It is 6:14 AM and I feel as though I haven’t had much time to write as much as I’ve wanted to lately.
2016 is turning out to be a much different year. I’ve started my gym routine and am now going as soon as I wake up which is usually around five. I haven’t gone much these past few years because of the young boys. Time spent doing other things is time away from them and so when my second was born I felt considerably guilty going to the gym or mountain biking. I couldn’t go early because sometimes the older son would wake up early as well and I didn’t want him to wake up his mom and younger brother. But now that he is older he is sleeping much better and I don’t need to worry as much about him waking up early or in the dark.
So yea, I’m finally able to get my gym routine going again and I feel great! When I’m listening to my music and doing the workout I sometimes can remember how I felt as a teenager on the wrestling team. Wrestling gave me a lot of confidence and it was easy to see my body becoming stronger. I was also very excited when practice/meets were over and I could look forward to a Friday or Saturday night with friends and/or the girlfriend. In fact, I think most people would agree that meeting up with friends on the weekends in high school was always very exciting. Sometimes the events would be high school sponsored such as football games or dances while at other times they would be absolutely non-sanctioned events such as parties at someones house. It was a time when everyone is still growing up, learning, taking risks and there is a certain excitement to that which no longer exists in adulthood.
Well, the point of all this is when I’m at the gym sometimes I can remember my own mindset as a teenager. A certain song comes on, the endorphins are flowing and I get a flicker of that old excitement. I see the muscles getting bigger and that old confidence rushes back. It’s not that I lost a lot of confidence, it is just that corporate America and society in a big city has a way of wearing one down over time.
I’m now thirty eight years old and as I look in that gym room mirror I can see my HS senior year / college self looking back at me as I do the same exercises I did then. I ask myself why I haven’t worked out as much as I should have these past ten years. I see these younger versions of me, so full of excitement at the uncertainty and possibilities of the future, and I realize the future is here and now as an aged face stares back at me in the mirror. I feel as though we go through a good portion of life on autopilot with a very low level of consciousness and self-awareness. We simply cannot sustain what is now being called a “mindful state” as we accomplish our daily routines and tasks. Being at the gym so early in the morning is a very reflective time for me and actually serves as a type of metaphor for life in general. I’m starting a brand new day, the exercises fill me with energy and vigor which in turn creates a very happy and positive mindset. For the moment, I’m stress free and feel as carefree as I did as a young man. The day will go on and the current of life will continue: bills need to be paid, work demands will multiply, time will continue its rapid advance.
Life is a current and it continues to speed up as we grow older with every increasing demands put upon us. I wrote about the topic of these life currents five years ago – click here – and as I write these words am surprised that five years have passed already since that post! We will get into routines and through our accumulated decisions the currents are going to take us to a place in life we may or may not want to go. It can be very difficult to turn the stream in a different direction or pull yourself from its grasp and change streams completely! I feel that with my morning workouts I’ve been able to change my own life stream’s direction by the resolute decision that I’m going to the gym at least three times a week and always in the morning.
Speaking of life decisions I’ve decided to cool down on thoughts of changing careers. My current one gives me time with my kids and it is through their hugs and smiles that I am easily able to arrive at the correct answer. I will not change jobs at this point in my life for anything that is not work from home. My time spent with them is priceless and I find it very hard to qualify a $50K or even $100K increase in salary if I also put a monetary value on these moments. When I’m even older how much would I pay to have these moments back? How much would just one day with my sons a little kid and baby be worth to me when I’m 65?
I think it is a flaw in our thinking that we really do not appreciate a number of things as much as we should until they are gone. This is true of friends, family members, loves, experiences, and so on. Children are a great example as these times can be exhausting yet the older people keep telling me these are the absolute best times as their own kids are now all grown up. Luckily, I agree with them and have made it a conscious effort to enjoy these times as much as possible although there is frustration and can make me absolutely exhausted. The time at the gym is a great reset button that pushes any frustration or tiredness completely away and it completely recharges my batteries so I’m ready for another day of catching bugs, riding bikes, coloring, or whatever else they may want to do.
It is now 7:16 AM, the sky has turned pink and soon the hustle and bustle of the day will begin. The e-mail is hiding behind a sinister blue login screen and coffee needs to be made. Today is an office day however so hopefully I can write a little more either here or in the other blogs.