Editor’s Note: Sarah and I (Lily) have been doing most of the talking during this pandemic, but we want to hear from YOU! If you have something to say about how you’re feeling in these strange, terrifying, and surreal times we’re living in and want to write a newsletter intro about it, send an email over to me at lily@chairmanmom.com.

Our intro today comes from Chairman Mom reader Samantha Barnes, who’s the co-founder and CEO of Raddish.

Despite an abiding love for my pretty-in-pink seashell bike in 1987, I never much liked biking. My mom, who at 76 mountain bikes and travels the world cycling, has spent over three decades feeling mom guilt about this fact.

To this day, I’ve never been to a spin class; sedentary biking reminds me of painful PT visits after multiple knee surgeries. And clearly, I don’t have a Peloton!

But can you guess my new quarantine hobby? 

That’s right…biking! Every evening around 5pm or 6pm, I hop on my rusty yellow Hawaiian hand-me-down beach cruiser and pedal across the neighborhood, all the while imagining myself a kid in the 1950s. The sun is low in the sky, and it’s warmth radiates on my face, despite the cool breeze at my back. The sounds are of simpler times: Birds chirping, dogs barking, a distant lawnmower. Sometimes my kids come, and because there’s not a commuting car in sight, we race side by side down the center of the street. Sometimes I’m solo, casually waving to the other bikers, walkers, and neighbors on their front porches, each one taking advantage of golden hour in quarantined suburbia. Heck, I’ve practically made more new friends on my quarantine bike rides than I have in my 15 years in L.A. 

For 30 minutes, I’m not an exhausted mom, worrying about my kids’ screen time or worn out by their constant needs. I’m not an anxiety-laden media consumer, worrying about deep inequities in our drastically changing world and millions of people suffering. I’m not a startup founder working from home, worrying about what comes next for my business and how to best support my colleagues. I’m not an overwhelmed homeschool teacher, worrying about my kids’ education and their endless Zoom schedules. I’m not a provider, worrying about what we’re having for dinner or the next time I’ll have to mask-up to replenish at the grocery store. For 30 minutes, I just am. 

Whether it’s an appreciation of simplicity, or the neighborhood calm, or the feeling of childhood freedom, biking has become my happy hour. 

I’ve spent years trying to figure out what self-care looked like for me. Who knew it would take a pandemic to find it?

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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