So, the typical timeline for a lot of milestones that people accomplish happen when they’re young. When you’re able-bodied you might not even think about it. Learning to ride a bike, how to rollerblade, learning how to walk, ice skating, going to a water park, anything sports-related. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Yeah, well everyone knows how to do those things.”
I always learned things late or not at all. I’ve sat in this box of not being disabled enough to look disabled but not able-bodied enough to do a lot of “normal” things. Let me first say that I can’t even imagine or compare to having more severe Cerebral Palsy or another type of disability that is worse than mine. I’m fully aware that I have a mild disability and that there are people out there that have different abilities and things are more difficult for them.
Can I tell you that it never bothers me that I watch able-bodied people run circles around me and take it for granted? No. Can I tell you that watching my family plan little day events, that I have to sit out for, doesn’t frustrate me? No. However, I try very hard not to complain or let it affect my mental health.
I’ve watched people ride around neighborhoods where I’ve lived and watched my family decide they’re going for a quick bike ride for fun. I’ve wanted to know what it’s like to feel the breeze on your face as you pedal down the street. Becca takes the dogs for runs with her bike and I never knew what that was like.
There are definitely bikes out there for people with disabilities: trikes, recumbent bikes, etc. Not finding a solution until now was a combination of finances, fear, and frankly just accepting I probably will never be able to ride a bike.
My 30th birthday is days away and my wonderful wife decided now was the time for me to get a tricycle. We found one for sale that someone was selling on Facebook and we went to do a trial ride.
Nervous, nauseous, and restless were just a handful of things I felt as we drove to the house to see if I could ride it. I had only been on a bike once in 25 years and it was 6 years ago. They brought the bike to the road, I swallowed and got on. It took me a second to get on the seat properly after they lowered it for me, but I got on and awkwardly put my feet on the pedals. I didn’t feel wobbly or more unbalanced than I usually do.
The one thing that I like about this bike is that there is a backrest on the seat. It makes me feel more secure.
Now, as I’m turning 30, I have my first bike and I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. I will never forget this moment or take it for granted. I’m proud of what I’m able to do and I’m accepting the things I can’t and trying not to resent able-bodied people and what they take for granted.
What are some events in your life that happen later in life that you’re proud of? I would love to hear from you! Let’s remember that there are so many people with varying abilities and not everyone can do things that you might take for granted.