LGN 40: Years Old

Inside: The mid-way check point; Stop the clock – Time out, ref; Where I’m failing miserably; Cheer up, emo dude; Underground Athlete Year 2 – Ready Player One

The Average Lifespan

The average lifespan for African American men is 70 years.  That’s about 6 years longer than my grandfather and father lived.  But let’s call it 70.  So, taking the average, I’m nearly 60% … done.  Wait.  That’s more than half way.  Not sure I like the sound of that.

This is a tricky blog entry to write.  I’ve written some very personal entries before.  I kind of regret it but only sometimes.  We’re all people trying to figure out this life thing with the tools we’re equipped with.  And the fact that I’m talking about lifespan here does put things in perspective.  What is there to fear?  Judgement?  Rejection?  Big whoop.  So there is some negativity in here but it’s authentic negativity and then there’s a shift of perspective.

I’ve scheduled this blog to automatically post at 12:00 pm on March 2nd of 2012.  I started writing it about a week before that.  I’ll have plenty of chances to edit and update.

What have I accomplished?

Over the last year?  So far in my life?

Uh.  Well, uh.  The thing is that, um.

Okay.  Over the course of the last year I did the fitness thing.  That’s an accomplishment.  I can’t say that it contributes to, like, society or humanity.  Not directly, anyway, but there are ripples.

Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Can’t remember who wrote that poem.

I wrote some songs.  Did a fair job at recording them.  Some of it I’m really happy with.   My skills have improved a LOT in the past eight years or so.

Oh, I read the Bible.  Or successfully had it read to me via a daily podcast.  That was educational and relevant in so many ways.  I can’t say that I didn’t zone out every now and then.  I’ve forgotten a lot of details and names, too, but it was a journey.

Photography!  That’s been great.  Getting a little rusty at the moment but with the warmer weather — the possibilities.

My eating habits have changed dramatically.  There’s some streamlining I need to do but it’s good progress.

Hopefully, my blogging about my fitness quest is helping to inspire people.  I would consider that an accomplishment.

Uh, what else.  Drawing a blank here.

I’m now an organ donor, according to my new driver’s license.  It’s something I always meant to do, but after seeing my stepfather go through a liver and kidney transplant on Christmas Eve (still in the process of recovering) with organs received from a 14 year old girl who died from heart failure … it was a wake up call.  Okay, I’m not being fully honest here.  I was hoping that in the future my organs could be saved and placed into Gary 2 as needed, but the reality hit home and put an end to all my bullcrappery.

What about life?

Not so sure about that.  Truth be told, every now and then I feel like I’m failing at life.  I’m not trying to be dramatic or score pity points.  I’m trying to be real.  Like, that thought goes through my head every now and then.  It’s the, “Is this all there is?” question but with a few more years tacked on to it.  “Is that all I’ve done?”

I’ve honed a handful of skills.  They could all fall under the umbrella of communication or expression: guitar, bass, other miscellaneous instruments, songwriting, drawing, painting, writing, designing.  Technical background.  Kind of a hybrid.  Science, art, magic.  I’m down with it.

What I have not figured out is how to focus that energy.

My younger sister once said.  “Wow.  Imagine what Gary could do if he were motivated.”  Something to that effect.

I admit it.  I’m not an ambitious person.  I don’t have a drive to achieve power or prestige, but I do have all of this creative energy.  I have an intense drive to make things and to connect with people (believe it or not).  Do I want to turn it into products or a business?  I want to create.  I don’t want to be mired in logistics and marketing.  Maybe that’s the adolescent talking, though.  You gotta do what you gotta do.  Much respect to all the small and independent business owners.

This is something I definitely need to figure out and soon.

Because Society
We live in a culture where adolescence has been delayed indefinitely.  It’s good to have freedom and so many choices (even if it’s an overwhelming amount of choices).  We’ve reached, collectively, a point in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that allows us to pursue more ethereal things.  We have the luxury to wonder about our purpose and we have the time to pursue passions, hobbies, dreams and whims.

Combine that with a vast amount of the most stimulating distractions in the existence of humankind and you get exuberant adolescence well into the 30s and maybe even 40s.

NIPS (Now it’s Personals)
The only problem with that is that the clock doesn’t stop ticking.

This is the bane of my existence.  Like, some people struggle with jobs or with money.  Some people just can’t seem to get along with other people in their lives.  Some people feel like the world is against them so even whey they do achieve something they can’t seem to enjoy it.  Some people can’t seem to function without drama and turmoil.  None of that for me.

I want to have kids and a family.  I sometimes wonder if there’s some alternate universe where I got married and had kids right out of college.  Maybe after I moved to California to work for Apple.  They’d be teenagers today.

I know a lot of wonderful, vibrant women.  My peers.  I guess they’re getting past the point of being able to — without statistically being more at risk for complications — have children.  What are the ramifications of that?  I don’t know.

I have to accept the fact that there’s a possibility it won’t happen.  It’s not okay but it’s alright.

I’m not chronically single by conscious choice.  I mean, I’ve given up on it.  About once every year I give up on it for 48 weeks.  Then the remainder of the time I spend unintentionally alienating those that I’m most attracted to.  It’s an impressive skill.  🙂

I think … I think it’s like a lot of people’s weight loss struggles.  You ever wonder why someone seems to not even try?  You’ve seen them try before.  Maybe many times.  You know they want it but you dare not even broach the subject.  There’s too much stuff mixed in there for them to be willing to tackle the issue head on.  Too many past failures leading to a disheartened spiral of shame and inadequacy.  It turns into a disability of sorts.

