Letting Go of Your Training Wheels

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My Training Wheels

Like most American kids I learned how to ride a bike a very young age. Unlike most kids, I was not excited about the prospect of my parents taking off the training wheels. I loved bike riding though. I loved it so much, in fact, that eventually one of the training wheels fell off.

My parents refused to replace it, saying that I was getting to old to ride a bike with training wheels. They wanted to take off the other one, too, but I refused to let them. So for another few months I rode my bike, always leaning slightly to the left until eventually the other training wheel fell off too.

Behind the wheel

Fast forward about ten years when it was time for me to learn how to drive. Most teens are ecstatic to get behind the wheel, I was not. I remember my parents tried to use my learners permit as a bargaining chip… if you don’t do this then you can’t get your license.

To my delight, they had no idea that I did not want to drive. They must have caught on eventually because they took me to get my permit, and a few years after that I drove alone cross country.

What are you afraid of?

The point is, I was afraid to embrace independence– the independence of a bike without extra wheels, the independence of being able to drive myself places– for no discernible reason other than because of the unknown. Once I knew how to ride a bike and how to drive a car, I took to both wholeheartedly.

In neither of this instances was I really missing out on something because of my fear, but those aren’t the only times I’ve said no to the unknown. I of course don’t know what I’ve missed out on because I never followed through, and circumstances didn’t force me into saying yes.

What are you saying no to?

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