Goals Suck

Over the last year and a couple weeks, I’ve been going through both a mental and physical transformation. In October of 2016, I decided I was going to get fit. In a different post, I mentioned I had set a goal for myself to run a marathon on my 50th Birthday. In the year and a few months that have transpired since then, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:

1. I hate running. So much so that the idea of doing a marathon in the first place was a dumb idea. My thinking was, “think of the fitness thing you would hate to do the most, then overcome it by doing it.” Well, I hate running. It’s not the running so much that bugs me as it is the fact that the scenery does not change fast enough for me (at least not when it comes to long distance running). Like I said. . . .Stupid. Don’t get me wrong. I know some of you love it. Good for you! When it comes to fitness, we all have the things we like to do. Running just ain’t that thing for me.

2. Goals suck.

It’s this second conclusion I want to write about a little bit. In the last year, I’ve lost close to fifty pounds. I started out with a goal of getting to around 180 (when I stepped on the scale in October of 2016, I was about 235). It would be 55 pounds lighter than I was, and I knew I’d feel a whole lot better about myself in the process.

I was talking to a group of entrepreneurs a few weeks ago, and I said that I thought goals suck. Needless to say there were looks of confusion when I said it. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re wondering why I am not a fan. Here’s the thing: I think goals are important. I really do. But I think that when all we do is set goals and focus on the goal, it’s a recipe for failure.

The example that I gave in a podcast I was on recently at Zenfounder where I brought it up again was that of all of these positive thinking techniques people have been preaching forever. They say to define your goals and keep them in front of you. In most cases they would state something about material wealth, or the body you want to have. If you want a Ferrari, find a picture of a Ferrari and put it somewhere that you’ll see it every day. If you want to have a certain kind of body, find a photo of someone with that type of body and put it where you can see it. The idea is that when you see it, it’ll motivate you. When you see it, it will be at the forefront of your mind. It will cause you to be or have that which is in the photo.

I CALL B.S.!!!!!

Here’s why, and here’s a far more likely scenario: You put those photos up around where you can see them. For a week or two, you get excited and you’re really motivated to do what it takes. And then, after you’ve seen the photos every day for a couple of weeks, you start taking stock and you realize that you’re not much closer to those goals. Instead, because you’re focused on the goals which you have not achieved, you start getting discouraged. Instead, when you focus on those photos, instead of them serving as inspiration, they serve as a reminder of what you have not accomplished yet. In other words, simply put: goals suck. With goals, you are failing until that point when you succeed. And then when and if you do succeed, you find yourself asking, “what’s next?” The high from achieving a goal is always short-lived.

Instead, I have found that my greatest successes (weight loss & fitness, for instance) have come when I focused on the process. When I look at the process and focus on that, I get to succeed until I give up. I’m more in control. If I make it to the gym today, it’s a success. It’s those successes that keep us from getting burned out. It’s those successes that help us to feel good about ourselves and keep us motivated. It’s the process that means everything; not the goal.

But back to goals for a second. Don’t take for a moment that I am saying that I don’t believe in them. I’m also not saying that we shouldn’t have them. I think we should. But I do think that we spend so much time focused on them that we forget that it’s a journey to get there. Take the time to enjoy the journey. Take the time to realize that every day, with just a bit of effort, we get to enjoy successes. Use those successes as the much needed fuel you need to get to your goal, because once you get there, what’s next?


“Mr. Lee.” That’s what I called him. Sometimes I referred to him as “Lorin’s Dad,” and I’m sure there were a few other names I called him growing up, all indicating formal names or titles of authority. That was, after all, how I knew him. He was the father of my best friend.

My memories of him, when I was young, were many, yet short. He was always busy with something, but he always seemed happy. He would interact with us often, but not necessarily “play” with us. I recall him sitting on the sofa, watching his college hoops and drinking what seemed to be copious amounts of Pepsi. Then again, when we were kids, Pepsi was a drink kids were not to have because of the caffeine, so any amount would seem excessive to us. My recollection was that he watched the Lakers, but later he assured me that he was watching UCLA Basketball.  It was a while ago, so let’s just leave it at that. I’d bet money that he was right and I was wrong.

Mr. Lee was the son of missionaries. When I met him, he was a teacher at the academy; that place “up the hill” from the elementary school I attended where all the “grown” kids went.

