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Balance is the key

By: Ivan A. Panistante - @inquirerdotnet - Columnist/Philippine Daily Inquirer | September 26,2022 - 09:18 AM

Just keep your balance!

These words of my cousin who taught me how to drive a motorcycle echo in my mind.

Learning to drive entails more than just maneuvering your motorcycle, accelerating, braking, and applying the throttle. Control and balance are essential.

I began learning to drive a motorcycle when I turned 26. Yes, it’s a little late compared to others who went through it in their youth. I have always wanted to drive, but fear and intimidation kept pestering me. Part of my worry stemmed from hearing about accidents and deaths caused by reckless driving. Nevertheless, a voice in my head continued urging me.

My parents didn’t own a motorcycle. They prefer a four-wheel vehicle. My mother often says, “hindi safe sa inyo” (it’s not safe for all of you) whenever I’d ask her to buy a motorcycle.

Things began to shift when I showed her a video of a missionary priest riding a motorcycle in his mission area. “My God, amo ina ang lugar nga diin kaw makadto?” (“My God, is that the place where you will be assigned?”) she asked. “Oh, yes,” I replied. She simply stared at me with an enigmatic expression.

With the assistance of my cousin, I quickly began my training. When I reached over and gripped the right handle with my right hand, a surge of adrenaline pumped my whole body. In order to mount the motorcycle, I stood on the left side and shifted my weight onto my left leg, which was followed by my right leg as it passed up and over the bike.

Reality hit me when I faced the controls. Suddenly, I heard my heart thumping and felt my palms sweating as he began to describe the various controls, foot positions, signal lights, horns, and mirrors, among other things.

I expected it to be a breeze by driving gradually at first, but I was mistaken. On my first attempt, I kept falling off balance. Riding it on an unpaved and muddy road worsened the situation.

I convinced myself deep down that this was not a nightmare because I had failed to balance correctly for the first time and so on. On my next attempt to balance the motorcycle I was sweating like a pig as I drove like a boy with palsy straining to keep my head up.

My cousin told me to maintain my balance as panic gripped me. He patiently followed and assured me that my uncertainty was nothing more than my imagination.

Hearing those words provided me an antidote for my paralyzed vision.

As soon as my vision cleared up, I made an effort to get up, raise my head, and make another attempt. Since then, I’ve resolved to give it another shot, regardless of how many times I failed, as long as I got something positive out of it. I convinced myself that maintaining balance was the secret to moving forward. As Albert Einstein would say, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

I learned that controlling a motorcycle requires more than just knowing where to put your hands, where to move your body, or having a good motorcycle. The key is to maneuver properly with smooth balance input. A solid balance between the driver and the vehicle is necessary. Having half faith in yourself will not help you drive properly.

However, we sometimes overlook the value of balance in both driving and daily life, maybe because we are too overconfident. In my situation, I have sustained numerous wounds to better grasp my errors, yet these wounds are not a sign of failure but rather a chance to grow, a part of the whole process of learning.

Learning to balance helps me feel how professional drivers taste freedom on the road. I get to travel, see the places I want to see, and take various side trips while doing so. The amazing sensation of fresh air whizzing in my ears and hitting my face as I drive is probably what I crave the most. Perhaps it is because of these awe-inspiring times that I continue to learn.

I’ve been riding a motorcycle for a while now, navigating some barangays in my hometown. I would have regretted missing out on these new experiences if I allowed my dread and worry to really take over me. Although learning to balance is arduous, it is necessary for leading a successful life l and not only while driving. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that progress and aliveness depend on maintaining balance. Doing so will not only make you live safely but also effortlessly.
Ivan A. Panistante, 26, is from Iloilo. He is a member of the CICM AIFC congregation. He is preparing for his new mission in Indonesia.

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TAGS: balance, bicycle, Cebu Daily News, driving, learning, life, Motorcycle, Moving, panic

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