Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Riding My Bike and My "I'll be happy when..." Analogy

To all of the "I'll be happy when..." folks I know. This morning I was riding my bike. It was about 6:30, and the sun was right in my eyes. I thought, "I can't wait until I'm on the second half of my ride, when the sun will be at my back." Then on my way back, without the sun in my eyes I got to thinking. What if when I turned around, I had discovered a headwind? For me, headwinds are much worse than a little sun in my eyes.

I was reminded of a conversation I recently had with my son. He was telling me that he will be happy when he goes back to the high school where all his friends are. I cautioned him about looking forward to find happiness. We get caught up in patterns of thinking that when we get these things we wish for, then we will allow ourselves to be happy. Then we get to that place, and guess what! There are other things we are dreaming of and hoping for. And there are other things that irritate us, that keep us from happiness, until they are fixed, or disappear, or whatever.

While it's very important to set goals, and work towards more or more better stuff, the key is happiness. How do we find happiness? Where is it? Happiness starts inside of us. In our heart. Sometimes you just have to behave your way to happiness (as Dr. Phil would say). It is so much easier to just be miserable. But after a while, it gets really hard to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Just like a headwind, sometimes, the things we are looking forward to might actually be harder, and less good, and maybe even a nightmare compared to what we are currently dealing with. Sure, it might be better, but we shouldn't assume that the future is always better and easier than the present. The other thing that happens is that we wish our lives away. Our children grow, and pretty soon, we realize that we spent so much time looking forward that we forgot to enjoy the present.

It's all about finding joy in the journey. There are so many sweet moments that lie amidst the chaos. Those are the gems.

So this is the biggest reason I ride my bike. I think. Sometimes I just need to think. You know? Hopefully I will also get in better shape. But I refuse to think "I'll be happy when I lose weight from exercising, or I'll be happy when I get my endurance back up so I can take a nice long ride." As these are certainly my goals, I do not require these things to be happy. Each day I ride brings me the opportunity to think of all my wonderful world and brings me joy! Bear with me if I find a need to impart more thoughts from my bike rides.


  1. A great read indeed! I think I tend to be one of those people who say, "I'll be happy when..." and it's better not to be obviously! Something to think some more about! We miss the Ocotillo ward! :)

    Taya Goodwin

  2. You are so right!! I really needed this pep talk so thanks your great no wonder you are the Mom of the Ward :)

  3. What a great analogy! I am such a "look forward to" person this week and Jeff just chidded me for being so, then I read this and realize he is right - thank you! I too am riding my bike in the mornings and my goodness what a difference it makes on my outlook for that day! It give such a great high for the day! Good luck with the riding!

  4. Well said! A crazy but wise Latin teacher had told us to stop looking forward to things or we'll end up looking forward to our death! A bit rough, but kinda true too :)