Wednesday, December 10, 2014

on practicing contentment

Contentment is something one generally needs to practice in this world.

Let's face it. Unless you live in a yet-to-develop country and sleep on a dirt floor and cook your just-killed food over an outdoor fire, you are being tempted by modern life all the time.
So am I.
I admit it.

We are taught every day to want more stuff. It's not accidental. It's what keeps the wheel of commerce spinning and props up our consumer-based economy.

Today, over on eBay, there's an auction for a vintage mountain bike that I would really like to own. In fact, it would be a replacement for a frame I once had, and sold because it was too big for me.

Here's the bike I once had, a retro-fitted Peugeot Orient Express from the mid-80's:

It was a great bike. But its 21" frame was just too large for me to ride comfortably, even with raised-up handlebars. In the end, I stripped off the useable parts and sold the frame to Citybikes. A couple years later, I was shocked to see the same frame, rebuilt and being ridden by a new owner, and hanging on a hook at the end of a light-rail car. I felt that pang of longing as I looked at the rebuilt bike.

Today's offering on eBay:

This one is, according to the seller, completely original. It has not been ridden terribly much, and he's selling it for a reasonable price.

If money were no object I'd be all over it. It's the bike I've missed, and the frame is the right [smaller] size for me.

However, we don't exactly have money to burn these days and I need to plan carefully. So I decided to take a different tack.

Today, I'm going to be grateful for the bikes I do have, and I will ride one of them later on, and I will practice the art of contentment. How do I do that? Well, I have no real training in this, but here's what I figured out. I can ficus on some simple facts and hopefully they will help me remember my blessings.

I live in a warm, dry house with two cats and my Sweetie.
I enjoy reasonably good health.
I get to do meaningful work -- I could stand to do a little more, but that's okay.
We have enough money each month that our bills are paid and there's food in the cupboard.
We don't have tons more than that, but we have that and that is a lot right there.
And best of all, we have family and friends and a community of good people to be part of.
So on the whole, life is pretty damned good these days.
And I already have a bike to ride, a nice one that fits me comfortably.
So life is actually very good today. Maybe even stellar.

I will let this bike go. Someone else will buy it and hopefully enjoy it.
And I will ride my bike and practice contentment.
I won't even apologize that this post does nothing to help the economy.
I'm not sorry about that at all.
It's raining and about 50F, and not a bad day to take a little spin. So I'm going to go do that.

Happy riding, wherever you are.

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