Mrs. Bgddy has lamented, on more than one tear-filled occasion, that we don’t “do better” financially. It’s not that we don’t do well, we do, but that we do not maximize our earning potential. There are several reasons for this. For instance, Mrs. Bgddy does not have a job. I work relatively set hours (from well before my wife and kids wake up until 4 pm at the latest). Only under extreme circumstances to I work late or on the weekends (almost never). I made a decision long ago that my kids wouldn’t know they’re dad only by the fact that they had to keep quiet when he comes home so I can catch a nap before a late dinner. My wife and I also made the decision that we would stick to a traditional upbringing of our kids rather than rely on daycare. The choices we make have consequences. We own a smaller home, though on a fantastic two acre lot, out in the country. We don’t live in a nice subdivision and we don’t have a lake or even lake access. We live, for two people with a great deal of earning potential, fairly simply compared to some of our friends.
On the other hand, I have a friend who has everything. He and his wife both work and are very successful. She works a decent amount of hours while he’s gone from sunup to sundown (in the middle of the summer). He works 15-16 hours a day, at least six days a week… On the other hand, they have everything. Huge house, new cars and just about any toy they could want. He was a cyclist as well. His rims cost more than my first three bikes cost me – combined. The choices we make do have consequences after all.
Of course, he doesn’t ride his bike anymore because he doesn’t have the time, so he’s as big as he’s ever been and he’s miserable about that. He rarely sees his daughter anymore, awake at least, and he’s pretty miserable about that. Oh, and he’s now on his way to turning himself into a drunk, “just to take the edge off” – so everybody’s pretty miserable about that.
All too often we compare what we have with what others have without looking at what must be sacrificed to have those things. We have a tendency to believe that everyone who has money had it handed to them, as if they won the “life lottery” and everything is beaches, bikinis and bubbly… that’s all we can see from the outside. We don’t know people well enough, or don’t pay attention enough to see that to have that high yearly income, things must be sacrificed – and it’s all too often sanity.
So my wife and I had a conversation last weekend and she was teary eyed again, but for a different reason. She said that now she gets it, that she can see the full picture – and she’s glad that we made (and continue to make) the decisions that we do. Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that. I’m a blessed man.
P.S. I did not misspell or misuse the word “Tail” in the title.
I picked Mrs. Bgddy up from the airport last Sunday. She’d just come back from a trip in Dallas, a fairly regular pilgrimage for her. After she told me about the trip she became quite excited and told me about how she’d seen a reflection of herself and couldn’t believe how much more defined her legs are becoming and how happy she was to be cycling. A few days ago she came back from a 12 mile ride and asked, “guess how fast my fastest mile was”… I guessed 3 minutes flat. She replied, “close, 3:09, but the wind! Guess my slowest mile”… “Um, 4:15?”, I said. “Nope, 3:43, baby!”
This is a magic time for my wife, where the results start piling up fast and furious. I’ve gotta tell you, it’s fun to watch. When we started cycling together, she wasn’t all that excited about it. She could take it or leave it. Mrs. Bgddy is no stranger to fitness, she got me into running, but cycling is definitely new to her…
Now she’s riding every time she gets a chance – often daily.
I took to cycling a little easier. $20 garage sale bike, four miles and I was hooked. Of course, getting a real bike (or three) didn’t hurt either.
So this brings up an interesting question… How long should one wait to see if they catch the bug before trying something else?
My wife took more than a year. I took about twenty minutes but if I had to put a stamp on it, it would look like this:
Getting active is a funny thing. Most people I’ve seen have to work at it for quite some time before they can learn to love what they’re doing. So if you’re expecting a flaming bro-mance with your bike right off the bat, you’ll probably be disappointed (though I am proof it does happen). The trick, I think, if it’s not the flame, is to stick with it until you start seeing results. Either you’ll come around or you won’t. If you don’t, maybe it’ll be time to try something else.
I’m a case in point that way as well. I was strictly a runner for a decade before cycling. I stuck with it because I liked the fact that it took the weight off and the camaraderie was great also (I run with a club too) though I never really loved it. The difference was that while I did talk myself into suiting up and showing up to run, I look forward to my daily ride. I don’t have to talk myself into it. The resultant sleek body is no longer needed as motivation, it’s just a natural result of doing what I love to do – and believe you-me, I love cycling…
That said, running led me to cycling. Had I not stuck with running, I can see a few bumps that might have kept me from ever picking up cycling… And the sheer joy of feeling like a kid – at, well, north of 40.
How many times have you wished, “If I could just go back and do it again, knowing what I know now”!
Well, it may be a backward way of looking at it, but I get to feel like that little kid, who was all discombooberated back then, and enjoy that freedom from bondage knowing what I know now: Wind in my hair, bugs in my teeth, and nothing better to do than ride around the block. It’s just that my “block” is often between 30 and 100 miles.
It’s not perfect, but I’ll take that any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Regarding fitness (and sobriety for that matter), please stick it out, no matter what – you never know how doing the right thing now will make your future more enjoyable. I am a walking billboard. Living, breathing proof that it works if you work it.