Ground Hog Day and Bike Envy

Where is Spring? Ground Hog Day is today and much of the country is suffering through the worst winter weather in decades.Thousands of people are stranded in airports, cars, and who knows where. Snow is piled so high in Boston that they have run out of places to put the new snow. However, there is some good news.Punxsutawney Phil did not seehis shadow, and I just received my first cycling catalog. So, winter is officially over–at leastin my mind.

Thumbing through catalogs and ads for bike stuff is a favorite winter pastime for me. You see, I’m a triathlete–although old and slow. My feeling brain loves the spring gear catalogs. It thinks I’m still twenty something. More importantly, my feeling brain really believes the new stuff will make me go faster. When I look at a picture of a race or some new bike, I “see” myself in the photo. My feeling brain loves this stuff.

Unfortunately, I’m way past my physical prime. All the new “go fast” gear in the world will not help me swim, bike, or run much faster than I already do. In fact, the best I can hope for is to maintain my fitness and not get hurt. (I could always lose a few pounds, but that would make sense, and it’s not much fun). My thinking brain “knows” this but my feeling brain is in denial.

Here’s my spending problem. My feeling brain has a severe case of bike envy. My thinkingbrain has lost control.I’ve visited at least a dozen web sites and drooled over a pile of catalogs looking at new bikes. I’ve built at least four dream machines in my mind (I get faster each time) and one beauty on the web. Price is no object in my mental quest for speed.

My rational thinking brain keeps telling me that this is all absurd. My current bike isn’t that old. It works fine–it’s me that is falling apart. Plus, who in their right mind spends more on a bike then they spent on their first new car?

My emotional feeling brain will have none of this. A shinny new bike will define me as a triathlete. All the cool kids will want to ride with me. I will feel good. I will look good. I don’t want a new bike–I NEED a new bike.

So what is your “bike?” Is it a car, a house, cloths, a boat, or something else you can’t live without? We are alike when it comes to spending. Our feeling brain is in command of most of your spending decisions. Sometimes we have to step back, take a deep breath, and let our thinking brain do its work. It helps to make a list, define the need, and take some time before spending.

I’m happy to say that I’m still winning all my races in my mind–while riding my old bike. I’m okay with that–for now.

Now, breath deep, and step away from the cash register. It will be okay.

Money Made Personal – Ted