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Do You Realize?

January 3, 2010

Are the things we attach happiness to causing more heartache than joy? A powerful, high paying job? A big house? Nice car? High tech gadgets? Designer clothes? Vanity? Food indulgence? Drugs/alcohol? Maybe you consider yourself more “down to earth” but are a competitive athlete like me and base your happiness on results, splits, arbitrary distances, paces, or regimented workout schedules. This New Year, I challenge you to throw conventional wisdom out of the window. Rethink your goals. Reject what society dictates as happiness and embark on your own journey towards true happiness.

Thursday I said goodbye to a good year, Friday I said hello to a new one. I’ve forgone new year’s resolutions in favor of life resolutions. After an engagement, a trip to Colorado, three months off work, and a little bit of light reading, my views on life have changed, particularly relating to goals, fitness, and happiness. I cannot tell you what happiness means to you, only what it means to me, but in doing so I hope to provide you inspiration and direction for what to look for in your search for happiness.

  • I will spend less time in front of a computer screen and more time in front of a good book
  • Even more of the food I eat will come straight from the good earth, and less of it from a package
  • I will spend less time indoors and more time outside
  • I will not associate athletic accomplishment with race results or arbitrary numerical markers. Instead, I will focus on developing a broad range of skills and attributes that allow me to do whatever I want with a substantial degree of competence and minimal risk of injury. Yes, this means I will race less and will likely even have poorer results at the ones I do choose to do, but realizing that racing is not life and that the constant bombarding of our bodies that modern training principles dictate can lead to chronic health problems has been one of the most eye opening revelations to me
  • I already live a comparatively low stress life, but I will continue to pursue ways to eliminate artificial stresses- driving, artificial lights, urban noise, finances, work related stresses, life insurance, health insurance, family, diet, fitness, etc. This list of stress factors these days is endless. Other than food security, shelter, and protection from predators, our primal ancestors had no such silly stresses as we do today. Sometimes, ignorance really is bliss! Don’t worry, be happy!
  • I already live a comparatively frugal life, but I will continue to search out ways to eliminate non-essentials. I openly confess that I’ve had a thing for cappuccinos since getting laid off. Partly because my new office has been coffee shops around town and I need a purchase for internet access, but really, I seem to have a weak spot for expresso flavored frothed milk. At about $3 a drink, this tasty concoctions can phantomly drain my bank account without me realizing it. At my peak, I was maybe buying 3 drinks ($9) a week. That would eventually add up to  $468 a year. Imagine all the little things like this that people unncessarily splurge on. I’ve a ton a friends back home that easily plop down $15-20 a week for cigarettes or snuff, all for a “buzz” that they are now immune to. What about those little food add-ons we get at regular dining places? $1.50 for avacodo on a taco? $.50 for cheese or sour cream? Getting a large drink when a small will do just fine, or even ordering a drink when water is the best thing in the first place? These decisions hardly seem expensive at the time of purchase, but over they add up. I recommend indulgence on special occasions, to make those small little extras go a longer way, as well as your bank account. And what about all you gear junkies out there? Do you seriously think a $6000 full suspension superlight carbon top of the line component bike will make you a faster rider?? Let me remind you that the 2009 24 Hours Of Rocky Hill was won a a bike with no suspension and only one gear. The Houston Bikesport 3/4 CX race was won a heavy steel framed singlespeed cross bike. Do not be swayed by the dark side of manufacturer’s sleek marketing to get you to spend that extra $$ when something more basic and more affordable will do the job just as well.
  • Since getting laid off, I’ve been particularly good about getting more sleep. When I do get full time work again, I’m going to make sure I keep it this way!

Happy New Year, and best of luck in realizing your new potential

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