I was both terrified and thrilled to climb onto the bike at the general store we rented the bikes from. The kind older farmer who handed me a helmet and a complimentary map and bottle of water looked at me a bit doubtfully. I didn't blame him, I doubted myself. We pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road, my sneakers trying to stay on the pedals and my legs shaking as the bike wobbled from side to side. It was rough going for the first ten minutes or so and then just like magic, I was riding a bike, just as I had ten years before. We rode 12 miles that afternoon and even then, I didn't want to stop. It was as if (barring a few gray hairs and some student loan debt), I was 17 again.
We had five days off from the play this week, and we returned last night for a brush-up rehearsal before our weekend performances. I felt the similar stab of fear as I took off my jacket at the theatre and prepared to go to places for the top of the show: I hadn't performed this play in five days, which in the theatre can feel like a million years--would I forget my lines? Have no connection with the other actors? Mess up my blocking? I panicked in the darkness of the lobby.
The first ten minutes felt like moving underwater, I felt rusty and my body felt heavy. Then, just like magic, my lines came without me having to think about them and I felt my body settle into the character. It astounds me how surprised I am every time I try to do something that I've been away from for a bit, and realize it's not completely gone. I wonder when I will start to have faith that no skill is ever lost, it just needs the dust to be shaken off of it. You never really forget how to ride a bike.
Wishing you a weekend where you get back on the bike. Or put on your dancing shoes, get out your sewing machine, unearth your cookbook, paint brushes, or board games. It'll all come back to you, even if it does take some time. Have courage and don't be afraid if you wobble a bit at the beginning.