Don’t Compare: Day 2

There is nothing like getting up in the morning and grabbing hold of the day, charging forth with zest and vigor, feeling the power within you as you take on ‘life’ to your fullest capacity.

I felt free this morning; alive, powerful, and ready to ride my heart out like a champion. We took off in the early morning hours after I had run 2.5km and completed my journaling, meditation, sit-ups, and arm exercises. I was on fire today with my new eating plan, exercise regime, and healthy lifestyle. After 12 months of sitting in the office chair, dealing with seven months of snow, and feeling locked down by COVID-19, today was like being released from prison when the carnival arrives in town. I was happy, confident, and feeling JB supersonic.

And then…. Not even four kilometers into my ride, something happened. Peter and I were meandering through a small town on our way to hit the open road and something changed. We had just left the campground where we had stayed and on the tiny streets of this desolate town, my confidence deflated. It was a town not much bigger than a blink. A meager population was reflected in the dirty gutters, rundown corner store, and dilapidated post office. Everything was closed and few people were on the street this early in the day.

I started off feeling confident in our matching cycling gear, mirrored glasses, and super sporty, state-of-the-art tandem bike. Peter and I looked perfectly poised, perfectly ready, perfectly cool as we paddled in perfect synchronization through the streets. There was a small incline and we took it in stride feeling so powerful out on our early ride.

That’s when it happened… a man who must have been in his 80s, on a run-down bike, wearing Dollar Store flip-flops, tattered chinos, and no shirt rode right past us!! With not a puff in his breath or any effort on his face, he simply rode right by with a toothless grin. I was shocked, taken aback, and shook my head to gain a full grasp of what I was seeing. His rust-covered bike, his tarnished handlebars, his poor posture, and his open toes footwear just sailed right by without any effort. It was as if he was peddling on a magic carpet and passing us was a normal part of his day!!

My ego took a bit of a hit. I was younger than him, my bike was nicer, newer, and more streamlined than his. My mind was fit, my body ready, and yet with ease and intention, he just left us there in his dust. I had to ask myself, how could a man so old simply pass us? How could someone with such inadequate equipment, from this, broken-down town, half-dressed overtake us?

That’s when I let my joy falter. I started to compare, question, and see something more in his performance than in mine; I mean he had passed us after all. I began to question my experience, our performance, and just how slow were we actually going. I wondered if I was any good at cycling if someone that age could surpass me. Like air coming out of a balloon, I let the gleam of my morning fizzle.

For the next few kilometers, I thought about him. What was his life like in that tiny town? Why was he out so early in the morning peddling by? How long had he been riding that bike? Was that all he did? Ride around town going nowhere? Going somewhere? What did he do that kept him in such great shape?

A few more kilometers down the road I asked Peter if he had seen the old man that had passed us and he said he hadn’t. “What?” I asked in disbelief, “He went right by us!” I said emphatically. But Peter didn’t see the man that I saw, he didn’t notice anyone that early in the morning cruising by on a tattered bike.

I felt a little like the man in the Og Mandino book, The Greatest Salesman in the World when it turns out only he saw the man who would become his greatest mentor. I smiled wondering what that charming old man was meant to teach me on the second day of my ride… don’t compare came right to mind.

As I thought more about it, I realized he showed up to remind me… Don’t look at others with comparison in your mind. Don’t see what they do, instead see what you can do. Don’t judge with your eyes but instead know with your heart where you are going, don’t focus where someone else is going. Don’t look for reasons why someone is better than you. Don’t see what you have and assume it is the best. Don’t look sideways, but instead keep your eyes on your path.

Don’t think everything is as it appears. Don’t think you are the only one on the road and don’t let your energy falter one bit by comparing yourself to someone else. Your energy, your journey, your course is all yours to enjoy and experience. No one and nothing can compare to you and your life, so don’t let it. Live your way, your style, and at your pace.

Much love JB.

P.S. Have you ever had something happen to you and only you? You were the only one who saw it and the impact and lesson was only for you? Please share if you have.