As I clipped my foot into my right pedal at the beginning of my mid week training ride, I had a meh-like epiphany. It's not something as dramatic as learning the meaning of life, more like the meaning of Mike. What I realized was, I'm happy. More than happy actually, I'm content. After saying this to myself I did what any normal man in my position would do, avoided the dog and person walking it, and questioned whether or not I was truly content.
First things first, what is "content"? I think it's different for each person. Some people might be content with all the material possessions they could want, some might be content never working again, some might be content being alone. For me, it's a little of everything. A culmination of all the small things in life that make one big happy Mike pie.
Being a man, or maybe it doesn't matter, the first thing I thought of was my wife Grace. Grace is beautiful, thoughtful, likes many of the same things I like, and we get along. As with any relationship, it isn't perfect. But content isn't perfect. When I became really enthusiastic about cycling, so did she. She watched my favorite sci fi shows and loves them with the same passion I do. Grace even plays video games with me. There are some limits, she doesn't ride with me, nor does she like road bikes in general, except on TV. Hell, she even got into baseball. Basically, Grace enjoys all my passions, which come and go like the weather. I am also very fickle. Point being, it isn't perfect, but it's enough to make satisfied. Content must also be satisfaction. Satisfaction, is as simple as drinking a good glass of scotch or eating a good dinner. It won't be perfect, there will be some small thing left to desire, but you will feel good or full or both.
Knowing I had a great wife was the first small step towards proving my contentment to myself. Cycling was the next thing I thought of, after all, I was doing all my thinking while riding. At first I thought, how does cycling fit into my contentment? Which I quickly answered, it is my passion, and every man should have a passion to fill the moments in life where boredom and doldrums would normally take over. Passion also provides those needed accomplishments, however small and meaningless, to make a man feel truly happy with himself. Men are prideful creatures and we need to do and accomplish things. For me, losing weight, then getting in shape, and now becoming a faster and better cyclist became my accomplishments. There are others in the workplace, or with school, but these are the accomplishments that are meaningful diretly to me.
Wife and passion are all fine and dandy, but what about stuff? Material possessions I mean. Ah, I have those as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Mr. Money Bags with everything a man could possibly desire, but I have everything that would make me content. Two good bikes, HDTV, Xbox, PC, Macbook, so tech is taken care of, a comfortable couch, food that I like eating, and cars I enjoy driving. Could I have better and nicer things? Certainly. Like I said, none of this "stuff" is great or the best. Contentment doesn't have to be the best, because contentment has nothing to do with perfection. Content is a little of compromise, or fitting your needs.
I also have no major financial issues. There are definitely some things I am working on, but I make enough money to live comfortably and afford the things I want or need. My job has a good median between stress and more relaxed days. I'm not pushing 80 hours a week every week, nor am I sliding by with just 40. I also happen to really enjoy what I do.
Grace and I can afford to, and do, vacation where we want. We both have jobs that provide us with good PTO, and we make enough money to save and spend it each year on trips. Anyway, I'm starting to ramble on about too many little things.
Oh, and to top it all off I have a great dog.
Content is simply being happy, and being happy consistently. I have no real complaints, only annoyances. There are no major issues with my life, just some outside factors that I can chose how they will effect me. If I died tomorrow, I would enter the after life with few regrets. Perhaps this is simply growing up. Maybe now I'm old enough to realize I have a good a life, and I have nothing to complain about. Everything else is just jealousy. A nicer car passes me or a cyclist drops me. Ultimately those are things I can strive for anyway. But for now, I am content with what I have and who I am.
In ten years, I think I will look back, and claim these as my golden years. Within the next ten years, I'll probably have a kid, have to buy a house, and relinquish some of the stuff I cherish, and cut back on my passions. But for now, as I realize it, I can truly enjoy this time I have, and move onto the next phase of life.
And, love, using, commas.