Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Just Like Riding a Bike (and that's not good)

I remember when I learned how to ride a bike without training wheels. My sister and I went to the church parking lot, where there was a slope we could roll our bikes down. When I didn't have to worry about the back-and-forth of pedaling, I learned the art of balancing on two wheels a lot faster. Then, eventually, I could pedal, too. The world was mine! I could fly! It was awesome.

Fast-forward 25 years. (And when did I get old enough to use that phrase?)

My bike-riding days weren't really all that long, for all I loved it. I can't remember getting on a bike in high school, though I might have. (I had a car and a driver's license!) I certainly didn't ride a bike in college (even though I didn't have a  car). Or since I got married. Not at all in probably 20 years, in fact.

Until last night.

There's good news and bad news.

Good news: you actually never do forget how to ride a bike. Good to know. I didn't fall, I didn't embarrass myself in front of my young-uns, and after a while, I was even able to make sharpish turns without slowing to an almost standstill.

Bad news: my 5-year-old can kick my butt at bike-riding. (Not that the seat of the bike needed any help, if you know what I mean.) While I could outpace him on a straight, flat surface, he was pulling wheelies, hopping over speed bumps, and zipping around corners with his dad and his two older brothers. He taught himself to ride without training wheels earlier this year by commandeering his brothers' bikes. Without a slope. Without major injury. Now the three of them are a sight to behold.

I would have taken pictures of their prowess if I could have let go of the handlebars long enough to fish my cell phone out of my pocket.

In church on Sunday, we had a lesson on talents. One of the topics was to the tune of "use it or lose it." Now, as I mentioned, I haven't lost the basic knowledge of how to ride a bike. But I sure have lost a lot of the finer points of the sport.

Wouldn't it be tragic if this happened to my writing talent? What if I went 20 years without writing? Or two? I could probably put a sentence together, and I might even be able to power through a few paragraphs, but I doubt I'd remember not to dangle my participles (whatever that is). I'd probably find that ever bad habit I've pounded out of myself was back in force--and I probably wouldn't even notice.

Today, I have a physical manifestation of the pain that can come from trying to resume an old hobby. I can only imagine how it would hurt to try to resume writing.

If I keep bike riding (and get a more comfy-er seat), I'll probably get better and better at it. Same goes for every talent.

Another take-away from church on Sunday:
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased." Heber J. Grant
So which talents have you let slide? Have you ever tried to get one back that you used to have? Did your backside hurt the next day?


  1. comfy-er ... great wordism! Hee

    I loved your Herver J. Grant quote. NICE.

    My talents I've let slide?

    Hmm. Cake baking ... sewing ... and crafting. Sometimes I still try my hand at a few of them, but not as diligently as in the past. My writing is my priority now. :)

  2. Cooking. I can so let someone else do it. Frees up a lot more time for writing. But it's easy for me to do now that my kids are all grown. Time for hubby to start sharing the wealth. =D

  3. Oh Robin, I feel your pain on the bike riding thing. Weird how I don't remember the butt pain when I was a child.

    I love that quote, sadly I missed the lesson on developing out talents because I'm in Primary. Sounds like you all got a good one!

  4. Anita--if Shakespeare can make up words, so can I! :D

    Donna--my hubby already does most of the cooking. Haha.

    Deana--I was a LOT skinnier the last time I rode a bike. Also, Primary is fun, but you sure do miss a lot! I was a primary teacher for over two years--missed the entire Joseph Smith manual. :( (Yeah, heaven forbid I read it on my own.)

  5. I love riding bikes. But I didn't ride one for so long that when I tried to ride it again, I was really shaky. Now I'm doing better, but the first time? Not so much.
    I think it's so important to keep our talents fresh. Share them, or just practice. It would be horrible to lose something that was meant to make us and others happy. :)

  6. The talent I've let slide the most is playing the piano. I never was phenomanally good at it but I could play none-the-less. Side note: I never thought counting was important. Yep, it is. haha. Anyway, now when I play I pretty much suck. To think that back in the day after 8 years of lessons I could play pretty difficult pieces. Hmmm, what am I to do? Maybe play some more. When do I have the time, though? Nice post, Robin. It has made me want to play the piano again. Will I? Probably not, but it is a good aspiration. hehe

  7. "Today, I have a physical manifestation of the pain that can come from trying to resume an old hobby."

    I'm actually on the other end of 'writing talent.' It's hard to lose something you never had. It doesn't come easy for me. But just because it's not a natural talent doesn't mean that it can't become a talent.

    I'm taking another lesson from Heber J. Grant. When his handwriting was atrocious, he decided to do something about it until his handwriting was beautiful.

    One day my writing will be beautiful.

  8. Chantele--did your wrists hurt, too? I'd really like to regularly bike-ride with my family, but dang.

    Julia--I used to be able to whip through The Entertainer like it was nothing. Now? Can barely read music. Re-learning to play piano is on my bucket list.

    Shelly--my printing is usually passable, but my signature looks like a P with a scribble and a U with a scribble. I sign stuff too much to take more time with it. I used to dream of improving my signature in anticipation of all the book-signing I wanna do, but, well, I doubt doing it MORE will encourage me to make it take longer.

  9. I love that analogy. And I haven't been on a bike in a LONG time either.

    I like your quotes too :)

    I stopped practicing the piano and then got a piano playing calling and that hurt. Bad. I'm still rusty. Really rusty. I've learned that lesson!

  10. Michelle--nothing like a calling to force your talents into painful bloom. :)

  11. LOVE that quote by Grant - I've used it a TON.

    Also - about 8 years or so, my husband and I started mountain biking. I hadn't been on a bike in years, and where did we start? Moab. 15 miles of desert. Oh, yeah, that was like, trial by fire.

    But, worth it in the end.

  12. Jolene--another great way to gain a talent? Giving yourself no choice in the matter. :)

  13. With all the editing/revising/querying, I'm afraid I've let the real writing slide. Gotta get back to it!

    P.S. I have something for you on my blog. Come and get it. Just scroll past the 7 things and you'll find it.

  14. Thanks, Shelly--I totally hear you. I really need to write more myself.