Despite being a teacher for older kids, it seemed that he was always teaching wherever he went. I don’t know that it was with intent or purpose so much as it was just innately him. It was part of who he was. One of my great memories was  learning about  angles, force, and some other physics through a game called Carom, which Lorin and I played by the hour. Carom is a game played on a board with round rings which you try to “shoot” into pockets, similar to billiards. Watching Mr. Lee drop carom after carom into the various pockets, making trick shots was always fun and I know my game was only better for it. As a result, to this day, we have a Carom board in our house and it has become a family favorite.

Another thing I learned from him was how to do tricks with a Yo-Yo. Mr. Lee taught me things like “Around the World,” “Walk the Dog” and some other things that would amaze and amuse my friends. Many are tricks I have taught my kids, or at the very least shown off.

Mr. Lee could juggle as well. I never did learn quite how to do that (at least not well), but it was always entertaining to provide him with a few balls and watch him go to town. Entertaining while teaching always seemed to be important to him and it simply made it that much more engaging.

When the Lee family moved to Shawnee Mission, Kansas, I got to go with them. Even with all of the headaches of moving, Mr. Lee showed his sense of humor when he picked us up at the airport and drove us to a run down house and simply said, “here we are!” Of course, the real new home was beautiful and was possibly the biggest house I’d ever stayed in up until that point in my life. I don’t remember how long I was there, and I don’t remember seeing him much. I knew he had taken a new position at the hospital, but didn’t know what it was.

A year or two later, I got to spend a couple of weeks with the Lees in Shawnee Mission again. While fun and games was the plan, it wasn’t in the cards. It was that summer that Lorin was diagnosed with Diabetes. My time with the Lees that summer was spent in the hospital, daily, while Lorin went through recovery and education about this new affliction which would be with him his whole life. The hospital staff was kind enough to look the other way when it came to visiting hours, so I was able to go there in the mornings and spend the whole day there with him.

At the end of the day, I would go to Mr. Lee’s office and wait for him to finish work. When he was done, we would ride home together. Going to his office, I was introduced to a term I had never heard before: “Public Relations.” In all honesty, I had no idea what it was. I just remember seeing a sign at the doorway to his office that said, “Public Relations.” I am not sure why, exactly, but the term piqued my interest. Of course, we didn’t have the internet back then, so I couldn’t exactly go home and google it, but from then on, whenever I saw a news story where there was a spokesperson for an organization, I’d see the caption, “Public Relations,” and was able to put two and two together as to what it meant. As I began to understand what it was, I became more and more fascinated with it. The idea of being able to craft your message and disseminate it to the public, to have some influence upon their perception of your organization’s brand seemed pretty amazing to me.

I never saw exactly what Mr. Lee did, and I never spoke to him about it back then, but I know that it was definitely the catalyst for me to study the concept from then to current day. And it has served me well, as a result.

On the drives home every night, Mr. Lee and I did not talk much. I know he was tired and liked to unwind. I remember, though, that he loved to crank up his classical music in that great big Suburban of theirs and immerse himself. When you’re an adolescent, you go through changes, but down deep, you still look for ways to relate to other generations despite also learning to be more independent. I remember several times, if the piece of music was particularly dramatic, Mr. Lee would become really animated. It was during this time, a time when I was more interested in listening to artists like Billy Squire, Aerosmith and other rock bands, that I realized that you can rock out to classical music, too. Our musical tastes may have been different but the way we enjoyed our tastes was the same.

After that summer, it would be years before I would see him again. I flew out to stand up for Lorin in his wedding. I stayed with the Lees but did not see Mr. Lee much. It was a whirlwind trip and there was a lot going on.

Once again, years later, when I was a young man, trying to make it in the business world, married and trying to figure “adulting” out, Lorin was in California for a few days and I got to see Mr. Lee one time. He asked me several questions about my business and showed his typical genuine enthusiasm for what was going on in my life. Things had changed, however. He no longer treated me as a child, but a little more like a contemporary. I knew then that the way he saw me had changed.

That trip out to California was the last time I would see any of the Lee family until after Lorin passed.

Upon hearing of Lorin’s death, I knew I needed to rekindle my relationship with the Lee family. I had let too much time go by and let “life” get in the way of so many of the important things; a habit I have yet to break, unfortunately. I contacted Fred and Aura and within a few short weeks, was visiting them for several days in their beautiful condo.

