Beginning is the most difficult.
Here is this vision, this goal, this dream.
Here is the triumphant ending, here are the quick montage days of the “normal” middle, and here is the second breakfast on the unusually warm day and the little boy passing a granola bar through the car window while I rest my bicycle against my thighs at the traffic stop.
What is that, there?
What is that beginning but an unsanctimonious attempt at convincing the masses (yourself very much included) that the end goal is achievable, somehow, someday you will get to those middle days.
It’s the first mile, the first chapter, the first paragraph that is the most awkward. Everything to prove and nothing yet to show for it! Loathe was I that sunny day in late April, packs laced up tight to the neck, to tell my fellow cyclist at this stoplight how far I was going. “Montreal!” his eyebrows high and tight. “Where did you start?”
“Four miles back that way.”
Why must the beginning be so disproportionally significant? The beginning of this article, this book, that which signals the reader to keep clutching the covers or to abandon for something better. The beginning of the goal, so fragile, like a little newborn butterfly unfolding wings sappy and just-strong-enough to break the chrysalis.
“The beginning” is the transition between dreaming stage and action stage. The former being the best stage possible, the flipping through a paper atlas with a pink highlighter, basking in the glory of announcing your goal and awaiting their reactions. To pass from the dreaming stage to the action stage feels much like entering middle school. Some innocent childlike apparition is stripped from your person and a demand enters the atmosphere, to be “mature”.
All those highlighter marks, all those national parks, all that dreaming I set myself up for, now I’ve gotta do it.
Now responsible for my actions.
I have to find some way to feed myself, to hydrate, to sleep somewhere safe, to not spend too much money, to not carry too much, to go as fast as I can for as long as I can. But to enjoy, somehow. To make all the decisions, when to start cycling and when to stop and where actually should I go and how the hell do I get there. To write, to talk to people, to be alone, to sleep well, to cycle, to feel it all! The beginning is the cruelest part of it all. Physically, emotionally, and mentally the weakest and with the heaviest pack, burden, and stress.
Yet it must begin, somehow.
& So it does.