IT WAS with great pride that I took the brave plunge from a neat and nerdy twelve-year-old leaving behind a rather boring year at the top of primary school to the wild abandon of high school.
I was brimming with excitement at entering the really big school, but my heart also raced at the thought of being a rookie again.
My dad was steady with his counsel. He himself had made such a transition before, but his wisdom concerned how this feeling would recur in life.
I entered the world at the top of my ladder, only to start a fresh climb on the next one waiting for me. This, he said, would happen many more times in life: from scholar to student, from worker to boss-type figure, from partner to every other title you step into in life.
The memories of rising to the top of the last ladder fade as the first tentative steps beckon on the shiny new version, but they should not go amiss.
The value of growing and moving forward is not found in the first gear of starting over all the time. Growth is found in the momentum.
The first steps into the new year, the growth of personal ability, the confidence to take a giant leap: we are creatures who stretch our own limitations.
Think back on the times of change from one chapter to another. For me, gearing down to the essentials of what I know about myself, and the world I operate in, gives me an opportunity to scratch my roots and rethink my ways.
Much like new year's resolutions, I get to make lists of things I will not do, things I want to improve on, and lessons I remember from the past.
This year is in its baby shoes, but I have already had to adapt my ways. A new cycle route to work has proven to be a great reliever of anxiety – and visible evidence of my efforts.
My commute to work, and joyful return in the afternoon, are proving to be central to my nerve-calming grand plan. Apparently I am not alone in this.
I read a while ago that commuting – and confrontation with one’s boss – rank in the top three spots of the average office worker’s stress hit list.
Reducing my anxiety at the tank however does not reduce the primeval urge to survive. While my trusted old cycle route was filled with pie-eating, handbag-swinging pedestrians, I am now faced with the early rush of coin and food delivery trucks along the touristy stretch of Cape Town’s Waterfront.
In a week where cyclists took to the roads to protest their emotions about their safety, I too had to take stock of the odds to reach my destination.
Yet motorists, truck divers and pram-pushers are not solely to blame. It was also a week of witnessing, on a scenic ride, cyclists without helmets while others swerved into oncoming traffic.
Cycling safety is not my sole mantra for the year. Remaining focused on the basics that allow me to take the first step of the next ladder I am embarking upon to the best of my ability, is.
*You can follow Adriaan on Twitter as @aiBester as he swerves from trucks and prams to reach his day job. Opinions expressed are his own.
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