I was picked up at the airport and suddenly, it was as if no time had passed. We had all grown and aged, and we certainly had life experiences to share. But our connection was still there. It was during this time, between then and now, that I was lucky enough to have gotten the opportunity to really get to know Fred. Not only did we reminisce about Lorin but we talked about things from philosophy to religion to politics to our lives and experiences. I got to help Fred and Aura decorate their Christmas tree and put together a little elf scene which Fred was particularly fond of. I was regaled with stories of college life with him, Bruce and Charles. I got to see a side of Fred that I had not known before. No longer was Fred a man I respected because of his position of authority within my life. Fred was my friend. Our bond had evolved and matured.

Since that trip, I have always made it a point to visit often. If there was a conference in Florida, I would see to it that I would be there; not so much for the conference, but for an excuse to see Fred and Aura. I watched as Fred was diagnosed the first time, went through surgery and recovery. I interacted after the second tumor was discovered. I was honored to have been included in on discussions for treatment, and life decisions. During this time, I realized that one of his great strengths was that he would treat others’ opinions and perspectives as importantly as his own. No matter the topic. No matter the viewpoint. No matter how diametrically opposed that viewpoint might be to his, he always treated it with respect, pondered the viewpoint and even, at times, changed his own.

When around Fred, I always felt as though I was part of the inner sanctum. But that was the magic of Fred; his super power, if you will. If you were a part of Fred’s life, he had this ability to make you feel like you were part of his circle. I don’t think it was a conscious choice, it was just the way he was wired; and I know that as a result, everyone who knew him felt special just for knowing him.

Two weeks ago, I had a conference in Miami. Having been kept up to date on Fred, I decided that I would fly into Orlando so I could see he and Aura and spend some time with them. I came in two days early and, once again, was welcomed with open arms. Fred had gotten worse since the last time I had seen him, just a few months before, but I was able to sit with him, show him photos of my family which, despite his condition, still brought a smile to his face. I fed him fruit and we talked as much as he was able. I left that Friday for my conference, feeling that this time would be the last time; knowing I had made the right decision to fly into Orlando, despite the eight-hour round trip drive to and from Miami.

On that Sunday, when driving back after the conference, I looked to the West as the sun was going down. It was a beautiful sunset, and I remember thinking to myself that it would not likely be the only sunset that day; that the sunset of an amazing man; a man I got to call “my friend” was upon us. I pulled into the Oasis along the turnpike and watched and reflected as the sun went down. It was not long after that that the email arrived. Fred was gone. The sun had gone down and the world became just a little bit darker.

So now, as I think about celebrating Fred’s life, I think that there is so much more than that. I have spoken to so many who took classes from him at the Academy. I’ve spoken to people who have read his book and believe that it was a book that changed their lives and the way they handle the patient experience. I’ve spoken to a few of his friends, and I think to myself that Fred was so giving, so generous, so loving, that he has become a part of all of us who got to know him in any way, and as a result, we are not only celebrating the life he lived, but our own lives as well.

So, thank you, Fred. For everything. You may be gone, but the dragon has not won.







Magic Always Comes with a Price: Depression Sucks

I’m just going to flat out say it, since there’s no real other way to put it: I’ve been suffering from depression. Deeply. This has been really weird for me because I have never been the depressive type, even remotely. Everything always has a solution, and I could always put mind over matter.

Near as Jessica and I can pin it down, it started around July of this last summer. I attributed it to a bunch of stuff going on, not the least of which was that it was my 49th Birthday, which meant 50 was looming. We did nothing exciting for it, or anything at all, really, and that really bugged me; more than it should have. The timing seemed right and it seems as legitimate a cause as any.

Throughout the summer and the rest of last year, it got worse. Things I typically took joy in, I didn’t. Things that typically bothered me a little turned into mountains which then turned into anxiety, which then turned into sleepless nights, which then turned into deeper depression.

I knew something wasn’t right. Jessica brought up, over and over, that I walked around with a cloud over my head.

In September, I stepped on the scale. I had not started to work out and train like I had said I would. And, frankly, at that time, I didn’t think it was a big deal. Pretty much nothing mattered. I’d go through the motions of running the business, but did just enough, nothing more. There was no going above and beyond for people. The same was true of family and my kids. I’d do what they needed, but knowing that I was not feeling right, I’d retreat to my bedroom given any chance I could get. I’d take naps during the day and then I’d be up all night, tossing and turning.

