Looking Upwards

Last week my husband tweeted a link to a story musing about how a professor who makes $450,000/year could consider himself just an average middle class bloke. One part of the problem, the blogger proposed, was that the professor was looking upwards, comparing himself to those richer than he, rather than looking downwards at the 99% of the population doing worse off than he. By looking upward, he could only see that he did not have as much as those he compared himself to.

As I was thinking about it, I came to realize that much of my struggle lately with being happy with myself and what I can do (and the source of my little breakdown last week) is that I’m looking upward. I compare myself and my biking to those who pass me on the trail, rather than being proud of the fact that I can do so much more on my bike than most people.

Frankly, I don’t even have to look “downward” – besides, that sounds a little condescending – I just need to look sideways at my own progress. Eight years ago Andrew gave me a bike for my birthday. We went for short rides, but I didn’t feel comfortable going more than 2 miles. We worked up to 5 miles…then 6…then 10…then 12. And then the steps became larger each year – worked up to 20 one year, then 30 just two years later. Now 50.

It’s not about comparing myself to others…at least, it shouldn’t be. It’s about what I can do today that I couldn’t do yesterday. And that’s something to be proud of.

1 Comment

  1. christieo said,

    September 27, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

    Yes! I so agree!! It’s true! I really really didn’t even know this myself until this week. It’s hard to see how far you’ve come when you’re looking at how far you want to go, isn’t it? You’re awesome, Barb. You rock on the bike.

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