Imperfection, Inherent Self-Worth

Fixed Gears

About ten years ago, I bought a used bike. The bike I owned was stolen out of my apartment’s foyer when my landlord left the door open. I didn’t want to invest in another new bike, so I bought one used bike.   

Because the old one had been stolen out of our foyer, I locked the new one in the closest convenient place. Outside. On a “No Parking” sign. Summer turned to fall. Fall turned to winter. At some point the bike was left out on the pole in the snow. 

In time, it’s gears locked up and they could be switched in only one direction. After a while of course, the bike ran out of options in that direction.  

I took it in to the bike shop to be looked at. The bike mechanic’s prognosis was he couldn’t fix the gears but he could turn into a fixed gear bike if I liked. I wasn’t super happy about it, but I was still feeling crunched for cash. I could have no bike or a bike with one working gear. I went for the fixed gear. That’s when I discovered that there’s a kind of ease with having one fixed option.   

I thought of all this today as I listened to Tim Ferriss talk to Debbie Millman about her experience working with habitual patterns in her life. That after thirty years of therapy, she said she would have thought perhaps she’d be done with some of the issues that come up for her. She also, how she wouldn’t really be who she is without those issues.   

She’s basically what she was saying was in certain aspects of her life her options are basically fixed. That’s when I found myself thinking about my old bike again and how there was a kind of freedom in knowing what I had and never having to shift gears.  

This is a simplistic metaphor, and our lives are complicated—still there’s something there that I think could be worth exploring further.     

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