Pause for thought – do we really want life as we knew it back?

As heard on BBC Radio Oxford

If you prefer to read, here is my pause for thought:

Hi, my name is Vanessa Ruck also known as The Girl On A Bike and my pause for thought began in 2014 when I was involved in a life changing accident while cycling. Over the following 6 years I was on a mental and physical roller coaster to get my life back. A life of extreme sports, peak fitness, and most importantly pain free living. I battled through a time when I didn’t even see myself as me, this broken body unable to participate in the activities I loved was not me. Many of my friends would ask me “when is Vanessa” going to be back?

Exploring the countryside around home
Exploring the countryside around home

And then it happened. I realised, not over night, but in an awakening journey about what recovery really means.

When people say ‘recovery’, you typically think of returning to how you were before. But there is no going back. You do not merely recover, you reinvent yourself. You learn so much as you fight through, you see things in new ways and discover new truths; it’s an irreversible journey.

As I record this sat at home in lock-down I see so many similarities to the world’s battle with covid-19. None of this was planned but it is unfortunately the reality of the world we live in right now. The effects are life changing, life as we knew it torn apart, and impacts likely to last well into the future.

I hear so many talking about wanting life back, going back to how things were before. But I can’t help but wonder if that is really what we should want. Lock-down has taught me a lot about myself and somehow made me look at the world in a new way. Always busy, rushing, doing, being, fighting to cram more in, have more, do more, be more. But what does it all mean if we cannot share it with our friends and families? I wonder if I am not the only one seeing what’s more important in life than things. Time is precious.

How many of us have had more phone calls with loved ones and friends more than ever before? How about grandparents, where before it might be months between visits, and now we are embracing video calling and connecting as much as we wish. I’ve had Friday night socials, coffees in the garden sunshine. Reconnecting with people where ‘time’ seemed to have drifted us apart simply because life was ‘too’ busy. I’ve even spent time encouraging more birds into the garden and enjoying their songs. Done jobs I never had the hours in the day to do. I’ve explored the countryside around home. Places on my doorstep so beautiful yet I didn’t realise they were there, instead, jumping on planes and traveling. And most importantly. I’ve stopped to listen and be grateful for everything I do have around me right now. Yes I would love to jump on my off road motorcycle and tear off into the wilderness, but life, even in lock-down is a blessing to be alive.

I think that after lock-down I will take learnings from this time, realising that life does not have to be quite so fast paced and hectic. Keeping a little stillness and deep breaths of appreciation, keeping stronger connections with those I love. Sometimes it is the simple things in life that can bring the most joy.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harley’s and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebook and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

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