What kind of wheels do you have? Do they tell your story? Can wheels teach us anything about life?
From strollers to bikes
|Photo courtesy of John Kasawa|
My first set of wheels preceded my earliest memories. I was a babe in a stroller with my mother pushing me through time and space, introducing me to the world, and the world to me.
My tricycle was an empowering set of wheels that allowed me to chase after my older sisters on their bicycles, until they reached the corner at the end of the street. The corner was my “stop” sign, and it meant head for home.
If the tricycle was empowering, bicycles gave me a whole new experience of freedom. From the shiny, blue bicycle I received on my seventh birthday to the 10-speed road bike that carried me through the high school years, bicycles opened up the world to me, enabling me to travel around corners and tackle steeper roads.
|Image courtesy of zirconicusso|
From cool cars to mini vans
During my university years, I drove around in my sisters’ classic 1967 white Ford Mustang, a car that my father bought for a song, and lovingly restored. Just when I thought I had arrived at the height of coolness, cruising around Vancouver in the Mustang, life moved on, and with it, my sisters, who sold their car.
Tony, a blue Toyota Corolla, entered my life when my younger sister arrived at university. While the Corolla was not nearly as cool as the Mustang, owning a car was something of a status symbol, and I felt pretty special. However, life continued its forward march. I married, leaving Tony behind with my little sister who drove it for another two decades.
My husband and I started out with Homer Honda, his zippy, copper-coloured Civic hatchback. It was small enough that he could push it up a steep driveway on a winter’s morning as I gave it the gas, and nearly asphyxiated him. It was fun and sporty; the perfect car for a young, carefree couple ready to rock on down the highway.
|Image courtesy of mapichai|
With the birth of our second child, we graduated to a Civic Sedan. It wasn’t long before two children were three, the Civic became an Accord, and we bought a second car, a red Mazda Protégé to transport kids to activities. Before long, we caved into the pressure from three kids cramped in the back seat, and “upgraded” to the mini-van we named Dream Chaser. We had traded “cool” for the meaningful responsibilities and rewarding relationships of family life.
When I was twenty something, I found it amusing that “old” (fifty something) men drove around in sports cars. I get it now, being fifty something myself. Middle age is one of those quick stops on the highway of life when we can comfortably own a sporty car. So while I still drive a sedan, there is also a coupe at my disposal.
Wheels of the future
It’s hard to say what wheels are in my future. Maybe my trike will reappear as a motorized scooter, or my two-wheeler as a wheelchair with someone pushing me once again.
From stroller to coupe, my wheels have corresponded to the phases of my life. They have been symbolic of the transitions from infancy and dependency to adulthood and responsibility. With each transition, there came a developing awareness of personhood and life. And just as a wheel once set in motion revolves until it runs out of steam or someone applies the brakes, my life and my understanding of life continue to evolve.
From the empowerment that came with madly pedaling my tricycle to the joy of pursuing my children’s dreams in a mini-van, from the skinned knees of falling off my bicycle to a car crash that left me shaken, wheels symbolically tell the story of my life, representing its ups and downs, the easy drives and the tough journeys. Rounding out corners and expanding boundaries, wheels chart our progress from beginning to end, reminding us that nothing is permanent and that change is always certain.