally did get her to move a bit, the bike tipped. She didn’t even fully fall, but that was the end of the lesson for that day. The next day I tried something different. “First, I am going to teach you how to fall,” I told my daughter. “You have the right equipment to withstand the fall. When you feel the bike tipping, you have to prepare your body for the shock. Then, as soon as you hit, you have to get back on the bike as quickly as possible. You can’t stay down.” We practiced falling and getting back up, falling and getting back up. I told her the only way to make it is to get past the fall. “You have to remember your long term goal: to be able to ride with your friends on the trail.” As we practiced falling, I wondered if I had been following my own advice.
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