Monday, November 12, 2012

The Upside to Struggle, Or What One Should Remind Oneself When One's Bicycle is Stolen

If you don't follow me on Twitter (which obviously you should - @abbalange), then you may not have been informed of the very dire news that my bike has been stolen. Ripped it straight up off the bike rack where I HAD IT LOCKED UP. Right outside my apartment! Which apparently is more crime-ridden than I was aware of based on the window-bashing episode of a few weeks ago. And it's all the more painful because I was really falling in love with this bike. It was a nice old lady cruiser with a low seat so I didn't have to bend over while riding. It had a light and a rack and even a spot for a mile counting mechanism, thanks to the previous owner who totally pimped it out and then never used it. It was just the best bike! And now it's gone, off to live with someone who will surely not love it as much as I did.

As an aside, I'd like to take this moment and say that if YOU, person who stole my bike, due to a movie-worthy coincidence, are reading Sparkle, Sparlke, hear this: RUDE! If you had merely asked, I would have let you ride my bike around the block (obviously under my surveillance since you are not to be trusted.) But yeah, you're a big, fat jerk.

So, needless to say, I was struggling this morning. Monday always seems to punch me in the face, but today it just roundhouse kicked me in the gut. I spent most of the morning feeling totally bummed out, especially as I rode a different bike I borrowed from my parents which just wasn't the same, and was totally prepared to be thoroughly pissed off for the remainder of the day. But then I made remembered something I had heard on the radio this morning, and I'm going to pull it all together in that sparkly way you love so much.

The radio DJ this morning was talking about a woman who was studying differences between the approaches the United States and Asian countries take to education. Specifically the approaches to struggling. Through many conversations with both American and Asian families, she found that Americans tend to operate under the assumption that it's our intelligence that causes our success. On the other hand, in some Asian countries (they didn't state which ones), success is attributed to hard work and a "practice makes perfect" attitude. So when a person struggles with a concept or problem or idea, we Americans might figure the struggle is due to our lack of intelligence. Conversely, the conversations with these Asian families showed that they saw struggle as an opportunity instead of a detriment. The fact that one is struggling doesn't mean someone is dumb, it just means there's work to be done.

The obvious connection here would be to the fact that I feel that I'm struggling EVERY DAY in grad school, but no. I like to make things interesting on this blog, so I'm talking about how I'm struggling with the fact that someone took my bike! When these types of things happen, I just want to hate everyone. I struggle to remember that not everyone is a bike-stealer. But this is an opportunity to remind  me that for the one person who stole my bike, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of people who did NOT steal my bike! And that's kind of cool if you really think about it. For the most part, there are more kind, good people out there in the world. It's just those few jerks that distort our view of humanity. So if someone ripped you off today, try to remember all those people who didn't. Focus on the good. Revel in kindness.

And if you see someone on a black Pure Trek bike that looks stolen, get their address so I can send them a courteous thank you note for this life lesson.

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