Which is exactly what I did this morning. I was riding back to Twickenham after volunteering at my local Parkrun (Crane Park). One of the roads was closed for some minor repairs. The footpath was still available and so I approached a point where the kerb dropped and as I hit it the angle was clearly wrong. The wheel stopped at the kerb and I was thrown onto the floor. I put out my hands instinctively. My left knee and left palm took the brunt of the force. I was down. I was about two minutes from home.

After the shock of actually being in an accident I stood up and took stock of the damage. I had gloves on so no cuts, just the force of the impact. My left knee was bleeding and my jeans had ripped. My bike wheel was out of alignment. I was wearing a helmet and my head took no impact that I could tell. I realigned the bike and rode home. Immediately my body went into damage protection and healing. Bruising, swelling and pain. I cleaned myself up and reflected on what had happened. The first thing that came to mind is how easily things can change in a moment. I had been riding happily and without concern for almost six miles that morning and in a second, with a particular decision, I came crashing back down to earth. It’s all pretty minor stuff and I’m sure that there’ll be no serious consequences. My body will heal, scabs will form and eventually disappear. The bike can easily be sorted and clothes can be repaired.

Of course it could have been worse. Accidents happen and I will never know when that time will be, if at all. And with big or small incidents, I have to deal with the consequences of my actions.

Today I was at fault. I could have stopped and walked around the very small part of the road that had been closed. I could have slowed down and chosen a different angle. Lots of choices I didn’t take. Would it have happened if the road was open? No, probably not, but it’s nobody’s fault but my own. The circumstances had changed and I reacted in the way I thought best.
I made that decision so I’m not annoyed or frustrated. And I don’t blame anybody else.

Taking ownership gives me the power to deal more effectively with what has happened. Something is always going to happen to us, no matter what our plans, no matter what choices we make. It’s life isn’t it? It’s how you deal with the consequences of your decisions that determines what happens next to a degree. We are often presented with serious challenges, much worse than falling off a bike. But it’s still how we choose to deal with that situation that decides what happens next and how it impacts us ……..

And it is a choice. We cannot control a lot that happens in our life. We can control how we feel about a situation, and how we then deal with it. I’ve dealt with many situations unhelpfully, getting angry, annoyed and stressed. Every situation is a new opportunity for me to discover how much I’ve learned, what I have still left to learn. The only thing I can know for certain is that there will be another challenge coming along very soon.