I’m becoming more and more aware that the years are going more quickly. This is not a morbid blog post but rather a musing of how a trip home for Christmas this year took me back to some places that had not entered my mind for many years. We live in a fast society. I’m probably one of the worst offenders. Always looking at what’s next and very rarely stopping to consider what is now. What was then. Taking it in and being humble about it. My thirties have given me a kick up the arse. My family is getting older, and the kids are growing up too quickly. The years pass by but when do we ever stop and think about how we have come to be the people we are today.
My childhood home is Wales, and having grown up in the outdoors usually stomping around in wellies or struggling to get jodhpur laden legs around fat furry ponies it’s not that unusual that I strive to get out and about when back in God’s own country.
What really struck me on this Christmas trip home was the ability we have to revisit childhood in a new light, and how perhaps I have rather forgotten about the adventures I had as a child whilst consumed in wanting to grow up and be at least 21 years old. Buried away in the back of my head was mile upon mile of rideable bridlepaths, runnable rocky footpaths, exposed beach fronts and a rather large sandpit that we used to sledge down in the eighties.
All territory explored as a child and now viewed through the eyes of a rather keen adventure-seeking-thirty-something with a penchant for rubber and a shiny new cross bike that was chomping at the rotors.
Retracing these paths as an adult brings all the memories flooding back and etches them firmly back on the brain. These are memories that didn’t acquire likes and comments and shares. For those of us at a certain age these are memories made when a mobile phone was a home phone without the cord.
One track we rode reminded me of the time I got up before dawn as an eleven year old. I snuck out of the house to ride my fat furry pony along back lanes and bridlepaths in the dark. No phones, no strava, no photos, certainly no likes. It’s a bit blurry but blimey I clearly had a drive for doing ridiculous things outdoors even at such a young age. Not sure my mother knew I rode for miles and miles before the crack of dawn by myself at such an age. Heaven.
I’m lucky I can retrace these steps and recognise that not everyone can. It’s good for both for my mental wellbeing, to share stories with my parents and also to cement these new memories to photos and films, so when I do this in another 30 years (perhaps back on a furry pony?) I can look back and think ‘bloody hell how did I cycle that?!’. My thirty something years I’m sure will feel like a second childhood by then. If you can, try and do it. There is a lot to see in the world but certainly a reminder of what got us to this stage every now and again can be the best adventure of them all.
Enjoy your ride.