Sunday, 12 June 2016

Achievement and challenge

I know my life is easy. Most of my so-called difficulties are of my own making or imagining, and if you are from the UK, there's a fair chance yours are too. I'm prepared to admit that it may not be the same for my Ukrainian readers, or even some in China, but for most Westerners life has become very comfortable in the last 100 years or so.

Of course it doesn't feel like that, but objective reality and subjective experience are never best friends. You also may be thinking that you are not able to control things like depression, anxiety or random thoughts that just pop into your head, like "what happens if I do sell it separately?" The thing is, human beings are hard-wired to see problems not opportunities, and to measure their state against their nearest comparator. Chances are this comparison  isn't always made with someone worse off than you.

As I hurtle towards death I become increasingly concerned with getting the most out of my life, a task that seems beyond me but in reality isn't. On Tuesday I decided to take up that particular cudgel and challenged myself to wash my bike. Of course, I have been throwing down that particular gauntlet for the last few, sunny weeks, so I was pleased to at last accomplish it.

To you, washing a bike may seem particularly easy, but to my time-poor, stressed out and sick brain, it seemed nigh on impossible. I'm not really time-poor, let's face it if I can afford Sainsbury to deliver to my house instead of walking to the well, how can I be? But I like to kid myself, and it does have the added benefit of increasing the post-wash sense of satisfaction.

Unlike today. I'm supposed to be riding down to the Quantocks for coffee, but on waking the rain was pouring from the sky and the wind was whipping from the relevant quadrant, and quite frankly it was a step too far. You know the one, the first one out the door. I let my friend know of my failure to observe Rule 9 & 5, only to receive a cheery message about how nice it was down at his place. Sure enough, it's now brightening up and I'm left sat in my pyjamas.

Back to the bike wash. It was a bit too easy really. It was, after all, a warm and sunny evening, so no great chore. I finished my carton of Muc-off (more evidence of soft living), and I wondered. Could I throw the empty plastic container to the back door, and make it bounce, just once, on each of the six steps in front of it.

I pondered this, and after successfully completing the challenge and fist-pumping the air, I realised how no-one would ever know of my moment of triumph, it would be a secret I'd keep to the grave, secure in the intrinsic motivation of Achievement. Anyway, to tell anyone would risk revealing more Mendip Rouleur dysfunction.

But of course Junior saw me from a window didn't he? He asked me if I'd set out to do it deliberately as he often did stuff like that, and thought it was just him. Maybe it's a Rouleur thing, all in our genetic make-up, seeking out challenge and problems when is none, instead of just enjoying life.

Six steps though! What a life.

Life is getting better too, it's just started to rain again. Let's see if I actually make it out the door next Friday too. That one's unfinished.

No comments:

Post a Comment