Reverb 2 and 10: spending and risking

Day 2: Your most significant spend

What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?

It doesn’t have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.

What difference has it made to your life?

As a matter of fact it was the biggest expenditure, or, rather, between the two of them, they were. Epona and Midna, the tricycles. Epona, £350, from eBay (whence she is shortly to return). Midna, twice that, from Evans, via the Cycle to Work scheme. They have changed my life, and I have to count them both, because if I hadn’t had the instant gratification of riding Epona, useless as she is, I’d probably have lost interest long before it occurred to me to look into Cycle to Work. And then Midna took so long to show up… Epona served her purpose, even if only for a few weeks. I am going to sell her on, but doubt I’d get much for her in the middle of December. Midna is great.

They have changed my life. Not in any dramatic, world-changing way, but cycling makes me more cheerful and gives me a little bit more independence. It means that I can buy twelve tins of tomatoes at a time if I feel like it. I cycled to and from work today, and even though it was simultaneously freezing and sweaty, and a little bit scary in the dark, and some wanker overtook me far too close (deliberately so, I think) it was such fun, in a way that sitting on the train for ten minutes never can be. It puts me in a whole different mindset.

Day 10: Your greatest risk

What was the greatest risk you took in 2012? What was the outcome?

Should I say, starting to cycle again? Perhaps. I did wonder if I was being a bit rash, forking out three hundred and fifty quid for something I wasn’t sure I was going to have the nerve to use. And actually every day I cycle is a risk; I’m always uncomfortably aware that I’m rather more likely to be killed on the road than I would on the train; but it is one of those occasions where you have to make the choice and stick with it.

There have been a couple of moments this year where I’ve felt physically in danger, and, looking back, have discovered that I took risks to get there – the most notable, perhaps, being where the path disappeared at Woody Bay, when I’d decided not to follow the boring, not-at-all-coastal, coastal path, and see if I could get round by the actual coastline. But that was all right: I swore a lot, clawed my way back up to the actual path, and trudged through a hell of a lot of mud to Seaview.

Coming out to the Rector felt risky at the time, but turned out to be safe and moving and vaguely hilarious. It does feel risky, living without the mask, particularly when it’s a long time since you’ve looked at yourself without it, and the person behind it doesn’t look the same as last time. Yes, I think that was the biggest risk of all: being prepared to let the label fall off. It’s worked out OK; I do tend to forget and to slip back into my idea of who I ought to be, but when I do remember it’s very liberating.

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