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!

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