I find it funny how the human body and mind works, how our urges depend on the distance to the object of interest. Like, when you are in the need to pee, it is kind of ok as long as you are far away from a place where you can let go of your bodily fluids, but as soon as you approach a toilet, it gets almost unbearable. I think I have one of the toughest bladders in the world (I’ll just say this: 14 hours…), but I don’t know how many times I’ve almost peed in my pants as I was unlocking the door to my apartment.
I think it is the same thing with a whole range of things, income, health, sex, love, excercise, food. Reserach show that humans are really good at adapting to circumstances, and really poor at predicting the extent to which they will adapt (see e.g., Loewenstein and Lerner, 2003; Gilbert 2007; Ainsliey, 2001). We expect to be devastated forever if we for example loose a limb, but in reality we actually adapt pretty quickly in terms of our happiness levels. Likewise, we expect to be happy forever if we win the lottery,.. no mam,
What matters is proximity, change and relative postion to others. So, if you for example get dumped, it is really horrible at first (for many reasons), you miss the comfort, having someone around who loves you and of course having sex, especially if your friends are all happy in love, get kids and so on. But after a while, you get used to it and focus on other things in life. You adapt to the new situation. I lived in celibacy for a loooong time. At first, it was horrible, but then I adapted. In the end, I didnt even think about it. To be honest, I didnt miss it that much. Until proximity increased. Then almost all I could think about was THAT. But this blog post is not about sex (I wish), but rather about the urge to bike.
I have been living without biking for a long time now, partly because of the snow and partly because I don’t have a bike here and I have to drive somewhere to get access to trails. I haven’t thought much about it at all, until I finally decided what kind of bike I want to buy, and until the sun came out. Now I experience more abstinence symptoms than I did when I stopped doing snus the last time, heck, I have more abstinence than I have ever had for sex. Not normal, I know. It itches!! But the trails up at Curt Gowdy and Happy Jack are just a liiittle bit too snowy to make it possible to bike there, and next week Im off to New York and so it will not be possible for me to bike until, Holy CRAP, like one and a half weeks!! GAAAAH!!
Hm, but let me think about this, it is not only about proximity, as an economist, I must also talk about marginal utility. So, first of all, marginal utility is the “utility” that you get from consuming another unit of whatever it is that you are consuming, food, candy, alcohol, sex, backcountry skiing, or mountainbiking. A standard assumption in economics is that the marginal utility of consumption is decreasing in the level of consumption, so even though your utility increases from consuming more, it increases less and less the more you consume. In the end, it may even turn negative (like when you eat candy until you get sick). In many cases this assumption is very realistic, and this is definetely the case right now. Since I have no consumption of mountainbiking, my marginal utility of just one unit more is infinite. However, marginal utility does not always decrease, I would say. At first it may actually increase, because the more you bike, the better you get, and the better you get, the more fun it is, until you reach some kind of satiation. Same thing with sex. I am nowhere near satiation right now. Concerning biking I mean..
Hrm, So anyway, I keep dreaming of my bike at home, about the wonderful people I would bike with if I only could, and all those easily accessible trails around Umeå. I have completely forgotten about the snow I know still exists in the Umeå forests, and the lack of vertical meters to descend. I JUST WANT TO BIKE, NOW, now now now now! I can’t even focus on work! The sun is out there, and it is to no use if I cannot go to those trails on a bike. It is just teasing! Not fair!