Hell On Two (Scooter) Wheels

When some women turn 50, they get Botox.  They go on a cruise or to Vegas.  Some get a new husband. Me? I bought a scooter. Why? Because I always wanted one and turning 50 to me meant that I would no longer put off the things I’ve always wanted.

To me, scooters looked really fun and cool. I imagined myself riding around town with the wind in my hair and feeling very carefree. I thought that I would stuff my dress and high heels into a backpack and arrive to work in my downtown CLE office with the relaxed look of a woman who had spent her commute feeling at one with the road.

What I did not consider was that I would be TERRIFIED!! OMG… without the steel enclosure of a car to protect me, I felt incredibly vulnerable in traffic. The wind did not blow through my hair because I had a helmet strapped tightly under my chin. To make matters worse, that ODOT-approved skull protector was not designed with any thought to fashion or coolness.

Gone were the Malibu Barbie tank top and cutoff jean shorts for summer riding. I donned long pants and sleeves to protect me from errant rocks that seem to come at me from nowhere. Flip flops? Nope. They were replaced by sturdy and sensible shoes. And forget Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They won’t fit under the helmet. My geekdom has no limits on my little “bike” and goggle-like glasses became my friend!

But more importantly, not only am I afraid, but I face a fear every time I ride it. Even in the helmet and with the protective gear, I feel a freedom that is hard to describe. Though not in my hair, the breeze feels great. Through my long sleeves, I can still feel the sun on my back. And I return home feeling like 50 will never hold me back from doing what I want to do.

We all have a collection of fears. Some are big and some small. To be truly empowered, we have to practice facing them. Like a muscle, every time you face a fear, you grow stronger.

So, I issue this challenge to all the SheInTheCLE.com readers…

Let’s call it the “Face Your Fear” Challenge. Pick a fear and race toward it–chest out, shoulders back and eyes forward. Because conquering fear gets easier every time you do it. Start small and pick something measurable and realistic. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Speak up in a meeting where you feel intimidated
  • Plan a solo vacation
  • Sit in the front row of spin class
  • Walk into a cocktail reception where you know not one person and work the room like you own it
  • Buy the (insert thing you’ve always wanted here)

Inspiration is contagious. I would love to hear what challenge you faced! I guarantee, someone reading this blog has faced it and we can all inspire and encourage each other. You can do it. No doubt.

In the meantime, if you see a lady on the west side riding sensibly, going the speed limit (if not slightly below), please give her plenty of clearance and maybe a thumbs up when you blow by her. She may not be hell on wheels, but she is hell bent on conquering her fears!

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Autumn Kiser

Autumn is a life-long CLEvelander, residing on the west side with her long-time boyfriend, life partner and best friend (those all being the same person). Marketing, sales and communications in the sports and entertainment industries are her professional claims to fame with a career that spans 27 years.

The older she gets, the more precious her down time. She spends weekends in the summer on our beautiful Lake Erie, walks or runs with her rescue mix, Gigi (usually with a full poop bag) and cycles both indoors and out.

Recently, eating clean has become her thing, but she has yet to walk away from the Jets 8-corner pizza or a fresh bag of Lays potato chips.
And she will never say goodbye to her favorite antioxidant, WINE.

She has not yet traveled internationally, wishes she had more time to volunteer, is an avid reader of fashion magazines, does not spend enough time with her girlfriends, tries hard to get to yoga, but always blows it off (yet never a hair appointment) and is confounded, but challenged by meditation.

At "fabulous 50" she is still evolving and still trying to figure it all out.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Good morning, Autumn!

    What a fabulous article to start my week. I love your feistiness and power—and I absolutely embrace and support your challenge…because it is so true.

    Although we didn’t know each other in 1984, I took your challenge when I took myself to dinner for the very first time at an “upscale” restaurant near Minneapolis. Traveling out of state gave me the space to try it and although I was terrified, like you, I was determined. I had a book and I sat in a corner—and after I realized that nobody was pointing and staring at an unaccompanied woman, I relaxed and enjoyed the experience.

    All these years later, I don’t remember the restaurant, or even what I ate. Yet I still remember the texture of the white tablecloth and napkin, the weight of the silverware and my appreciation of the gracious service. Most of all, I can still remember the feeling of accomplishment I felt at overcoming my fear. I learned in that moment how nourishing it is to your Soul to enjoy a gorgeous meal at an “upscale” restaurant—even when you’re by yourself.

    Such a little thing, overcoming my feelings of discomfort to take myself out to dinner in a luxurious place—yet it opened the door to my future.

    It was my very first practice of pushing past the limits of my fears to accomplish something that had previously been impossible. Now I have a list of recommendations to a multitude of amazing restaurants nationally and internationally where I regularly take myself out to dinner—and—I have 30 years of strategies and practices to move into your power, that, as a trainer and coach, I have the delicious opportunity to share with millions.

    Once you start pushing past your fears, it gets easier to spot the ones that need to be pushed past and the bigger you can create your life. As I read your article this morning, I realized that there was a direct connection between that long-ago dinner date with myself and my decision earlier this month to sing in public for the first time—in front of 140 people (gulp!) as the Celebrant of the first wedding I’ve ever performed.

    Reading about your experience in traffic brought my beginnings back to me—that moment when you realize that you have much less to lose than you have to gain by pushing against that self-imposed prison of your fears. That’s the moment when you ignite your life—and begin to inspire those millions of people who are looking for a light.

    Thank you for being a Light in my week—and if you ever hear a joyful honk as a navy blue CRV passes by, that will be me!

  • Maia, your words are so appreciated. As a friend of mine says “take your power back” and when you do, you actually become more powerful. And when you think about how precious life is, why would anyone order bad pizza in their hotel room instead of enjoying a great meal out? We women work too hard to let fear stand in our way form enjoying life and growing.

    I will definitely be looking for the CRV!

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