The other day Steve and I went biking. It was a beautiful day, one of the few where it was warm enough to wear shorts in Norway this year. After spending the day by our desks using only our butt and finger muscles by sitting and typing, it felt good to move the whole body.
I had gotten a pulse watch from Steve for my birthday so it was fun to keep track of our pace and distance ridden. I was amazed at my speed. We have nice bikes, all high-tech and light weight. Steve was in a rebellious mood and did not put on his helmet. I wore mine, because, quite frankly, the downhills scare me. The helmet on my head gave me a small sense of security. Still I used my breaks diligently as I made my way down.
We wanted a real workout. We wanted to sweat and hurt a little. We wanted to see if our time was better this time than last time. So we trotted on. There was just one problem: there were wild strawberries on the side of the road. Every few meters there were big amounts of them (not big, because wild strawberries are small, but you get my point). At first I kept looking past the strawberries and changed gears to make the impact on my body a bit more intense. This was not the time for picking strawberries. This was the time for sweating. This was the time for high pulse. This was the time for calorie-burning.
But finally it got too much. I could not resist the temptation. I stopped, got off my bike and started picking strawberries. They were delicious! Sweet and tart at the same time, bright red and vulnerable. When we had picked them all, we got on our bikes and went a little further, until we saw more strawberries. Then we got off and picked more.
We finally made it home, but not in record time. And, in the end, it didn’t matter at all.
This is what I thought: How many chances like this will I get this year? A sunny day, a beautiful place and strawberries on the side of the road. Next week they may be gone. Next month fall is already here. Next year this road may be a be paved and the strawberries gone. Why not enjoy them now? Why am I in too much of a hurry to stop and pick strawberries?
While adding handfuls into my mouth I thought that my experience as a good illustration of real life too. Often we hurry along, trying to break our own records in efficiency and perfection. Often we get so busy that we forget to look for the strawberries in our lives. And if we see them we don’t take the time to pick them. And when we finally decide to make time for the stopping, picking and enjoying it may be too late. Winter is already there, the strawberries are gone—either picked by others or rotted.
So I committed to not pass up strawberries. Not on my bike rides, not on my walks and not in my own life.