Learn from every situation — good or bad

By Matt Nicholson

One of the best weeknight rides over the years was when I crashed six times on a trail I normally rode without incident.

Before I tell you more about what sounds like a bad day on a bike, let me tell you about my week.

This week, my scheduled department visit was with Seymour Police. I had a chance to ride along with one of our veteran officers and see our city from his patrol car. I appreciate these chances to chat and learn.

I know this will shock some, but Seymour, like everywhere else, has its problems. Our officers work hard to help improve our community one interaction at a time. Thank you to the guys and gals in blue for serving our citizens.

I also had a bonus chance to work alongside several departments via the city team. This past week, it finally dried out enough to make major strides on the ball diamond project located at Freeman Field. With recent rain and snow, we may be back to playing the hurry-up-and-wait game if conditions get too wet, but it is nice to finally have this project in full swing.

While we are on the subject of park and recreation, we welcomed new board members to the team at the most recent meeting. Thank you and congratulations to all of our board members. January is normally a time for new roles, and we have many returning members on several boards and some new faces, as well, to kick off 2021.

Welcome to Groups Recover Together, which opened a new office here in Seymour. Recovery does happen, and I believe an office like this will help many break that cycle of addiction and make progress toward a better future, not just for them but for their family and even their community as a whole.

In 2011, Malcolm Gladwell introduced a theory that 10,000 hours of practice would make you an expert in that field. Over the years, I have put in the time to be an expert in the world of cycling. For that matter, I have even been licensed as an expert in the field several times over the years.

Getting back to the ride where I crashed six times, the first crash happened quick enough that I really wasn’t sure how I ended up on the ground. The second was a different cause, but still, the results were the same and I got to pick myself up and dust myself off. Crashes three through five, I was starting to think this just wasn’t my night.

On that sixth and final crash that night, though, I laid there in the woods looking up at the trees as the sun was starting to set and realized this might just be what I needed. It came to me that I needed to adapt with my conditions. I had to be prepared for what I couldn’t see under the fall leaves that covered the ground. I needed to look back and learn.

Reflecting on this ride also made me realize that those 10,000-plus hours are great, and I loved every minute along the journey. They did not, however, make me perfect. They just made me better.

I share this with you today because the 8,784 hours I have served as mayor have also made me better because I learned long ago on a crash-filled night that I have to adapt. I have to pick myself up and dust off and keep pushing forward. I have to learn from every situation.

Thank you to our community for allowing me the chance to keep growing and learning how to better serve as Mayor Matt.

Mets outfielder Leon Brown said, “You will fall many times in life, but you will pick yourself up and become stronger and wiser for each trouble you pass.”

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected]