Like a fish needs a bicycle.
One day when Marsha Mackerel was swimming around in the sea, she happened to see some kids riding their bicycles along the boardwalk, laughing and joking and having what looked like a lot of fun.
They had brightly colored bicycles with baskets on the front filled with all kinds of colorful shopping bags.
“That looks like fun,” she said to herself. “They aren’t stuck just swimming around in this salty ocean, never going anywhere new. Never meeting anyone interesting. I bet there’s a whole new world outside to explore on one of those things. I bet if I had one my whole life would change.”
So she decided she’d get herself one and see what kind of fun she could have. A fish on a bicycle! What an idea! She just HAD to have one. It would make her life perfect!
Taking a deep gulp of watery “air” thru her gills, she ventured out of the water, and flip flopped herself to the bike shop on the boardwalk. She looked at all the cool styles that were available, and selected a bright pink one with a flower covered basket on the front.
She flopped up to the counter and pointed her fin first at the salesperson behind the counter, and then at the bicycle, just visualizing herself riding away on that gorgeous bike, living an entirely new life of fun and adventure! Oh the people she’d meet…!
But then….she realized her dream of having a bicycle was just that. A dream, all in her mind, as the person behind the counter explained to her the problems of a fish riding a bicycle.
“How are you going to sit in the seat? You’re not exactly made to sit down, you know. You’re shaped different than we are. And you certainly can’t pedal it; you have no feet, and your fins aren’t strong enough.”
“Plus you live in the ocean, not on land. How will you be able to breathe on a bicycle? I know you have a storehouse of oxygen in your gills right now, but it’s not going to last much longer, and you’re going to have to go back into the sea. You can’t take the bicycle into the sea with you, because it’s not designed to go underwater. Just like you’re not designed to live on the land.”
“You live in the water and swim all day. You can go places I could never go,” said the salesperson. “I envy you because I can’t even swim. I’d trade places with you if I could. But it doesn’t work that way. I’m who I am and you’re who you are.”
“A fish doesn’t need a bicycle. A fish needs to be what you are. And enjoy being what a fish is. A fish needs to be happy in her own scales, and they’re beautiful iridescent scales, too, with shimmering colors that make you beautiful. Just the way you are. That bicycle you think you want, no matter how attractive, would only take away from your own beauty, and tie you down. You don’t want that, do you?”
And he continued on. “You need to be happy being yourself. And you don’t have to have something you can’t use to make you happy. Don’t be envious of what others have, because you have things they don’t have. Like me. You can swim and I can’t. And I guarantee you wouldn’t want to lose that ability just to be able to ride this bicycle for a few days. Would you?”
Maggie thought about what he’d said. “No, I wouldn’t. I just thought I’d be happier if I had some of the things other people have that seem to make them happy. I feel like I’m missing something….”
“You’re not missing anything,” said the man. “You just think you are. Go back to the ocean and be who you were made to be. I guarantee you’ll be happier when you think about what I said. Because you have to like yourself to be happy with yourself. A bicycle can’t make a fish happy; only you can do that. And then watch what other good things will happen when you make yourself happy!”
So Maggie Mackerel headed back to the ocean and jumped back in. She took a delicious gulp of air and felt it rejuvenate her body. Maybe that man was right. She enjoyed feeling the waves around her body, and hesitantly headed out to new adventures.
A fish doesn’t need a bicycle to be happy.
A woman doesn’t need a man in order to be herself, or who she’s destined to be. Like Maggie Mackerel, she has to like herself, be comfortable in her own body, to be truly happy.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and being yourself is so much better than being someone else.
There’s only one you. Don’t try to make yourself someone you’re not in order to make yourself into someone you think you should be. The world needs you, not another copycat of someone else. And you don’t need anyone else to get you there.
Did Maggie Mackerel get her life together? What do you think?
I can tell you this much. She didn’t go back and get that bicycle. She found out she didn’t need it!
Neither do you.