The answer is, "I don't know." I've been thinking about this question (again) recently after a conversation that my hubby sparked the other day.
We were at a Taco Bell, where we saw a group of young teen boys buy a nacho for a girl about their age. The girl left, and they boys began to talk about her in a vulger way. We wondered if that was one of those situations where the girl paid for that nacho with something other than money. This filled my hubby (who works with troubled teens as a social worker) to want to help the girl and led to him ask me if I'd ever thought about mentoring a kid.
The question initially filled me with insecurities about myself. Why would a kid want to hang out with me? What would I have to offer? What could I do to change their life? What would I even talk about? How can I say I'm successful when I didn't become the doctor or engineer I thought I would be growing up?
But my wonderful husband made the point that if spending an hour a week with me meant that some little girl would eat a meal and be safe with no expectations on her, that would be a huge deal for some girls. And I actually am successful in a lot of ways. I do have a lot to offer. I graduated from college, I have a job that I don't mind, I own a house, I'm married, I have income and I can do the hobbies that I enjoy. I can say to a kid, "I did it. You can do it too!" That's not so bad!
(This post does relate to bikes...Hang in there!)
So that got me thinking about volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Then the thought process extended into other ways I could feel better about myself, like going back to school or learning to be more confident about what I have accomplished in life. And thinking about what goals I do - or really don't - need to pursue.
I've been considering trying out some of the things that I think I might love but have never done. The century that I'm training for is one such thing. I could also volunteer at a physical therapy clinic. I have been inspired by Russ and Laura at The Path Less Pedaled, who love bike touring so much that they're in the process of selling all of their stuff and setting out on bikes full time. While I'm not ready to go that far, I'd like to try a touring trip. Two of my girl friends suggested taking a weekend bike trip, and I spent about 5 hours today researching possible routes, wineries, bed and breakfasts, bike shops and tour companies in western Michigan. I clearly have some level of passion for this biking thing.
I'm pretty excited about trying out a multi-day bike trip. I love the idea of riding a bunch of miles, stopping at little village festivals, coffee shops, vinyards, beaches, museums, delis... Carrying all my stuff on my bike. If this trip actually goes off with the girls, maybe I'll talk the hubby into doing one with me too!
So cycling is not only something I enjoy doing. A side effect is that it makes me a more fulfilled, confident, interesting person. I'm driven to do something more than just go to work every day. I have something to get excited about and jabber endlessly about when my hubby needs something to listen to that's not related to his job. Maybe I could share that "something more" with a kid who likes to ride her bike, too. Who knows!