On quiet Sunday nights I trade my lounging seat in front of the TV for the seat of my metallic purple bike. I suit up in neon exercise gear, tortoiseshell sunglasses, and scuffed white earphones.
Those first few peddles, from the backyard onto the street, are often the most satisfying of the entire ride. For a brief moment I forget what riding a bike feels like and experience it like it’s my first time all over again. I am defying gravity and my asthma. My brain surges with endorphins.
Honestly, I should just turn back after 30 feet; it would save me from a whole lot of sweaty socks and sunburns.
But the girth of the ride brings with it similar notions of satisfaction.
As I exit my neighborhood I am embraced by a new one, one that is enticing, but terrifying, one where I don’t belong, but could.
It is a familiar friend named opportunity.
This feeling comes far and few between on our planet, but in America, we battled to have it in spades.
In America you can come from a family of window washers and end up a professor at Harvard or a rocket scientist at NASA.
You can go to that rich snooty school on a scholarship and graduate summa cum laude.
That is what independence means to me, having the ability and courage to live life outside one’s preset societal and economic boundaries.
It is freedom. It is opportunity. It is a sense of detachment from the status quo.
As I coast on my bike, the breeze navigates my limbs and for that moment in time I feel detached and free.