I remember in high school thinking that I never wanted to get pudgy like my dad. I may have even said this out loud. (Sorry Dad!) My father was never really overweight, he never “exercised” in the traditional sense, but it certainly wasn’t because the word lazy is in his lexicon. He was just really focused on his company, managing the house, and being a great father and husband. At the time, I ran 15 miles a day and looked like the beanstalk Jack climbed. (Uh, a really short beanstalk.) Now, here I am, one ‘kid’ starting college, the other starting Law School, I have a full time job and spend the rest of my time writing. (That’s two full time jobs.) Working out sounds like a great idea, of course, but then so does Starbucks. Needless to say, I look up to my father a lot. I’m still learning from him, and 30 years later, I think I get it.
I recently had the pleasure of spending the weekend on a lake trip with some great friends. This is the second year we’ve all pitched in on a nice house using Airbnb, and I’m already looking forward to next year! I’m truly grateful for being included since a lot of these friends are in their 20s and my wife and I aren’t. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with all of them, and some are amongst my closest friends, but my wife and I are far in the lead when it comes to the aging contest. Other than a little gentle teasing, nobody cares, I certainly don’t. In my wife’s words, “I’m glad you found your tribe.”
I posted pictures of the lake trip to Facebook and one of my friends was less than happy with how they looked in several pictures. To say they are working rigorous hours to meet their career goals is an understatement. That means it’s nearly impossible to take that casual 5 mile run after a ten hour work day, or spend the weekend preparing healthy meals when that’s your study time. When you actually decide to do something, goals can be unforgiving.
I used to really kick myself over this, and still do to a lesser extent, but I really shouldn’t. When I’m not at work, I’ve been focused like a laser on my books. I let the grass grow a little long around the house (sorry neighbors), I walk a couple days a week instead of a full workout regimen, but I’m writing like my life depends on it. The thing is, I really embrace my goals, and if I spread myself too thin, I won’t meet any of them.
I may have been the oldest, chubbiest, oldest person at that lake trip. I definitely looked worse than anyone else in a swimsuit. (Woof, don’t ask me about my swimsuit...and no more pictures standing next to Cristi’s fiance, Brandon. Jerk. ;) ) But I didn’t let any of that get in the way of my fun. And I excelled at having fun! If I could go back five years and choose between my life’s passion of writing novels, or trying to look like Hugh Jackman to impress a bunch of hot 20 somethings, I’d choose the writing. Had I looked like Hugh, the trip wouldn’t have been any different, but I would have had regrets for not following through with what I really wanted out of life. Once again, my dad was right about working hard on the things that are most important, though I’m pretty sure the words he used were, “Have you mowed the lawn yet?”
So, maybe I’m not aging poorly, I think instead I’m aging loudly. I may have more wrinkles, I may not be the shape I’d like to be, but good luck finding someone who lives life more than I do! I’m in my mid 40s, but rather that dreaming that something might happen, I’m fighting for those dreams. That fight includes sacrifice, commitment, and sometimes cake, and vodka. I’m good with that.