Taking Big Bites

In my house, when there’s a child who needs spoon feeding that child sits by Sean.  Inevitably, sitting with their dad they’ll eat better than they do for me.  My problem is that I just don’t have a lot of patience for child feeding, I’ve got other stuff going on.  So rather than being patient and slow I load the spoon up, to try to maximize the amount they’re getting with each bite.  In my head, at least in my subconscious, this will make the meal go faster.  In reality it usually resulted in tears and an unwillingness to eat and a host of other inconveniences and the meal ended up taking longer than it probably would have it I had just given the baby baby sized bites.  But I didn’t, because that’s not how I do anything.

About a year ago I was spending a fair amount of time rock climbing.  Most of the time it was just me and a friend who was only slightly more experienced in the sport than I was.  But occasionally, rarely, I would have the chance to talk to someone who climbed a lot, someone who had some expertise in the sport and their comments tended toward the same thing.  “Slow down.  Plan your moves.  You power through the early part of the climb and burn yourself out and then you’re stuck halfway up the wall.”  In other words, take smaller bites.

Well, I’m not spending a lot of time climbing anymore (although I am planning on going in about 2 weeks if I can raise the final $45 [follow the link to donate]) but I am spending some time bicycling.  My bike is an $80 Walmart special 15 speed “mountain” bike.  I ride it to and from various nearby establishments, the library, the store if I’m not buying too much, school and as I’ve mentioned before, home from work.  And in all those rides I’ve changed the gears exactly never.  The bike is in the hardest gear and that’s where it stays.   It’s not that I don’t know that I’ve got options, it’s not even really that I don’t have any reason to change gears, I would occasionally really appreciate an easier gear.  But if I change gears then each rotation of the pedals translates to that much less distance, it makes my efforts that much less efficient and well, I take big bites.

I did the same thing about a year ago when I went back to school.  I took all the classes I could fit into my life as fast as I could take them.  The goal was to be done as fast as possible.  The result was an extreme case of burnout about halfway through the summer such that I almost didn’t take classes at all this semester (but then I was offered a spot in a class that I’ve been trying to get into for a while and I felt obligated to take it).  I was stuck halfway up the wall too tired to keep going.

What this means for me in school is that I’m going to try to be a little more patient, a little more willing to slow down, to realize that it doesn’t all have to be done now, to realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

What this means for me in cycling is that if and when I ever get the chance to buy a “real” bike (one that comes form a bike shop rather than from a department store, one that actually fits me) I’ll probably buy a single speed with a pretty steep gear.  I neither want nor need other options.  Sure, conventional wisdom says that what’s important is the cadence (the speed at which you turn the cranks) and not the speed at which you’re moving.  But that’s just not how I roll (get it? roll? bike? Ha!) I take big bites.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bythelbs
    Sep 07, 2010 @ 10:20:05

    Big bites are probably better than no bites. I think I mostly just nibble.

  2. Chris Jones
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 06:40:21

    How did you write a novel taking big bites? It seems to me – and I know a bit about what I’m talking about – that that’s impossible.

    I’ve been thinking about this post since you wrote it. It’s made me think about what and who I am, in a good way. I also have a predisposition to big bites, but there are things I’m trying to do that require small bites to accomplish. It isn’t in my nature, but I’m trying to learn.

    I wrote that novel in a month. Those are some pretty big bites. -Al

  3. madhousewife
    Sep 10, 2010 @ 09:34:44

    I take big bites, and then I immediately gag on them.

  4. LisAway
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 23:40:58

    I think I could never eat with you. You would be finished before I’d ever started. Awesome that you have the determination to start things like that AND that you’re learning to regulate it.

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