I think we all have defining moments.
They look different for all of us…
I was about half way through riding my bike (alone) from Canada to Mexico. No support team. No friends. No family. Just me and my bike.
I was supposed to take a detour… I don’t remember being clear on why I was supposed to take the detour- so I wasn’t super attached to making it work…
I couldn’t find it so I just moved on.
It had been a pretty rainy that year- and had been raining off/ on that day as well…
I kept encountering patches of mud where I had to work a bit harder to get through- but nothing too crazy.
Then all of a sudden- I found myself slipping and sliding through this incredibly thick, sticky mix of mud and cow manure…
It was so thick- it caked to my shoes and around the wheels of my bike.
I was only able to push my bike a few steps at a time before I had to reach down and remove giant chunks of mud from my bike- and that’s if i could keep myself up right.
I fell over with my bike more times that I can count.
It went on for hours like this.
Step. Step. Grab mud. Grab mud. Step. Step. Grab… Fall. Get up.
Step. Step. Grab mud. Grab mud… Fall. Get up.
After the first hour or so there was also a lot of screaming and crying in the mix.
This was the only time in the entire 30 days that I was alone on my bike that I thought about giving up.
If a car had come by (not that any vehicle could have made it though that mud) I had resigned myself to asking for help.
It’s hard to explain what happened during those hours of slipping and sliding through peanut butter mud with my bike.
I’m not entirely sure I understand it.
Progress through that section was painfully slow- I think it took me over 4 hours to cover 2 miles or something ridiculous like that.
It was silly.
I was just trying to get to this little stream on the map. I knew if I could just get there that I could boil some water to drink and just take a freaking minute.
I just wanted to get this stream.
In my brain it was like this fantasy stream full of greenery and waterfalls and wildlife.
In reality it was nothing like that- it was like a couple inches of water through this massive mud/ maure field.
When I finally arrived to the little “stream” it was both incredibly anticlimactic and my greatest accomplishment of the entire month.
I arrived to the stream caked in a mixture of mud and cow manure and blood and sweat and tears.
I was exasperated and exhausted.
I boiled some water to drink and tried to rinse off in the measly 2 inches of water in the stream.
I passed out on the hard ground covered in dried mud/ manure.
I woke up the next day and continued to bike south.
I knew after not giving up there- I was going to finish what I started.
What does that have to do with anything Tiana?
Well both everything and nothing at all.
Everything in that- we’ve all done hard things- and wanted to give up… and that renewed sense of commitment you get when you make it to the other side is quite literally magical.
So I mean you can definitely find some shared aspects of the human experience there.
And nothing- because like is biking through mud really that difficult? I mean probably not. Maybe it wasn’t even as difficult as I remember it.
That’s the funny thing about memory. Memory isn’t necessarily an accurate recount of previous events.
It’s partly that- and it’s partly our brain filling in the gaps with its interpretation of the event.
At the end, we have a memory- or a story that is a combination of actual events and arguably fantasy.
So in that sense, this memory is really just that. A memory.
Take away being- a memory might not “sound impressive” or “mean anything” to someone else- but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been incredibly important or impactful for you.
Your memories and your experiences are just that– yours.
I would love to hear about your memories of your defining moments below :))