When I stepped on the scale in September, I got a shock. 232 pounds. It was the heaviest I’d ever been. I actually decided I needed to do something. Maybe working out would help me with the doldrums. Maybe it would help me to see life differently and snap me back into mental shape. Maybe. Maybe it wasn’t the age. Maybe it was the weight.

I got myself a membership at the local club and hired a personal trainer. I figured having someone I paid would at least help keep me accountable. Plus, he might actually show me the right way  to do many of the exercises I’d done in the past, but no doubt did incorrectly.

I started working out regularly. First going to the club two times a week, then three, then workouts at home on top of it. I started watching my diet. I started losing weight. I was feeling happy with the weight loss, but it did not do anything to change my general outlook on life.

Jessica and I would talk about it. We both knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know what. And if you know me, you know that I’m a “fixer,” so I kept analyzing. I kept trying other things. Over the counter mood enhancers. More naps. More alone time. No change.


I’m not going to speak for everyone who suffers depression; especially chronic sufferers. I can only speak to my own experience, and hope that somehow I have gained somewhat of a window into what it feels like for others so that I can be more empathetic. For me, I knew I wasn’t right. I knew what the right things to do were. I knew what I *should* have been doing. I actually *cared* about doing those things. I just had no inclination to do them. Unless it was something pressing where others were depending on me to take care of it, I rarely lifted a finger. It was not for lack of wanting so much as a pure lack of motivation. An actual lack of the ability to even envision myself doing it. As a fly on the wall, I could ask myself, “why am I not doing this or feeling this way?” But I just was unable to get out of the funk. I left a LOT of people hanging. A LOT. Knowing that, you’d think that would be motivation enough to make me do things, but it wasn’t.

My kids would want to play. I’d play as minimally as I could and then bug out. To be honest, I don’t even recall noticing if they had fun or not. The world around me was going on, but all I could focus on was myself. And while I could logically look at things, my emotions were in a completely different world.

I remember there being two nights very recently where Jessica and I were talking in bed and I said, “I hate my life.” These are words that never before had I ever uttered. I HATE MY LIFE. We’ve all done it. We’ve heard someone say that and think or say, “look at them! They have it all, and they hate their life. What ingrates.” I know I’ve said it. What’s funny is even as *I* uttered those words, I had that same thought: “Look at me. I have everything going for me. A beautiful family. A home that’s ours. A growing business in a community that I like. What an ingrate!” It just made things worse.

I am certain that the only thing keeping my thoughts from turning totally dark was the fact that I was, at the very least, keeping to a regular workout schedule. And while I didn’t necessarily feel GREAT after the workouts, I think they helped me feel “good enough.”

But there didn’t seem to be any light. I tried all kinds of things, and still felt depressed and full of anxiety. It sucked. Seriously. If it had not been for the people around me who were so capable, everything would have fallen apart. Luckily, it didn’t.


If you’ve ever watched the show, “Once Upon a Time,” you might have noticed that since the beginning of its run, there has been an underlying theme: Magic comes at a cost. Always.

Last summer, I had gotten to the point where I was suffering severe migraines. They had increased in frequency and were lasting longer. It took more to make them go away, and usually, the relief was temporary. It got bad enough that I decided to go to a neurologist and see if there was any sort of treatment I could go on to permanently get rid of them.

He ran a bunch of tests and said he couldn’t find anything neurologically wrong with me, but that he’d start me on a low dosage blood pressure medication as he has seen results with others and it’s a fairly common treatment. While my blood pressure was fine as it was, this might help stay the migraines.

It worked. I started taking them every day and my migraines went away. I was elated. Excited that finally, I had found a cure for my headaches. In fact, I was convinced that it was possible that I always had a migraine going, even if I didn’t feel the effects, because mentally, I felt totally different once they were gone.

I was so thrilled that I didn’t bother to notice the signs.

I’m sure you can see where this is going by now but I’ll wrap up the story, none the less.

Last weekend, I was in Orlando visiting some friends. I also reconnected with another friend of mine whom I had not seen since high school. She is a nurse and we were talking. I had explained to her that I have just been depressed for months and cannot seem to figure it out. Later she looked at me and said, “you know, one of the major side effects of that BP medication you’re taking is that it causes depression.”

