Andrew

Archive for March, 2014|Monthly archive page

Who am I am and what have you done with me?

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I have been reading a book that was written by a career minor league baseball player who finally got his shot at the Major Leagues after playing six years in the armpit of the Major Leagues. It is well known that life in the minor leagues are filled with long bus rides, junk food and the constant fear of being cut from the team due to poor performances on the field. For 40 days this player experienced the opulence of being in the Majors but also felt the incredible pressure of being under the microscope of millions of eyes watching your every move.  This experience turned him into someone he was not.  This normally fun loving guy now snapped at his fiancé, found himself drinking more and was questioning the confidence that he always had in himself.  It wasn’t until he had a huge fight with his fiancé just two weeks before their wedding that he realized the big leagues changed him into someone he wasn’t.  He had spent so much time trying to achieve his goal of pitching on a Major League mound that when he finally made it, he could do nothing more than worry about staying there.  A bad outing on the mound, a sideways look from a baseball veteran or even a harsh word by an opposing fan caused him to second guess himself and question what he was doing.  The dream he realized was certainly not the dream he had in his head since he was a small boy.  All those hours of hard work and all his lofty dreams did not measure up to his expectations and made him into someone he didn’t recognize when he looked at himself in the mirror.

This story got me to thinking about life itself.  Growing up one dreams of being a baseball player, a scientist or even a fireman or policeman.   You have wild eyed dreams and you know that fulfilling these dreams are going to give your life satisfaction as well as happiness until the day you die.  The suddenly life hits.  You realize you either are not the student you need to be or you discover you hate science and will never be a scientist.  You realize you cannot hit a curveball and your dreams of wearing a Major League uniform are crushed or you realize that being a cop could be detrimental to your very life. In short, life happens and dreams are thrown out like yesterday’s trash.  Depressing isn’t it?

I have spent a good deal of time in the last year thinking about unrealized expectations and a life that may have failed to live up to my childhood dreams. I guess turning fifty years old may do that to some people and I certainly am no exception.  I am now looking back to take inventory of my life and see if my current life measures up to who I thought I would be when I dreamed years ago.  I am a father, a husband, a son as well as a college graduate.  All things I hoped that I would be when I “grew up”.  What I am not is a home owner, a millionaire and a first baseman for any big league team that would have me, all which I just somehow knew would come true.  Some of my childhood dreams were certainly attainable and some not but that hasn’t stopped me from mulling these dreams over and over in my head and wondering what went wrong.  Like the minor league pitcher I couldn’t help but be disappointed in who I had become even after seeing many of my hopes and dreams come true.

After spending a year literally thinking about who I am and where I have been I have come to the realization that I want to reinvent myself as I enter the later years of life.  I have decided that I have become literally fat and lazy, not only in my daily activities but in my mind as well.  I admire those who are much older than I who continue to attend college, try new things and make a difference in their own lives even when they are much closer to the end of their own end than they are the beginning.   It is obvious that playing for a Major League team will never happen at this point but I might find just as much satisfaction coaching Little League baseball as I would have playing ball.  Saving money to travel and see grandkids or see sites I have always wanted to visit will help round out a life I know I never dreamed of as a child but now long for as an adult. 

That baseball player I spoke of would eventually realize that attaining his dream of playing big league baseball was not at all what he hoped it would be.  The money was great but the expectations were immense and much more than he could bear.  He would continue to play baseball for a few more years before hanging up his glove and spikes and walk away from the game as a player.  After a good deal of soul searching he had finally realized that there was more to life than what he had dreamed of as a child.  He has reinvented himself as an author and broadcaster and has seemed to find much more reward in these roles than he ever thought he could.  He found happiness where he never would have dreamed he could. He allowed himself to think outside the box and look for opportunities in other areas and found satisfaction where he never thought he could.

