The challenge was simple: go for a bike ride. The execution was not simple.
Why this challenge?
I own a bike. I bought this bike a little over a year ago. I have probably ridden this bike less than ten times. That is why I chose the ‘challenge’.
The second reason for doing this is that I am the type of person who stays in his room. I will go to work, lectures, and be at home, that is all. But going outside is great, being around trees is amazing and simply being mobile is enjoyable. Staying inside is easy, however. Comfortable also.
I purchased my bike to ride to university, and the first time I did, a piece of glass punctured my tire. Being somewhat of an extraordinarily lazy person, I did not get around to fixing it until I moved, six months later. Since then, the main users of my bike have been the people I live with, which is great because if that wasn’t the case, it would probably have no users at all.
As a direct result of my not using it, the bike was in disrepair. The joint between the handlebars and the rest of the frame was loose, making them not only wiggle but slide side to side. Add to that a semi-flat front tire as well as bad wheel alignment and you can imagine how difficult it was to ride. I could blame my housemate for not repairing the bike after he used it, but I could also blame myself for simply not using it at all. I choose option 2. The trip was only half an hour, around the immediate neighborhood, but it was pleasant, and the wind in my face actually improved my day.
What I’ve Learned.
Only buy things you will use. Like most, consumerism grips me to the core, urging me to always buy, buy, buy. Regardless of how much I scratch the itch, another object takes the pedestal of want. I make it sound like an addiction because it is, society is just built to see this addiction in a positive light.
Be honest with yourself for a moment, and ponder this:
Do you find yourself with no money at the end of every pay week? I do. I could work an extra couple of hours, or even get a better paying job, and I will always have no money. Because, much like a drug addiction, the moment supply goes up, demand does as well. Your wants swell to the size of your ability to acquire them. You get more money, and so you can buy better things.
Stopping yourself buying unnecessarily is easier said than done. Marketing is a billion-dollar business with the sole purpose of making you want. Businesses are in the business of making you desire their product, simple, and all the individuals in society perpetuate those desires. All of this is in the name of looking good. An average car might get the job done perfectly, but we want a Ferrari. I could wear an average t-shirt, but I want that branded logo. I could enjoy music from a cheaper speaker, but I want the one that is 50% more expensive, even if it is only 5% better. Why? Well, people will see it and think I am cool of course! I know it is stupid and yet it is so ingrained within society, human biology and my very self that it is incredibly hard to curb.
What is more, also in parallel with other addictions, your brain justifies it in any way possible. It will work much better, I will have it for a very long time so it is worth it, I got paid extra so I can afford it and plain impulsively purchasing with no regard are all tools the brain uses to reach its desired drug.
I bought my bike with full intention to use it but I did not. An ample amount of self-honesty and a dash of ‘I’ll be fine without it’ is essential to stop the addiction train in its tracks. Again, easier said than done.
I shall try.