“Eyes on your own paper, everyone.” —Your Fifth Grade Teacher, Probably

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby

Lately, I’ve been taking spin classes. Spin isn’t actually my preferred form of exercise, but the class is at the right time for my schedule, so I go. The first time I went, I tried to keep up with the class. When the instructor said that we should pretend to be on a super-intense hill and my pace should be a certain amount, I dutifully cranked up the resistance and pushed those pedals. By the end, I felt like I was going to pass out. It didn’t make me want to come back.

A New Spin on Spin

Then I had a revelation. The instructor could not actually see how much resistance I had on my bike. She couldn’t see my pace. Nobody could see those things but me. Also: nobody cared. I didn’t have to pedal at the highest level of human capacity. I didn’t have to give it 110% to keep up with the class. I could give it 80% and still be sweating my rear off. I was here for my health, not to win a yellow jersey. Besides, spin bikes are stationary. We’re all going to reach the finish line in 45 minutes, no matter how fast we go.


Now, when the instructor tells me crank up the resistance until it’s “wicked hard” (we’re in Massachusetts, after all), I give the knob a small tweak. Not quite wicked...more like naughty. And that’s fine because guess what—I like spin class a lot better now that I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up afterward. And the most important thing is to keep doing it.

Lower That Bar If You Need To

If writing ever begins to feel like a chore or a slog, try taking your expectations down.

Don’t tell yourself that you’ll spend five hours on something; try spending half an hour on it, instead. After that, if you want to keep going, you can. You don’t need to live up to anyone else’s standards or expectations. Run your own race, at your own pace. We’ll all get there, in the end.