I only managed 5 hours sleep last night for various reasons so when the alarm woke me at 6 am, when I looked at the temperature on my iphone, when I did the toe test and it ricocheted back under the doona – everything was telling me stay in bed. But I hastily dressed, slurped tea, fixed my light to my handlebars and opened the garage door.
It crossed my mind to text my cycle buddy that I had had a disturbed night which led me to prioritize sleeping rather than riding. No doubt she would have text-ed back politely. No doubt that staying in bed for another hour would have been warm and snug, but no doubt cycling into the crisp darkness, illuminated only by my lamp’s small circle of light, was the right thing to do.
After a jolly “Hello” for such an early hour we decided on a route and pressed on into the deserted streets and lane-ways. There is something quite unique about being up and out before the world wakes up. Dawn gradually shed its light on our route and our surroundings. The new day showed itself as a clear blue unsullied sky with the weak sunshine of winter bringing little warmth with its rays. We cycled the perimeter of our local bays and coves, each peninsular has a slope to the water’s edge and a hill back, we tackled our route with zeal as hot coffee beckoned.
As we settled into the cafe booth with our hands cupped around our warming drinks the effort of our early morning exertion was rewarded by our lively chatter. When I get back home I will still have all the washing, I will still have a meal to cook, the car to wash but I’ll be energized by my activity, I’ll be nurtured by my friendships and I’ll be less introspective. I’ll feel healthy and I’ve positively reinforced that I ‘m not an isolated carer but a socially included and engaged friend.
Experiences outside of the home reinforce my sense of self, reinforce my identity, reinforces that Emily and I live together but are individuals. Commitments outside the home assist me in delineating my carer boundaries. I am separate from Emily, we each have different interests and friendship groups. We each bring something lively to the other by interacting separately. Our relationship would suffer without space, freedom and separateness.
There are pro and cons to road biking but one advantage is it’s an early morning sport and I can be home before the dog has opened an eyelid or stretched her hind legs, before the morning routine is scheduled. I have the perfect opportunity to maintain myself without any detrimental effects on the household. I am not suggesting that every carer takes up cycling but I do advocate that carers take some time in their day to do whatever tickles their fancy. I know Emily and I cope better if we have both been out and about and engaged socially. It’s worth getting out of bed………