I have many friends who have nicer things than I do. Nicer bikes, nicer homes, nicer vacations… I have a great life though. It’s not perfect, but I really dig who I am and I did well with what I’ve been given…
I taught myself long ago to refrain from comparing my insides to someone else’s outsides. In other words, I (like many people) had a penchant for being the slightest bit envious of other’s wealth. Why can’t I have a Ferrari or a cool cottage on the lake? Why can’t I have one of those McMansions? Why can’t I drink like normal folks?
It gets tricky though. I do get to work from home on Fridays, and commonly ride with my wife around town before stopping at a local Wendy’s for lunch. My wife doesn’t have to work a full-time job for us to make it and live well, so our kids always have their mom to help with homework or kiss boo-boos… On the weekends I get to ride to my heart’s content. I do have nice “stuff” as well. I don’t have to worry about putting gas in the car, or food on the table. We don’t have to worry about someone else raising our children for us. I have friends and family and everything tied to this blog… Most importantly, I have two incredible gifts: A fabulous sober life and my wife’s love.
My life, in other words, is good.
So what could I possibly be envious of? Therein lies the rub. Long ago I decided that before I allowed myself to be envious of someone else’s journey in life, I would look at what they had to give up for that house, cottage, boat or car… I’ve never found one instance where I’d want to trade what I have for what others give up to have those things. Not once.
The truth is, I have everything I need and most of what I could ever have hoped for. Sure, a nice cottage would be cool, or maybe a neat sports car, but I have to look beyond the money involved in those things. Money is easy. The real question is what else would I be willing to give up to have a material possession or piece of property? Would I have my kids raised in daycare? Would I have my wife working full-time to support more “stuff”? Would I give up my daily bike rides to spend more time at the office?
That is the question, at what cost?
The answer is there is nothing I would give up in my life to have more, or better, stuff. Happiness has no price tag, and for that, I am grateful.
Yesterday we had a ride scheduled for 9 am, starting in Fenton, heading due south until we looped around the GM Proving Grounds in Milford, then straight back – fifty miles, or thereabouts. The wind was out of the west so we had crosswinds for darn-near fifty miles – till we looped the proving grounds… At that point it was dead into the wind and up one of the steepest hills I’ll see in this part of Michigan.
Thankfully we had sweet sunshine and the temps quickly warmed from the low 40’s to a reasonable 50. Unfortunately, the roads needed to get there were two things that don’t mix: busy and destroyed over the winter. It’s amazing we only had one pinch flat the whole ride. In fact, the roads were so bad that what should have been a blast of a ride, wasn’t fun. Between trying to dodge potholes that you could fit a Smart car in and real cars, it kinda sucked.
On the other hand, most of the time we’re lucky if we can find a few hundred feet of elevation gain in 50 miles. We were well over 1,200 feet on this one (may have been 1,800 – I was pretty smoked after and not really listening). In other words, because I love the climbing, that ride should have been right up my alley.
Let’s just leave it at this; the roads and traffic were was so bad my buddy Mike called on the way home and we both agreed we’d never do that route again. We also both agreed that we are spoiled with fantastic roads to cycle on, right out our front doors.
That wasn’t all for the day though. Mrs. Bgddy and I went out for a 15-1/2 mile ride just an hour after I pulled into the driveway. We stopped by the shop to check out the Trek Fest sale but the shop was so busy, we didn’t stick around long.
Finally, as this is published, I’ll be getting ready for the Sunday morning ride – 37 more miles to make it around 103 for the weekend. By the time we ride, it’ll already be warmer than it was yesterday when my wife and I went to the shop. I’m so fired up I can hardly stand it. This is one of my favorite days of the spring – I usually have to play hooky from work. Instead, I get to spend a Sunday morning cruising with my wife and friends.
Doesn’t get much better than that.
UPDATE: Now that’s what I’m talking about. A perfect Spring day.