Finding satisfaction in an area I never thought I would is now my new goal.  At the age of fifty I am not dead and can do so many things with my life.  I am married to a great woman and since my children are grown and I have a college degree in my back pocket there should be nothing that stops me.  I think I have been so focused on losing weight and what this change would mean to my life I have lost focus of where I wanted to go.  For so long now I have told myself that my life will start when I lose enough weight that everything has been on hold until that day arrives.  Like that baseball player, it was so easy to celebrate my success and too easy for me to get down on myself with my failures.  I let the lack of weight loss overwhelm me and derail any plans I may have had for my future.  No longer can I allow my life to be dictated by weight loss as I have too many interests that are waiting to be experienced to be hampered by one aspect of my life.  Make no mistake, weight loss is one of my top priorities but is not THE top priority.  I have a life to live and allowing myself to have other experiences while I lose weight will help relieve the boredom of the life I have created for myself.  Like that ball player, I need to get into a new frame of mind and look for opportunities where I would have never looked before.  I need to reinvent myself and decide what it is I would like to do with the rest of my life.  I may not become an author or a broadcaster like that former baseball player but there is little doubt I can find just as much satisfaction in what I find as he did in the life he is now living.  Now it is just a matter of getting this new life started and heading in the right direction. 

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This was the winter of my discontent…..

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Winter has a strange way of derailing the best laid plans of man or beast.  Good intentions can be replaced by complacency while laziness sets in for the long, cold season.  This winter has been especially cruel due to the record setting number of sub-zero days and the near record snow falls which has resulted in inactivity and lack of desire to do anything remotely resembling fitness activity.  Let’s be serious here.  Who really has the inclination to go outside in weather that is seeing temperatures that are colder than one’s own home freezer and walk on sidewalks that have turned to skating rinks?  Nobody, outside of fitness freaks and those who own a pair of cross country skis dare venture outside in this Midwest weather.

Winter starts out with a holiday that encourages overindulgence with Thanksgiving and all the gastric delights it has to offer. It then continues with Christmas with its egg nog, cookies and other treats held back for this particular time of year.  Winter then segues into New Year’s where consuming massive amounts of food and drink is not only accepted but encouraged.    Winter then lulls us into a state where all we want to do is fluff our nests and cuddle up with a bowl of our favorite comfort food and wait until the crocuses pop up through the ground in a time frame that seems like an eternity. Winter is not a friend of fitness and only perpetuates the sedentary lifestyle.

This winter has been hard on my trek to a healthier lifestyle and has killed any momentum I had built up for weight loss during most of last year.  I have found myself forgoing the extensive indoor walking at work and the diet regime I had set up for myself in exchange for extra time on the internet and foods that are of no use to me.  This has been a pattern in my life that I was determined to break but I soon found myself doing the same old things.  The difference is this year, I knew how good it felt to see the success on the scale after all my hard work yet I decided to turn my back on this success and go back to my old ways.  With each passing day I pushed those thoughts of doing the right thing and replaced them with thoughts as empty as the calories I was consuming.  This year I knew I knew what I had to do yet I decided that I was not going to do the right thing. 

This brings me to today, March 1, 2014….the start of spring according to the weather man.  Despite that fact it is snowing outside and we are expecting 6 or more inches of snow and the next week’s temperatures are forecasted to be in the mid-teens I am determined to get back on the horse (bike) and not fall off again.  I worked up the courage to visit my doctor’s office today to weigh in for the first time since October and discovered that I had “only” gained six pounds despite my best intentions to gain more this winter.  I rejoiced in the fact that I did not gain even more weight than I did and vowed to get back down to my previous weight within two weeks.  Once again I am feeling the need for the thrill of seeing decreased numbers on the scale and the ability to walk further than I have been able to in recent years.   I am remembering how the compliments from friends pushed me even harder to decrease my size and I am mad at myself for allowing winter to come between me and the person who I am striving to be.  Today, on the first day of spring, 2014 I now declare winter to be over and my quest to be less of a man (in size only) to be renewed.  Winter no longer has a hold over me and I refuse to let it derail my plans of becoming who I really want me to be.  Now if I can only convince Mother Nature that winter is done.