Starting off on the new year

I had this HUGE post typed up talking about not focusing on ourselves as a resolution, but concentrating on stuff that benefited others. It was really long, really deep, and did I mention it was really long? If you think this post is long, you should have seen the other one. I think I had over 3,000 words in it!

This post is a hybrid of the last. Think of it as a mental vomit of thoughts. Yeah, great visual, I know! Because of this, it does not flow very well. Still, I think it is worth a little time to read it.

PhotobucketThere were a few things wrong in the post. For starters, I listed how self centered many resolutions are. Then the post evolved into how it all depends on your point of view as to whether or not it is selfish. Then I realized, anything we choose to benefit us could technically benefit others.

So I did not post it. I still have it stashed away in my files, but I feel no need to publish it. Honestly, if we have the right intentions, all resolutions can benefit others.

So I will say this…make no resolutions. Resolutions are like diets, short term. No, we must make a conscious decision to make a lifestyle change, not a temporary change like a diet. How a person truly gets healthy is not to stop eating fast food 3-times a day for 3 months. A person must make a lifestyle change to truly see the benefits of cutting out fast food. Go from lousy fast food, that can easily add up to over 1,000 calories per meal, to eating healthy at home. You can have meals that stuff you to the brim and are still under 500 calories per meal. Also, you tend to have left overs as well, which can save you money in the long run too.

PhotobucketCould that make you happy? Could being happy make you a better person? Can becoming a better person benefit others? You betcha. I think we should stick with things that not only benefit us, but others as well. My thing this year is not a resolution, but to simply work on being a better person, period. It is not temporary. I want this to be permanent. I want to be a better person, that is what is pushing this.

There is a person who I like chatting with on occasion, she works in radio. She mentioned something about one word for a year. She chose peace. Well, I started thinking about it and I cannot simply choose one word. It just does not work for me. Since we are each our own person, let us follow something that suits us. So my goal is “be quiet, hold your tongue, and listen”.

Not only will that give me a chance to contemplate how I respond to a person, it will also allow them to speak a full thought without interruption. It will not be easy, but I think I need to do it. It feels right.

On a side note, my job ends this year. I have not exactly been the happiest person on the planet lately. This job has worn me thin in patience and just made me a Debbie downer. I also think it may be a few of the people at work who instilled that in me, but in the end, it is my fault I have become this way. It is our choices that influence us. It is how we respond to things around us that determine who we are. I have allowed negativity to get to me, and I plan to reverse it.

I have been thinking a lot about religion. I am a Christian, and I am trying to live a better life. The Bible, whether you are a Christian or not, really does have good things in it. One subject (of hundreds) it talks about is holding your tongue. That one stands out to me for some reason. Makes sense. Getting into an argument rarely solves anything. It normally just makes things worse. Love your neighbor is another. I think that could simply be interpreted as respect your neighbor like a family member. Be there for them and maybe they will be there for you. Our old neighbors were great. We would trade off taking care of each others animals when we went out of town. We would check each others mail. We would drag each others trash cans to the garage. They were like family to me, and still are, even though we do not live by them anymore.

You also read about judging others. In the book of Matthew, it states:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Matthew 7:2-4, NIV

Essentially this says to not judge others for their small flaws when you have a big one yourself. Correct your problems before you try to correct others, do not be a hypocrite. Notice how society does this one quite a bit? Fashion is big about judging others. People are constantly judged in those singing competitions on television. We are bombarded with judging to the point where it is socially acceptable. Ever notice how some people put others down to lift themselves up? Same principle here. No, we need to focus on correcting our flaws. Striving to become a better person so others can see it and hopefully we can be a positive influence on others.

Did that make sense?

Take on the endeavor to become a better person. Be happier, think positively, get in shape…it all reflects our inner being. If we truly feel happy, we will become more patient, more calm, more relaxed, etc. Just remember, material belongings do not make you happy. Honestly, the more you own, the more annoying it is. Ever have the problem of thinking “where will I put this?” I think we all have. Remove the clutter out of your life. That clutter may be physical or mental, but work on removing it. Less stuff is truly more in the end. It is more because we are not defined by what we own, but who we are.

