I stopped at a local bagel shop yesterday to pick up some of their fine homemade product for the long weekend. There are usually a few people sitting outside at the smoking tables; I call it the Old Dudes Club. These guys show up early, get their breakfast and coffee and then sit around and talk for hours.
Yesterday they were inside, still chowing down, and still talking. A South Florida July chases even the toughest old dudes indoors, I guess. Over time, I’ve caught snatches of their conversation as I’ve walked in, waited in line and left with my to-go bag of fresh bagels. Most of the talk is predictably about their health – operations, doctors, meds, and what hurts at the moment.
On the one hand, I get that these are, well, old dudes. They’ve been through hard work, hard wars, and hard life. They’ve earned their time in the breakfast club chair and maybe the right to commiserate. But I don’t want to end up like that. I don’t want to be one of those guys, complaining to anyone who will listen (mainly because they’ve lost the ability to move away) about how it hurts to get out of bed everyday, how it stinks to keep track of daily pills and how I’m not as (young, good-looking, fast) as I used to be.
We live with a political administration whose leader actually thinks exercise will kill you. He has zero scientific evidence to back this statement, but frankly, it comes across as just one of the many nonsensical yips that emanate from the District of Columbia these days. I say defy the dudes, tune out the yips and forge ahead. At this point, I hurt when I get out of bed anyway, and even now, have to track pills daily. So it won’t get better with increasing age. I say find a goal and go for it. If you do sprint triathlons, train for an international. If you walk, train for a 5K. If you swim, train for a meet and swim a few 50s and 100s. It’s easy to sit back and cheer for others, as we do when we watch professional and Olympic sports on TV, or even our kids’ teams. Putting ourselves in a pair of running shoes, on a bike, behind home plate, on a soccer field or in a gym for the first time is a stomach-churning, catch-in-the-throat sensation. But the first time only happens one time. Then you are not one of those old dudes anymore.
I always thought the name for this blog, Notes for My Next Life, was just a name I came up with that would mean something someday. Someday has arrived. My Next Life starts in August, with a major life change in terms of my working career. I will pursue more freelance writing and other options, more athletic training and work part-time. How will it all work out? I’ll keep posting and let you know.