Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mick Jagger May Have Been Right...

Mick Jagger told us that "you can't always get what you want..." and he may have been right. I seem to always be settling for less than I'd dreamed. This used to be a problem to me but lately I've developed a new concept "Comparative Contentment".

Comparative Contentment is simple. Regardless of the issue or circumstance you are facing, you always compare it to a worse issue or circumstance, and voila! you are content. Here's how it works. Hate your job? No problem. Just start thinking of how many people lost their jobs this year. There. Your job doesn't seem so bad now, does it? You could also try thinking of jobs worse than yours; say driving that truck that sucks the poop out of porta-potties for instance.

Here's another example. Think your wife is getting a little chubby? No problem. Just go to Wal*Mart any day of the week and start looking around at the women there. Badda Bing, Badda Boom your wife is looking better already. (Unless she's one of those women at Wal*Mart, then I don't have an answer for you.)

House too small? Car too old? Kids don't mind? No problem. Someone, somewhere, probably right near you, has it worse than you. Just look around. Start seeing how crappy the lives of other people are, and yours will, by comparison, seem tolerable. You will be Comparatively Content.

This applies to cycling as well. I routinely post my mileage on the League of Illinois Bicyclist website. More than a hundred cyclists publish their riding logs there. I float between number 5 and number 7 on the list. There are three riders whom I will never catch, they must be retired. They probably have nothing else to do but ride. There's three that I chase or who chase me. But anytime I have too many responsibilities at home, and lack riding time, and therefore fall back on the list for a week, I just think: I could be one of those riders who are at the bottom of the list (there are some who have posted less than 100 miles, and this is October). Then I'm Comparatively Content. Or sometimes when I get tired of riding alone and feel discouraged, I ride past a house with a wheelchair ramp out front, and voila! I realize that riding alone is at least riding. Comparative Contentment.

But seriously, folks...Mick Jagger was right. You can't always get what you want, but you can change your wants. You can want what you have. That's true contentment.

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