Arriving at the popular exercise venue SoulCycle, I noticed that the lobby was filled with young athletes dressed in fashionable Lululemon workout gear that aggressively stretched against their bulging muscles.
Realizing that I was the only person of mature status in the room, I grabbed my daughter Jenni’s arm and asked nervously, “Am I in trouble?”
“Mom, didn’t you know that SoulCycle is spinning on steroids?”
Now, I’ve never been fond of stationary bike classes. Peddling away in a hot, muggy room with sweat flying everywhere and going nowhere, as my rear end ached on the hard seat, was right up there with a root canal for fun. But wanting to spend time with my girls, I agreed to go without first investigating.
“You can do this!” Lauren encouraged, as I began eyeing the exit sign.
“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” I whimpered. “I can wait in the car.”
Taking my hand, Lauren led me through the darkened room to an empty bike.
“Get on,” she ordered. “I’ll help you into the stirrups.”
Twisting my feet this way, then that, I was finally locked in place, my hands white-knuckling the handlebar.
“How will they get my body out of here if I topple over?” I cried.
“You’ll be fine,” my daughters assured me.
Suddenly, the room went darker as the chiseled instructor in her mico-mini outfit screamed, “All right, let’s ride! And, when I say ‘down,’ begin the pushups!”
“How in the hell do you do pushups on a bike?” my head now screamed. “It’s hard enough just moving my legs.”
“Turn the resistance knob to the right,” the exercise masochist roared. “Pump harder! No excuses!”
“If I pump any harder, my legs will fall off,” I hollered to Lauren.
“Hang in there, Mom,” she smiled back, as her little derriere bounced wildly. “The class is only 45 minutes.”
While it was the longest 45 minutes of my life, before I could say, “I’m so over this,” it was over.
“Atta girl, Mom!” Michelle, my other daughter, sang from across the room.
Dripping profusely, I couldn’t get my feet out of the stirrups.
“Are you sure this isn’t called ‘SoulPsycho’?” I mumbled as all three of my daughters helped to detach me from the pedal’s claws. “I’m too old for this stuff.”
“You did great!” they sang in unison. “Why are you always afraid to try new things? Besides, you’re not that old.”
As we drove away, I found in their words a powerful question. Why was it I only allowed myself to do things I already knew something about? Truth be told, if I’d done any research on this class, I’d have stayed home.
Then it came to me: Fear is a story I’ve allowed to take up too much space on the bookshelves of my brain, and each page always reads the same – “What if I fail?” “What if I’m not good enough?” But my “SoulPsycho” experience made me realize that it’s time for some major editing.
So I’ve decided 2017 will be different. While I won’t be stupid and try to climb Mount Everest without preparing first, I do plan to be open to exploring new possibilities, whatever they are, especially if they involve my kids. This is my year of no fear!
While I may look like a dork in the process or completely fail, I will end each day with a new chapter titled, “At Least I Tried.”
My kids are right: A life with regret is no fun and, at 64, I’m not that old.
OK, who’s up for bungee jumping?