No More Excuses ...

There once was a man who sat at his favorite table enjoying high-tea in a posh hotel lobby, often accompanied by friends.  He would eventually wander upstairs to the health club for a bit of weight training, stretching and drills on the squash court before being joined by others eager to play.  A couple of hours later, both exhausted and exhilarated from the effort, it was time for a sauna, jacuzzi, cold-plunge and a shower before heading out.  Next was a massage, usually followed by sex and a late dinner.  As others were bringing down the curtain on the day, he was gearing up for a night of hotspots and notorious places one did not speak of with your daytime friends.

He was heard to boast that his worst days were often better than most people’s best days and the majority took him to be much younger than his actual years.  I used to know this guy but we have lost touch with the passage of time.  Age, injury, overindulgence, changes in lifestyle and location, laziness of mind and body, have all contributed to him being little more than a memory.  This last year he was particularly indulgent and whether in the mirror or in candid ten megapixel photos from unflattering angles, he is all but unrecognizable.

His last few years have been focused on outward things.  Building things, social networks, exploring the roads and trails, preparing for the future but forgetting something more important.  If you treat life’s achievements like trophies to be displayed upon a shelf, they soon become weathered and tarnished.  Life is not what you dream about or once did but what you do on a daily basis.  No matter what your age, life is to be lived to the best of ones ability and not just talked of or dreamed about.  It must be reaffirmed each day to keep it alive and healthy.  We begin each day on the lower slopes, not on the top of the mountain and only by our struggles to get to the top do we delay the inevitable decline into the valley.

To this end my old friend is trying to make a comeback.  A little over four weeks ago there was a small ripple in the force or perhaps a tiny rift in the fabric of space-time which caused a reboot of his system.  Gone were the memories and expectations of the past that blocked forward progress.  There was just the present and a desire to see what he could do.  With no measure of time or distance he set off down the trail at a slow jog, to find the limits of his new reality.  The pain and suffering that was to follow until this day, have been a test of character.

At four weeks there was the first sign of a breakthrough.  Usually he does two days on and a day off, with the distance being ever increased by the smallest of increments.  Then one day at the top of a hill, only recently added to take in the view before returning home, he instead headed down the other side intent on taking a longer circular route.  Arriving at home covered in sweat as usual, he sat in his chair on the drive surrounded by his canine entourage.

Even with the added distance he felt different, almost good, and less a puddle of melting flesh.  This his favorite time of day seemed even more wonderful than usual.  He was not hunched over in agony and gasping for breath but head up enjoying his favorite time of day.  Here he sat awash with endorphins, feeling also a light breeze caressing and cooling his wet body, with eyes lifted to the heavens drinking in the colors and shapes that adorn the evening sky just after the sun sets and before it becomes too dark to see.  This he could see as a routine that someone could look forward to and not dread.  Exertion and discipline followed by beauty and relaxation.

Hikes and bike rides are all good but are time consuming and best undertaken in the early morning hours.  Even after years of trying, mornings are more of a one-off for me having never been able to make them routine.  I suffer as a slow starter and it is only in the late afternoon, preferably around sunset, that I feel invigorated and pain free enough to exercise.  So instead of fighting my nature or making excuses, I have simply reclaimed the evening as my time of exercise.  Don’t really know why it has taken so long.

I never thought I would end up being this person but sure enough here I am.  So now I am paying the price of trying to find that guy I once was and thought I would always be.  In the short term I will probably have more empathy for the excuse makers and understand the pain involved in starting over but I could become more obnoxious than ever if I am indeed successful in my quest to be reunited with that guy I used to know so well.  Anyway for now there will be no more excuses and my fifty-seventh year will be dedicated to a new me or reclaiming what I can of the old me.