I swear I am going to get back to my journey to two wheels but things keep happening that I want to talk about here. Admittedly I have a bit of ADD or ADHD or whatever it is but I am 42 so I am embracing it instead of trying to fix it. Anyway…
I was talking with a friend at my shop a couple days ago and we were talking about new bikes and needing one and all the things that dirt bikers talk about every time we get together. The discussion turned towards happiness. My friend said “I need a new bike so I can be happy” (or it was pretty close to that). “There is the problem, you need to find something else to bring you happiness, not dirt bikes” I responded. “Oh, dirt bikes don’t bring you happiness” they fired off! “Of course they do, but not my ultimate happiness” I said.
After thinking about this short interchange for a while I knew I needed to write this post. I am only 42 and I don’t have all of the answers. In fact I probably don’t have many answers but one thing I have learned in a hard, uncomfortable way is that things don’t bring happiness. I have been the poster child for consumerism and materialism for the majority of my life and I have finally come to the conclusion that happiness isn’t found in shiny baubles or even beautiful, glorious machines like dirt bikes. In the past I have chased that elusive feeling of content with new bike after new bike and every time the bike gets scratched, worn out and old and then I need another one. Because of this mindset I have spent and wasted more money than I care to admit on shiny new things only to end up sad, depressed and broke every time.
One of my favorite quotes on this subject is from the late great Louis Armstrong. Satchmo once said “Money can’t buy happiness but it ‘sho’ does ease the nerves” When people talk about money/things and happiness they always act like having money and spending it on stuff is a horrible crime but that isn’t true either. New dirt bikes are RAD and they do provide some short term joy and if you can afford to do that then by all means PLEASE do. But… That happiness won’t last forever and you’ll need to find more and more. I propose a different solution!
I am a Christian and so my solution is God. God is forever. He will never fade, He will never rust, He will never be out of style. I am not a pastor and I am still relatively early in my journey with God but I can say that the peace and happiness that I experience through him is consistent and amazing. I have tried about every other option for religion and self actualization out there. From atheism to buddhism to what I call the church of shiny things and they all let me down. They all left me empty after the newness wore off. I would argue that turning very far from Christ is what lead me down a path to making some of the worst decisions in my life and almost cost me my marriage and much more. But turning back to Him has saved all of that and brought me peace and joy in the midst of some recent hard times with the shop and finances.
I encourage all of you who are like me and chase happiness with things to do some searching and look at what has really brought you happiness. Lasting, deep happiness. I think you’ll find that all of those “things” faded away and just had to be replaced. I know because I am still struggling with that attitude right now and its brutally hard.
I don’t feel like I have the experience or knowledge to do justice to Christ argument but I am putting it out there anyway. I promise that this blog won’t always be some preachy (wow that is a word that doesn’t have the little red squiggly below it) soap box all the time but I also promise that I will not shy away from talking about my faith here. If you have comments or questions or arguments you can post below or email me at email@example.com
Also if you want to read a book that is written by a former atheist and a guy much brighter than I am I highly recommend "A Case For Faith" by Lee Strobel.
Thanks for your time, I really appreciate you reading this and I would love to hear from you in the comments below or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org