Also, we can link money to this as well. Why purchase a $40,000 car and live month to month? Sure, the car looks good, it may also be fast, but what else does it do? Does it do anything that a $15,000 car does not? They both roll on 4 wheels, they both get you from point A to point B, so what actually makes it better? Okay, it may be more quiet in the interior, it may have a softer ride, it may look better, it also may handle or accelerate better. Sure, but it is really worth the money? Driving in rush hour traffic every morning at 30 miles per hour or less, do you really notice the smooth ride? Does living month to month to afford these “nice” things really make you a better person? Of course not! What you own does not make you better. We are all equal. Some of us choose to save money, because having a cushion helps reduce stress. It is also nice to pay cash for a vehicle instead of living month to month because it was financed or leased. I used to think a car represents the person driving it. Not any more. No, it is simply a tool to help you get to a destination, nothing more. Spending more does not always mean you are really getting more.

Having all the latest gadgets, a big house, and a really nice car does not mean you are better. If anything I feel it takes away from you. You are so focused on this and that that you often forget about what is important…friends, family, and happiness. There is also something else that is important: mental health. You know, true blessings in life are the ones we tend to overlook. Quoting a line from the movie Bruce Almighty: “Some of the happiest people in the world go home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day.”

For instance, I have a TON of movies. I mean, more than I feel like counting. However, I know for a fact there are some movies I will never watch. I really need to ditch those to free up space. Space I do not wish to fill up with other junk. I have old recording studio gear that I need to ditch too. I understand people who do yoga so much more now.

Have you ever seen someone who has a room to do yoga have boxes all over it? Of course not. How can a room be relaxing if it is overflowing with clutter? I am not saying it needs to be like an empty room, but clutter does create stress. Do not let anyone fool you, clutter is stressful. I used to think it was not stressful. Now that I am working on becoming a better organizer, I find that it reduces stress; especially if you stay on top of it. There is nothing more freeing at home than to know you have a place for everything you own. It is also quite beneficial to know you have additional space to spare.

Now, I made the yoga reference because I really enjoy yoga, but just have strayed from it. You see, I have the huge problem with hobbies. Here is a small list of previous/current hobbies: drawing, cycling, motorcycling, scuba diving, reading, yoga, lifting weights, collecting die-cast models, building model planes and cars, music, composing, target shooting, recoding studio, photography, videos, blogging, running, swimming, basketball, soccer, baseball, taekwondo, and probably more.

For the longest time I have felt that the grass is greener on the other side. That is no way to live your life. I had to learn the hard way that you are never content with anything if you do that. I am doing a lot of looking inward to find what I want to keep around and what clutter I need to rid myself of. A person constantly hopping from hobby to hobby is stressful to the person they live with. My wife has dealt with that for a while. I like soccer, but just cannot fit it in with my current schedule. I dumped off all other sports other than cycling and running. Yoga is compact and easy. Drawing is as well. My music is somewhat compact. I have 4 guitars, a trombone, saxophone, and flute. The flute is mainly what I play now since it is tiny and packs away easily. Plus I find music very relaxing.

Notice a trend here? Compact, easy to store, and relaxing. Okay, cycling is not compact, but it helps rid myself of stress. All the other stuff I will keep around is fairly compact as well. I do not want anything other than cycling to be equipment intensive. I have 4 bicycles, that is probably my limit. Too many bicycles require too much maintenance…less clutter!

So do not fall victim to resolutions. Reflect on your habits, what stresses you out, what you do that could possibly stress out your partner, and what you feel you need to improve upon to become a better person. We should feel content with what we own, but always striving to be a better person.

I wish you the best in 2013.

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About TrekRiderMark

I like to ride bicycles and stay fit. I am also a professional photographer and artist. I dabble a bit in web design and as a graphic artist.
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