A disability.  Dis – ability.

The Social Landscape
I figure that if I find things I love to do then the rest will fall into place.  I mean, think about this.  For a lot of people, when’s the last time you had every day friends?  I mean, those friends that you knew you were going to see just about every day.  When it wasn’t a matter of “if” or planning or coordinating schedules, but the routine.  I miss that.  Point being, socializing has to be so intentional these days with everyone busy and scattered all over God’s green earth.  At this stage of life.

I tell you all of this for a reason.  Things make sense about a person’s motivations when you get a little peek inside their head.  When you wonder what drives them or you wonder what drives yourself.  There’s a little pathos in all of us and it’s often a piston in our psychological engines.  I can tell you for a fact — aside from health and vanity reasons and wanting to be a good example for family and friends — sometimes what gets me through sets and Finishers at the gym is all of this social tension and frustration.

Sometimes, in my head, I’m effectively kicking myself in the ass for failing at women.    Sometimes, in my head, I’m fantasizing that I can kick myself hard enough into not sucking.  And sometimes I’m just stressed out about Tough Mudder (on May 12th) and realize how much work I have to do.  Of course, sometimes I’m there just because it’s a habit and I physically and mentally don’t feel right if I miss it.

Okay.  So there.  I said it.  I’m 40.  I can say that kind of stuff now.  What’re those kids doing on my lawn.  That’s pure Kentucky Bluegrass, dang it.  Get outta here, you…

Even though it’s embarrassing, I like being open like this.  I’m not sure whether if it’s egotistical, brave, lame or exhibitionist, but I am sure that it’s definitely not a way to pick up chicks.  😀

And neither is calling women “chicks”.

But cheer up, emo kid.
Here’s the rub.

Life is Good

I have no lack of things to be thankful for.  I have no lack of friends, family, and loved ones to be thankful for.  Even the ones that have been lost over the past few years — I miss my dad.  We were well on our way to being friends after so many years of distance.  Grandma Young, Aunt Norma.  My friend, Theo, had so much potential.  My dog, Leika, increased the quality of my life in so many ways.  That was like losing a limb, losing the other half of my pack.

I’m amazed by Life and how It finds such beautiful, quality people for me.  People that make me better.  Like I’ve said before, we are a tribe of circumstance.  I’m so proud of you all.  I’ve met absolutely amazing people over the past year.  Not just people that are cool or fun, but people that inspire me.  People that I want to be like.  I don’t like to use the word “blessing” because it’s used so much that it carries the same weight and function as the word “smurf”, but what else could I call it?

I live in a time and place where all of our basic needs are met and we have the luxury to explore life.  I have no lack of resources (and no debt).  In fact, I have too many material things (that I want to seriously pare down in 2012), but I’ve got a few material things that rock and enable me to at least attempt to live up to my potential.

I’m a little older.  A little wiser.  The past is the past.  Tomorrow is a brand new day, people.

Brother Old Man Young
I have lived my life, unintentionally, as a monk.  But, monks train and practice discipline, awareness, stillness, develop depth, compassion and love.

And some make kick-ass, really strong Belgian ales.  Thank you, Trappists.

Some hone and master their bodies and practice martial arts.

And some run a complex, DarkNet hub in the catacombs of a monastery as can be seen in “Double Team” starring Jean Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman.  And Mickey Rourke as the villain.  (You really do need to click this link.  Cliiiick iiiiiiit.  Click it!)

Cyber Monks

The Question

So I have to ask myself.  What do I want your 40 to look like?  Year 40.  What do I want my year 40 to look like (which is technically my 41st year, but you know what I mean).

My last post about my Fitness Anniversary got me thinking.  What will my year 2 Fitness update look like?

I got my body fat percentage ultrasound reading done at UA this morning.  22.9%   That’s an improvement.  Definitely going in the right direction.  Justin said the short term goal is 20%.  Ultimately, the goal is to get below 15%.  I can’t imagine.  But I want it.  I wants it, preciousssss.

But between now and then there’s Tough Mudder.  Ugh.  Stupid.

My apartment is a mess.  The bedroom is a complete loss (that serves as a garage).  I want to move closer to work.  Closer to DC, inside the beltway.  Still accessible to UA in Fairfax and my family in Baltimore.  But I may not for a while because moving closer to anything I want to be near costs about $500 more per month.  Either way I’m going to enlist professional help to act as a less destructive form of a cleansing fire.  It’s time to simplify and declutter.  To let go of so many material things.

Anyway, I can’t keep all of this energy directed inward.  I think I need to get it … out.  Out there.  Constructively.  Teach, build, create.  Something.

And there’s — well, who knows what the year has in store.  The end of time maybe?  Solar storms.  The Great iPad 3 Riots of 2012 when blood ran in the streets of all the world’s major cities like a crimson flood.  Civilization grinding to a halt as every corner of society finds itself at a gridlocked standstill because of a ubiquitous pandemic of smart phone addiction.  Starbucks City is declared the new capital of the USA.  (But which one?  Seems like there’s a Starbucks City in every state.)  McDonald’s new McSoylent Bites.  “The Apple” remade by the cast of “Glee” and winning an Oscar.  Oh.  Sorry.

Spoilers.

The Answer

It begins…

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