It’s January. That means a couple of things:
- I’ll be forgetting to write the correct year for several weeks.
- I’m older so the forgetting will probably last for more than several weeks.
- It’ll probably be 3 months before I’ll be outside on a road bike.
- I have 3 months to ride my fat bike.
- I have collected a year’s supply of chocolate in my basement.
- The credit card bills from the holidays are due. Judgement day is coming.
- This is going to be a bit sappy. Don’t feel obliged to read any further.
Once again we spent a bunch of money on a bunch of stuff. On Christmas that’s the American way. I love it. I don’t regret it. Finding
the perfect thing that brings someone joy is a wonderful feeling. Now that several of our children are getting older you realize that you only
have a few years of really magical (and extremely early) Christmas mornings.
A few months ago I was listening to a podcast on happiness. I’d read
research on the topic of happiness before and I was pretty sure I knew the answer to “What makes us happier things or experiences?”
Spoiler alert. The podcast is worth listening but you can probably guess that experiences bring longer lasting happiness. We’re pretty good at filtering out
bad memories. I took my fat bike out into the snow and cold just after Christmas. I remember plowing through the snow, running into a friend (Ryan Shaw is awesome)
and the beautiful white blanket that covered everything surrounding one of my favorite trails. When I tell others about the ride I do include the part where my fingers
froze so hard that I spent 20 minutes in pure agony while they warmed up. It took two days before all the pain disappeared.
When I tell that story the pain isn’t there. I don’t remember it. I don’t feel it. In a sadistic way it becomes an illustration of strength on endurance. The entire
experience, good and bad, becomes a fond memory.
Each year holidays, Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, even Easter, can feel like a Hedonic Treadmill.
Every experience must be grander the last just to maintain the sentimental high. I fall into the trap of using things, ipods, a new computer, the latest Legos, etc, to avert any possible
We like things and things are fun, but things get old and we grow bored with them. I used to thing that I loved my bikes but the
Trek I drooled over now has a permanent home on a trainer in my basement. It’s not the bike
it’s the opportunity to ride that matters.
If you’ve read this far then it’s likely you are someone I know. Anyone else would have already thought “What the hell is the point of this?” and moved on. I return to item #2 from above.
The people I know know that I turned 40. That used to seem old, but now not so much. It does mean that statistically I’m more than half way to dead.
I hate stats.
After reading to hear you’ll think that I’m having a midlife crisis or that I’ve probably lost my mind. It’s neither, I promise. I do reserve the right to have a midlife crisis as I really
“need” a new mountain bike to ensure my ongoing happiness, but to the point…
This Christmas we had Christmas parties. One with my wife’s extended family. I got to see people that I only see once a year. There was another on Christmas Eve at our house with my family.
It’s insane chaos. It’s exhausting. It’s amazing and unforgetable. We had Christmas morning with my children. Lot’s of stuff. Lot’s of mess. It brings back memories from my childhood
and the sacrifices my parents made for us. We watch the innocence and joy of our children’s Christmas morning. Another priceless memory.
Christmas afternoon with Callie’s family. I’ve stored away years of those including the one where it was New Years day instead of Christmas when we celebrated because Callie’s grandmother had
passed away and Christmas Day didn’t work. Brennan spent the night puking. It’s still a good memory. After Christmas we go to Idaho. My grandmother had been in the hospital. She was better and
doing well for the Christmas party we throw at her house. Another treasured memory.
In spite of crazy schedules I spent a couple of hours eating mexican food with friends from high school. I couldn’t calculate the hours we spent together 20 years ago.
Now 2 hours is a precious gift we get only every year or two.
Over Christmas I spent a lot of late night time with my wife. It was a lot of late night time wrapping stuff. I have stored away 13 years of those late nights. I have 17 years of waking up
on Christmas morning with her next to me. I have the gift of spending each day with the love of my life.
I have 20 years of birthday memories with Callie. I really don’t need stuff. I know she hates figuring out gifts since I’m a pain when it comes to buying stuff.
I turned 40 and she gave me a room of family and friends. I turned 40 and was given the gift of joy and happiness.
It won’t show up on the credit card. If it did, I couldn’t afford it.