I was recently lucky enough to spend a week in New York City. The focus of the trip was to recalibrate myself in a place I love (something I strongly recommend by the way). The weather was absolutely perfect, so my husband and I used bicycles as our primary means of transportation. Interestingly, biking the streets of New York City helped me reflect on a few critical lessons for living a life of peaceful productivity.
It’s good to have a plan. Of course, there is a time and reason for aimless exploration, especially when taking a week off. However, if you are trying to get from point A to point B, it’s better to have a plan. In NYC, there are one way streets, dead ends, and other unforeseen obstacles between where you are and where you want to be. Taking the time to plan in advance ensures your ride is efficient and enjoyable; much like your days can be with a plan in hand.
Use the bike lane. In a city full of people, cars, buses, and aggressive rickshaw drivers, bike lanes are life! As I safely rode along the section of streets intended for my best interest as a biker, I realized how this concept shows up in other parts of my life. Whether it’s a webinar, group of like-minded people, or a great tool, there are things in life with the sole intention of making my life better and easier. There is no glory in taking the hard route when a resource to make it easier is within reach. What are the supportive ‘bike lanes’ in your life? Are you using them to make your journey safer and easier?
The bike lane might disappear. This was an unsettling, but consistent, discovery on our journey. Mostly due to construction, our precious bike lanes often just ended. Being thrust back into the hustle of NYC traffic, I realized how often this happens in life. Things change. Change is one of the few constants we can count on in life. Thankfully, humans are adaptable and it’s always better to adjust a plan than not have one at all. We found great value in stopping to re-evaluate in times like this.
Be present in the moment. I do not recommend multitasking while on a bike in NYC. There is so much going on around you that not giving full focus to the task at hand can actually be dangerous. I learned this lesson very quickly and really concentrated on what was right in front and around me while biking…and it was awesome! I saw stunning things and beautiful moments that I would have otherwise missed if I was multitasking. This is no different than any other day. We see more and have richer experiences when we pay attention to the moment we are in.
There is a time to pedal hard. One of the coolest things about riding a bike through a city like New York is the variety in your surroundings. In one day, you can see parks, art, architecture, commerce, and food. Unfortunately, you may also experience bad smells, surprise hills, life-threatening traffic, and dirty streets. Like life, you may find yourself in a place you don’t want to stay for long. You may need to pedal harder or faster to get yourself out of that place. The good news is you will make it through the less-desirable section if you just keep pedaling.
If you ever find yourself in New York City, I strongly recommend hopping on a bike and finding your own life lessons. In the meantime, I hope the above notes will help you shape your time for a life of peace and productivity.