Well, DUH!

I had been so wrapped up in the fact that my migraines were gone that I did not even bother to consider or research the side effects of this other drug I had been taking. I vaguely recall my neurologist telling me to be sure to tell him if I had any suicidal thoughts. . . vaguely. But it had never occurred to me that it might be the culprit. And I never really had any suicidal thoughts.

I went back to my hotel that night and looked things up. One of the studies I read showed that various levels of depression were suffered by 74% of the test cases. SEVENTY FOUR PERCENT! Holy CRAP!

It was suggested that I try halving my dose to see if it helped. Instead, I opted to cut it out completely. I’ve lost a bunch of weight and I figured that that, in and of itself, might have an impact on my migraine frequency. Either way, I decided that I’d rather have the migraines than the depression.

Within 24 hours of discontinuing the use, I could feel myself feeling better already. Brenna called me on the phone, and rather than going through the motions of picking it up and asking her the usual questions, I felt excitement that she was calling. I actually talked to her and had actual emotional reactions. Same was true when Eli asked to Skype. On Monday, when ‘C’ called me in Facebook Messenger, I was excited to talk to him. Within 24 hours, I was seeing light again. I was feeling like there was no problem that couldn’t be faced down and overcome. Sure, the things that bugged me before still bugged me, but I didn’t get anxiety over them. They went back to simply being a problem that needed a solution.

My sleep has been sound. The stress that I felt when being around others, including my loved ones, is gone. It turns out that, at least for me, the price of the magic pill was too steep.

It’s now been a week and a half since I stopped taking the pills and while I did suffer from one migraine, I was able to put it to rest very quickly. I am hoping the weight loss, and diet change has had an effect on that. Oh, and bonus. . . another side effect of this particular beta blocker is that people experience weight gain. I suspect that was the reason I had gotten up so high before I started my exercise and I now suspect that things may happen a bit faster when it comes to the weight loss.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that this was my experience and mine alone. While I think everyone who suffers from depression can relate to some of it, I know that it’s a much deeper issue for many and my short stint only scratches the surface. I do not mean to, in any way, marginalize anyone who has been or is battling depression. But if you do suffer, and need someone to talk to, I’ll do my best to listen and understand.

Unfriending to Remain Friends


It’s a term that has gotten to be used more and more loosely since the introduction of Facebook. When I look at my “friends” list on Facebook, I see that I have over 500 or so. These days, from what I understand, that’s low. It’s about to get lower.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the election has thrown me for a loop. This, however, goes beyond that. Here’s the reality: in the last couple of years, getting onto Facebook has been less about fun and games and more about fights. It has, an overwhelming majority of time, been an experience that resulted in me walking away angry or making someone else angry.

Some “friend” that turns out to be. [Read more…]

Live Like You Are Dyin’ – Five Days With a Dying Man

img_20161110_182955374It’s a Tim McGraw Country song. Yes, after meeting Jessica I learned to tolerate (and even like) some Country music. I’m very open minded that way. The lyrics are at the end of this post for those of you who may not have heard it.

I’m here in Florida for a conference. It’s one that was postponed due to it falling on the same weekend that the hurricane hit last month. To be honest, I make it a point to come to this conference every year so that I have a good excuse to visit with my family friends, the Lees. Their son, Lorin was my best friend growing up and they were like a second family to me during my childhood. Lorin died a little over two years ago and that prompted me to rekindle my relationship with his parents. Of course, I’m all “grown up” now, and over this time we have become good friends. [Read more…]

So You Voted For Trump

I admit it. For the first time in my life after an election, I’m scared. This is not just a bit of uneasiness I feel when my candidate loses. This is a palpable fear coming from someone who, for the first time, is on the outside looking in.

Over half of my family is black. Out of the nine children we have, statistically speaking, odds are probably pretty good that one of them will fall into the LGBT Category. And while I might be a white, middle-class professional, the minute any of those kids walk out the door, no one knows who their parents are. And, by the way, it shouldn’t matter.

Our new President Elect may or may not really feel the way that I think he does. But after two days, I’ve seen more verified reports of things happening to minorities and others who have been marginalized by his campaign that, so far, I have no reason to believe otherwise. Based upon the people he’s putting in his Cabinet and the people he’s putting in charge of certain committees, it’s getting harder and harder to believe that we are not experiencing a modern-day Nazi’ism.

