My life seems full of them, of late. No, not visitations from a celestial spirit… just more of those gut-wrenching pangs that accompany a moment of sudden insight.
They’ve been happening more frequently too, something I’ve put down to both advancing age and the company I’ve been keeping. It’s also part of my genetic disposition; always moving forward, always looking for answers — even to questions that probably don’t matter.
I’ve always been a deeply emotional individual, but not so that you’d notice on the outside. On the outside, I’m quite stoic in my appearance, greeting each day with resolve and an occasional smile. However, on the inside, there’s a lot going. My emotions churn constantly, and the internal monologue runs overtime assessing, evaluating, feeding, dousing, panicking, pushing… I don’t know if that’s normal, and I don’t know if it matters, but it both troubles me and excites me at the same time.
So where am I going with this?
This blog, for one.
There’s no doubt I enjoy writing, I enjoy talking too. In groups, I fill silence. Because of that, I frequently find myself hating the sound of my own voice, but again, that’s another story. And I write a lot. My job requires me to write hundreds of emails a week; technical papers, designs, requirements specifications, evaluations, performance reports… you name it, I’ve written it. And luckily, as I say, I enjoy it.
I also enjoy coaching, teaching, helping, guiding, advising; it’s largely a function of my managerial roles over the last 15 years where these skills are both important and exercised on a daily basis. But it’s also part of who I am. As a kid, I was captain of my soccer team, rugby team, athletics squad… not because I was necessarily the best or even the most appropriate candidate; it’s because I wanted it, I asked for it. I wanted to create a team, guide them, help them, support them… perhaps even lead them.
In my teens and twenties, it was the gym. I’ve nearly always trained with friends, yet it was me reading the books on kinesiology, buying the magazines, watching the videos… and then planning our workouts, supplementation and diets. Same pattern; see a gap, fill it. See a problem, solve it.
Anyway, back to the point… this blog.
Whenever I write for personal reasons, no matter my intent or start-point, I always come back to same format; journaling with an educational (or inspirational) lean. Often, the education is my own, but I also feel that I can help others make sense of themselves too. That’s when I try to steer the writing towards educational; a guide or reference of some kind. But it never seems to take hold in the way I imagined it might. Eventually, it always comes back to personal; an outpouring of thought and emotion.
Just one of the many recent triggers for this epiphany; a simple tweet from Adam.
“If you want to promote yourself spend a little less time promoting yourself.” — Adam Bornstein
Epiphany #1: For once, don’t have a plan for the blog. Stop trying to write, and just write. If there is a greater meaning to be derived from the process or written word–be that for myself or others–for heaven sakes, just let it happen naturally.
I am 44 in six days, and I am feeling old; practically, emotionally, physically. For now, let’s focus on the physically, lest this post reach a 1000 words.
For as long as I can remember, I have pushed myself 100% in every aspect of my life, and never more so than in the gym. As a teen, this meant following Arnold’s 1975 Olympia routine and generally abusing myself in ways that my body reminds me of every single day. And even now, I approach every workout with a single-mindedness, focused on progress and results, a desire to move forward. Factor in discipline and a good dose of motivation, I can push myself hard… too hard, it seems.
On the outside, I look good. I carry a little muscle, I am lean, I look … athletic even. But if ever looks could be deceiving…
I am sore; permanently sore. And not that good soreness from a workout prior or hard days labor; it’s that painful sore, where your body says, enough already. I hobble out of bed as if I were 70 years old in the morning, both achilles expressing their distain for my early rising. I open doors exclusively with my right arm at the moment, as my left elbow and forearm are in constant discomfort, assumedly from the repetitive pushing an pulling in the gym. I can’t cross my legs due to inflexibility in my hips, and my back ties-up constantly due to the misalignment of my lower spine. I have an epigastric hernia (from birth) that should really be fixed, if only to stop the aching reminder that leg-raises and weighted chins are probably not a great idea when you have a hole in your abdominal wall.
I wrote a post just last night, actually, on being more specific with my goals on getting shredded; as I look back at it now, I am annoyed with myself. Why? Because it is so misguided, so inappropriate… so NOT forward thinking. Why am I chasing shredded, when I should be chasing happy? Why am I focused on lean body mass, when I should be focused on healthy? Yes, I want to be lean and muscular; that is a perfectly reasonable objective, but it should NOT be my goal.
I am 43 years old and I feel 53, and sometimes 63. I need to think differently; act, differently. It’s time to focus my attention on feeling better, moving better, being better.
“I don’t train for the tomorrow or for the beach, I train for longevity. I train to be healthy in my 50s, 60s and 70s. A lot of people train to look good this weekend with extreme training programs. But as you get older, the way you stay healthy is to adjust your diet and know your limitations. You don’t have to workout like a complete maniac to get in shape.” — Gino Caccavale
Epiphany #2: Let lean happen; let muscular happen. Let them be symptoms or side-effects of a healthy, sustainable lifestyle in which I feel better.
In closing, my apologies to those of you that have signed-up to follow my blog; this post is at 1,082 words as I type. Not all posts will be this long, I promise; nor will they always be so… epiphanial (yes, I made that word up).
But I will be writing–often daily–with no other intent than simply to write.