I’ve learned a lot of great tips from some individuals who are a whole lot better at this life thing than I am. I do happen to be pretty good at it now, but I’ve got my fleas just like any other mutt.
I used to, way back in the day before I knew my ass from a hole in the ground, contrast my life against other’s. Most of us are guilty of this to some extent, and I don’t use the word “guilty” lightly. A problem arises when we start contrasting our “insides” with somebody else’s “outsides”. I haven’t done this for quite a lot of years, but I used to fall prey to it often when I was younger, and I can tell you from a vast wealth of experience, seldom (if ever) does any good come of it.
What, specifically, does this mean, you ask?
Let’s say I’m me and you’re you. You look at my blog and think some of the things I write about are pretty profound. You know that I have a pretty decent, if difficult, job and that I not only spend a lot of time on my bike, I also balance that pretty decently with my family and work life. Say you also notice that I don’t sleep much, not because I don’t want to, but because I’m too busy living. Let’s also say that you get the impression (as mistaken as it may be) that I make a lot of money and do a lot of fun things with that money. Your next step is to look at your life and wonder why it is I can be such a superman while you struggle with just getting your running shoes one once or twice a week. Before long you’ve worked yourself into a froth about what a loser you are.
Keep in mind, I used to do this a lot.
Unfortunately, as anyone knows, happiness is an inside job – and so is this.
Big Daddy Jim’s Self Evident Truth #10 is: Don’t compare your insides with someone else’s outsides.
A couple that I know make a lot of money, triple what I do if I had to guess. They never fret money like my wife and I do. Now, if I only looked at that one aspect of their life, I could allow myself to become jealous because I can’t just throw money around like it’s going out of style – I have to make my dollars count. The problem is that their financial security is a part of their “outside”. Their money is not who they are. No, I have to look at the whole picture. I’m regularly home by 5. My wife doesn’t have a job. My kids have a mom who is home (as did I). Now, if I look at that couple’s life, and what they have to give up for that money: The husband gets home around six, the wife gets home between 8 and 9. They rarely see their kids (except on vacation and weekends) and generally, they work their butts off. They’re both overweight and struggle mightily with that…
Folks, when I look at what they have to give up for that paycheck, I wouldn’t wish that on an enemy, let alone two very good friends.
So that’s one of the lessons that has saved me from more personal grief than I care to recall. Whenever I get to looking at another person’s exterior and feeling like I don’t measure up, I have to look at the big picture – so I can remember why I love being me so much.
You never know what you’re capable of until you cut the crap and get down to doing it.
Three days ago I thought I was tired out. Pretty much done for the season. It seemed like every ride got progressively slower, harder. After an epic bonk on what should have been a 108 mile ride, the last ten miles of which I only managed 12 miles per hour, I thought it was time to lighten up till spring. Two weeks ago I’d managed 18 mph over 125 miles, so the notion made sense.
Then Monday afternoon, I ripped into myself a wee bit after deciding to take it easy on my early evening ride. Sorry, but that committee met behind closed doors, and the transcript isn’t fit to print. I made it about a tenth of a mile before I was all over the pedals. I ended up about 2-1/2 miles per hour faster than I had planned on, and that was with a couple of minutes wasted in traffic stops. Yesterday evening I let the committee have it again, both barrels – and was three tenths faster than Monday.
Three days ago my season was all but done in my mind. Today I’m clawing my way back to mid-season form 16 miles at a time.
Now could I have sat back and coasted through October before setting up the trainer in my office? Of course. In terms of gains, this season was epic for me. I’ve beaten every time goal I set for myself, every speed goal and every mileage goal. If I let myself, I deserve to be tired. Folks, that’s how I used to roll but not any more. I used to let off the gas and eventually that would lead to more time off than I’d intended… Sometimes weeks at a time, so I decided to dig a little deeper and push just a little harder, and as it turns out, I had it in me all along, I just had to use a bigger shovel.
That’s Big Daddy Jim’s self evident truth #14: When it’s time to dig deep, use a bigger shovel.