I am having a hard time even wanting to talk to people I know who voted for Trump. People whom, in the past, I’ve called friends. I want to still call them friends, but mostly what I see is them defending their choice instead of realizing that their friends are hurting, angry, and worried about what’s next. It’s frustrating.

I do understand, though. I understand what it feels like to be vilified for a choice you made. I even understand what it feels like to have people upset with you because you picked the guy who’s a bully (that’s the way people see it, like it or not). I even understand that sometimes the bully wins, and I understand that many feel that the choices were not great this time around. I totally get it. Believe me, unless you fall into one of the classes that feels marginalized, you might *think* you’re being sensitive, but as the saying goes: unless you walk a mile in the shoes. . .  well, you’re just not going to “get it.”

And you know what? That’s ok. From my perspective, I don’t expect you to. I don’t see how you can.

BUT. . .

What you CAN do is please feel free to support your candidate but call out ANYONE and EVERYONE that practices hate-speech of any kind. Stop bullying in its tracks. I know my friends are compassionate people. I wouldn’t be requesting this of you if I thought you weren’t. If you hear people talking about a minority, even if there are no minorities around, tell them to stop. Otherwise you really are condoning their behavior. And while I do believe that there is gray area with almost any subject, this is one in which there isn’t.

I’m a pretty sarcastic guy, but one of the hard lessons I’ve learned and have to keep learning is this: “Just joking,” nine times out of ten, hurts someone.

So, fine. You voted for Trump. Your candidate won. As your friend, I am happy for you and your elation that the person you were rooting for won. I want my friends to be happy; even if we disagree. All I ask is that, as a friend, you are mindful of the fact that we have deep concerns. Stand up. Prove that you don’t approve of the behavior. Be vocal about it. Open your eyes to more than what’s going on under your roof. Stop this crap in its tracks and tell the bullies to go home.



Current Status (Update)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about life around the house. Part of it is that because of many of the rules put in place to protect children in foster care, I can only say so much, and the other part is that life is somewhat in a groove. And when you’re in a groove, not much changes from day to day. None the less, there are a few of you out there that have been following our lives that have expressed curiosity about how things are going.

[Read more…]

The Life You Choose

Sunday was Jessica’s Birthday. For once, I actually did a little planning. We had the nanny come to take care of the three younger kids (3, 2 and 1) while the other five kids and myself took Jessica out to dinner. Even though they are self-sufficient much of the time, and even though we’ve taught them how to show respectful behavior to those around them in public places, things can get a little crazy from time to time. [Read more…]

And I’m Going To Be FIFTY!

I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere between 18 and now, I woke up to discover that 50 is right around the corner. F-I-F-T-Y!

This past Friday, I “celebrated” my 49th Birthday. It was mostly a non-event. I had a customer support ticket that I’d been working on hard for three days (with a deadline) and we had Eli’s paintball party to plan for. I was in a bit of a funk, which truthfully had nothing to do with it being my 49th Birthday (I know, for some of you, it’s hard to believe I ever get in a funk, but I do), and, well . . . life.

I got the typical Facebook “Happy Birthdays” from all sorts of people; most of whom I knew and some whom I wonder how we got to be “friends” because I could not remember them or why they friended me or I them. And I spent some time reflecting (which I tend to do when I’m feeling a little down).

My life is mostly what I had in mind. I spend most of it in the service of others, whether it’s kids, customers, my family, or my work teammates. It suits me. If you believe in such a thing, I truly believe it’s my calling.

As a general rule, I think that birthdays are for kids. After a certain point, they lose meaning. I remember on my 32nd Birthday thinking I was 33. Imagine my joy when I realized that I had just gained a year back of my life. But, after thinking about it, I realized that maybe what was bugging me was the fact that while I didn’t care so much about the age, what I was frustrated over was the fact that, while all the other days of the year, I put effort into the people around me, this was to be the one day each year that I actually, really and truly get to make the day about myself.

It was my fault.

I knew, looking at the week coming up that it was going to be a tough week with a lot going on. We have eight kids. Schedules do have to be met and their well-being is, above all else, the most important. My family loves me, endlessly and without condition. I know that. It’s obvious. Jessica works her tail off to be sure the kids live in a stable, safe, happy, and healthy environment every day of her life. And, seriously, it’s work. A lot of work.

