I feel like frickin’ Wonder Woman for surviving 2020, including this along with everything else (and waking up on the first morning in 2021 in my Wonder Woman onesie served as a visual reminder to myself of that).
As are you.
And now, here we are, holding the power to make a difference in our hands.
We know what needs doing. This is no time for mediocrity or the gutter of failed imagination. This is no time for groupthink or a culture of knee-jerk reactions of all the reasons why something isn’t possible.
Our wildest dreams are possible.
We are possible.
I rode through the fog on the last morning of 2020 yesterday in the shadow of the global headquarters of State Farm insurance company (where there is no bike rack in the parking garage, by the way, as opposed to the Americas headquarters of IHG nearby).
I ponder a lot, you know, when I ride, and here’s what I was thinking:
A story in The Wall Street Journal this week included the statistic that 70% of U.S. adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese. This is not news. The statistic is from 2015 (and has most likely gotten worse).
However, this reality, along with related co-morbidities, is a known high risk for COVID, which, as we now know all too deeply, affects not just individuals but our entire society’s ability to function.
Additionally, I blogged about the risk to our national security more than ten years ago when the military was citing our obesity epidemic as a major issue in recruitment.
And, thus, I wonder.
Can I be of help to State Farm (and wellness departments of other corporations) to encourage more healthy eating and active transportation?
Can the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, engineer active transportation as a public health and national security priority, and if so, can I be a part of that path forward? Has my higher power been preparing me for this precise moment in history?
I persevered illegally on a sidewalk (after leaving my city, where it’s legal for these reasons) to the nearby major hospitals. I needed to see things for myself (as usual) after receiving a dire warning from my local mayor that disrupted my sleep for the prior three nights.
When I arrived to eery silence at the ambulance entrances of each hospital, it was immediately clear that we are in trouble, folks. The hospitals are full.
There are things we can do (in addition to following CDC guidelines) to reduce the impacts on our hospitals, but we are not doing them. My god, I wish someone, anyone, had listened when I begged for this in March, 2020. There can no longer be a Cone of Silence.
Every possible thing we can do to make a positive difference should be not only on the table, but in the streets right now. (See Your Awards Are Not More Important than Our Lives.)
I feel scared, but I know fear is a failure of faith (in whatever form it presents itself), and I know I need to continually work on faith on a daily basis.
In my higher power.
In the journey.
And thus, I took a final Leap of Faith to end a challenging Leap Year yesterday, and committed to continuing that metaphoric daily ritual (even if I no longer post the photos).
I re-read my book this week and there’s good stuff there. Prescient stuff. Dare I say inspirational, in ways you may need right now (or at least, I do). Give it a look.
Your support is not only appreciated but needed, as all proceeds enable me to keep providing free basic bike skills classes to women and girls, who are underrepresented in our public spaces. Plus, your actions after reading it (as suggested on pages 127-129) are actually necessary — now, more than ever.
Sign up to follow this blog, if you’re not already doing so (and thanks to those who have been joining me on this journey day in and day out).
Tap in on Thursdays as I post a weekly Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor update. My first two months serving in this eight-hours-a-week pro bono position as part of a global network have shown me what works best. A full 50% of my Thursday posts each month will serve to shine a light on others.
Sundays are for Food for My Daughters, so check out that book and blog as well if growing food, knowledge, and community (and planting seeds of change) are interests of yours.
And, of course, I’ve got other things up the sleeve of my onesie as well. For instance, the artists among us have been brewing, and I suspect we are going to see an astounding renaissance this year (which, frankly, has already started), and I hope to be a bigger part of it.
Bottom line? The road ahead is undoubtedly dark, and the challenge is monumental. I know I have a choice. I can rot at the bottom of a hill in suburbia (as I say on page 23 of my book), or I can rise to this challenge.
I choose to rise.
Oh, and if you haven’t voted yet here in Georgia in the U.S. Senate runoff January 5, please do so this upcoming Tuesday.
For future elections, here are the Citizen Expectations for City Leaders in a Changing World that I wrote in 2008 (when where I live in Metro Atlanta became the newest city in the United States), and to which I refer when making my voting decisions: