Learning to Walk took Sixty Years

David G Bowman
2 min readJul 25, 2023

I was born without brakes. Mom said I never learned to walk; I only learned how to run.

My first step was three and then the inevitable fall. Crawling to the next climbing place, I rebalanced, recalibrated, and experienced my first rerun. This one lasted four and a half steps. I was on my way.

Learning to Ride a Two-Wheel Bike

The same mindset was evident a few years later when I learned to ride a two-wheel bike. Training wheels were unnecessary and unwelcome. Dad helped me balance and told me how to push the peddles. A couple of quick wobbles turned into pure, aggressive speed.

I was on my way. Again.

The problem arose when I realized I was about to crash into a rose. Actually, it was several long limbs of rose bushes waving me away from the danger of the fence beyond them. I discovered the hard way that either Dad had neglected to tell me how to push back on the peddles to apply the brakes or I had failed to listen. Which is more likely?

It’s a tossup.

Except Dad is a reliable instructor and I am in a hurry. Always have been. Always will be.

Two or three crashes into the rose bushes taught me how quick success and heart-pounding speed can lead to pure excitement. It can also lead to painful, bloody crashes.

Life Without Brakes

Life without brakes has its advantages. It wins lots of races. It impresses onlookers. It seals reputations.

It leaves people in the dust. This, unfortunately, often includes those you wish would take the ride with you. Some people are uncomfortable with a life without brakes.

Naturally, I married a woman whose foot was placed firmly on the brake from birth. Caution is her byword. “Be careful,” is her favorite saying. “Isn’t that too loud,” is her unnecessary concern. “Did you put on sunscreen,” is her latest worry.

Kamikaze, meet Caution. Immovable object, meet irresistible force.



David G Bowman

I help people live better lives than they dreamed possible. www.davidgbowman.com @davidgbowman #lifedesign #lifeplanning #maximizeyourstory #DailyD