I was so tied up in my work last week, that I spent little time with my family and when I did, my mind was on the problem that needed to be overcome. Obsessing over a problem can sometimes be a curse and it’s difficult to shut it down. It was a perfect recipe for a mediocre birthday.

It was my fault because if I had wanted a day about me, all I would have had to do was simply ask for it. That’s it. My family would have not only given me that day, they would have happily done it. But if *I* am going to treat it just like every other day, it’s a bit much to expect them to treat it any differently.

But this post is not about me feeling sorry for myself. The irony of the paintball party was that it may have done me more good than it did Eli (although he had a blast, almost literally)! It was fun to get out with 12 kids and shoot things up.

Here’s the point: Next year I’m going to be 50. Many say that 50 is the new 40, or 30 or something. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to be a half-century old. It’s still sort of a big deal, right? So I’m going to start planning for 50 right now. I want to do something I’ve never done. It’s not a bucket list item, necessarily, because I don’t believe in bucket lists. Instead, I’m just calling it a goal.

If there is anything that really bugs me about my life – and I mean REALLY bugs me, it’s that I’ve really let myself go physically. I posted about it once before, but didn’t really do anything about it. I used to be super active. But as I got older and my jobs tended to lean toward being behind a desk, my waist got rounder, my energy diminished and my metabolism slowed. Sure, chalking it up to age is one thing, but some of it (OK – a lot of it) was self-inflicted. So, it’s the one part of my life that I really want to change. I know that being more fit will help me mentally and as such, if I am feeling better mentally, I can only become a better husband, father, and business partner. So, my goal is that sometime around my 50th Birthday, I want to run a marathon (or, at the very least, a half marathon. It sort of depends on how realistic it is to get in the right condition for it within a year).

My challenges:

  1. Time: If I am lucky, I get to sleep until 7:00 in the morning most of the time. After that, during the week, it’s get the kids up and going and where they need to be and then work. I need to start going to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier and carve out some time for myself to work out.
  2. Motivation: I hate running. HATE IT. It’s not that it’s hard on my joints (which, at my current weight, it certainly is). It’s that I find it incredibly boring. It’s slow, which means the scenery changes slowly. And while, under typical circumstances, I like to be alone with my thoughts, when I am running, all I can think about is that I cannot wait until it’s over. I need to figure out ways to overcome this. I hear that there is a hump people get past when it comes to this. My hump appears to peak at a fairly high elevation.
  3. Diet: I like to eat. I like carbs. I LOVE carbs. I like steak. I LOVE steak. I like bacon. I LOVE bacon. My ideal food? Steak flavored doughnuts covered with maple and bacon (ok – that’s not true). I do not like veggies and I never feel satisfied after eating a salad, no matter how big that salad is. Once again, I’ve been told that people who eat differently for a while get to where all the other things start tasting bad to them. I tried juicing (as in nothing but juice) once for two weeks. Steak and doughnuts still tasted great to me after that. I may need therapy. . .
  4. Life: As I mentioned above, my life is pretty good. I like where things are in my life. I like my routine. I love what I do and I feel rewarded. This sounds all peachy, but it also makes it “comfortable.” Comfortable is good but it can also make it really easy to make excuses. This is a fairly big mental stumbling block for me; maybe the biggest.
  5. I don’t have the first clue about how to prepare for a marathon. I know there’s running involved, 26 miles and general misery after it’s done, while at the same time, a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. That’s it. I know I have lots of friends who have run (and still do) marathons, so I’ll probably look for tips and tricks and general guidance. I’m sure that there are differences for a 50-year old 225 pound man vs. a less than 40 anything else, but I’m pretty sure they know what’s up.

Until now, I’ve only mentioned it to a few people. Somehow, clicking “Publish” on this post makes it somewhat real. It’s a public acknowledgement that it’s more than simply talk. It’s also a public request for encouragement and accountability from my friends and family. This is an area where I am incredibly weak (not just the asking for help but the making time and doing what needs to be done to make this a reality). So, help me out. Push me. Don’t let me make excuses. Call me at 5:30 in the morning and wake me up (ok – don’t do that because I don’t want to wake others), and give me advice! Because, obviously, I need it!