Forty is the new thirty or at least that is what people told me last year. Screw that I crap, or so I thought to myself. If I am going to claim to be younger than I am I might as well pick a different age. Thirty was fine, but physically I was in better condition at 18.
Years of competitive swimming had made me into a lean, mean fighting machine. But then I thought about it for a moment longer and realized that while I was in great shape at 18, I felt even better/stronger at 25 and so I decided that was what I wanted to be.
The whole thing was rather ridiculous. I was 40, not 19, 25, 17 or 34. I was 40 and nothing was going to change that. There weren’t any magic tricks or time machines that were going to transform me so I might as well accept being 40.
But frankly 40 sucked. In far too many ways it was the worst year of my life. A year of drudgery, frustration anger and aggravation. I have a graphic imagination and when I think of 40 I picture getting beat over the head with a baseball bat…repeatedly
Those who know me best are aware that I beating me over the head isn’t an effective way to get me to change. My head is the hardest part of my body. Hit me and I don’t cringe, I get really angry. One of the classic examples comes from when I was five-years-old. I got in trouble for something and was sent to my room.
Apparently I left my room a few minutes later and told my father that I wanted to fight him, the rationale being that if I won I wouldn’t be in trouble anymore. So if you ask if I ever fight windmills the answer is yes, I sometimes do.
Forty-one has been a much better year than forty. I haven’t made peace with all of the demons or overcome all of the challenges that were thrown at me last year, but I have come a long way and can see that I will finish this year having come even farther.
I played basketball three straight nights this week. Three nights of running up and down a court, taking a pounding inside and fighting to grab as many rebounds as possible. So when I woke up this morning at the ungodly hour of 4:50 am (conference call with clients back east) I was tired. My body ached and I felt a bit like someone had used that bat all over my body and not just upon my head.
And now a few short hours later I have noticed a change. My body hurts, but not like it did. It feels like I worked out…because I did. I arranged my schedule so that the past three days I made it to the gym early in the day and then played ball later on.
Seated here in front of the computer I haven’t taken a sip of my coffee, yet I notice a change. The body is starting to respond to the challenges I have undertaken. I am a long way off from where I want to be, but progress has clearly been made. I am ecstatic.
Look, if I really had the ability to turn back the clock I would probably do it. Especially if I could go back to those times with the knowledge and wisdom I have today. But I am ok with not being able to do it. I remember being 18 but I don’t really remember everything.
There really aren’t too many things that I would change. I think what I miss most is the metabolism. I was a one man wrecking crew who could eat one billion calories without fear of gaining an ounce. And I suppose that it is fair to say that back then three consecutive days of ball didn’t leave my legs feeling as tired as they are today.
But that is ok with me. This is just one more challenge to be faced and overcome. I’ll adapt and adjust to this because that is what I do. And might I add, damn it feels good to feel the body come back however slowly. Life is pretty good.