It’s time I admit the worst kept secret on the internet, I’m aging poorly. I’ve got wrinkles like a washed shirt that was hung to dry but should have been pressed. I’m fat like those clickbait ads you see on crappy websites telling you about this one, little, secret… My thinning hair would be perfect for a Bosley commercial. To make it worse, it now takes me longer to recover from exercise and booze. I let myself get older, but I’m not done and I refuse to age quietly. I’m aging loudly.
Once Upon A Time
I remember in High School declaring I’d always be thin and teasing my father for carrying some weight. Looking back, I’d wouldn’t call my parents overweight, just overworked. Dad didn’t have time to exercise in the traditional sense, but he busted his ass rebuilding the house, working to feed us, 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.
The Lake Trip
Recently, I 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 Airbnb house, 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.
One of my friends was less than happy with how they looked in several pictures I posted to Facebook. I thought they looked amazing, but I get it. To say they are working rigorous hours to meet their career goals is an understatement. That commitment 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.
Embracing My Goals
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’m laser focused on writing. 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.
Still Having Fun
I may have been the oldest, chubbiest, oldest person at that lake trip. (Yes, I said oldest twice.) My swimsuit modeling days are long gone. (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 may be older, but rather that just 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.