Have you ever had those thoughts where you wish you could go back in time? To know then what you know now, and fantasize about how different your life would be? We do too. It seems to be one of those things like finding a suitcase full of money, or that long lost relative who leaves you millions in their will, or being financially secure and independent simply by sitting on your ass, doing nothing. The good old, get rich quick without the effort pipe dream. What are the options in this life? We study hard in school to get good grades, to hopefully get a good job. We go to work everyday, work our butts off, (or maybe just do the minimum to get by), working for someone else’s dreams. We are tired, unhappy, unfulfilled, essentially a miserable existence! We do this for 40 years or so and then we still struggle to get by after it all. A broken down body, aching and crippled. We could go into debt to start our own business. We work even harder, never get to be with our loved ones, struggle to make it by, miss out on really living. There are so many aspects of our lives that we cannot ever have full control over. The one thing we can always control, the one thing we can change, the one thing that is always the same in every single one of these scenarios is ourselves. Most, if not all people, know of that one guy or girl who is always complaining. The person who has worked 10-15 different jobs every year, for as long as you have known them. “This place is terrible!” “These people are impossible to work with!” “They treat me like garbage!” “I’m out of here, they will be sorry!” The search continues, job after job, year after year, until one day you wake up, old and crotchety, yelling at the kids to get the hell off your lawn.
As time ticks by, faster and faster it seems, the older we get, the changes we seek, the bodies and minds that have been muddled, derailed along our journey. We are making a serious effort to take giant steps this year. The evidence is clear, with a healthier body comes a healthier, happier mind. The biggest problem we face, at least for me, is the boredom factor. When I was younger, I was very active. It was easy to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and still maintain a respectable appearance and energy levels that refused to falter. I don’t just like food…I love it! This for me is a giant obstacle. Diets never work, I am not willing to make those sacrifices. I get enjoyment from food, and depriving myself of those pleasures has a negative impact on my mental state. Giving up pasta, or red meat is not a feasible option for me. I have to train myself to eat smaller portions. To learn to be content before I actually feel full. Also difficult, but possible. The second skill I need is to force a considerable amount more exercise into my days. I have never been, nor will ever be that person who can go out and run 10 miles, or go to the gym and work out for hours. Yes, I do love the feeling I get from pumping oxygen into my muscles and cells. Yes, I do feel happier, have more energy, sleep better, am much more pleasant to be around. Personally, there is little to no enjoyment in the actual process. Having a partner does help, it is very motivating. Most of the time, it is difficult to coordinate or rely on that other someone. People’s lives, goals and motivations are usually quite different from your own. I like the type of exercise that tricks your brain into not realizing you are exercising. Having children is the greatest excuse and motivator for me. I always have been, and probably always will be a child at heart. Now I have the perfect excuse, and also not just look like that weird old guy who is playing street hockey, or climbing a tree by himself. In my younger years, I loved skateboarding. I was on that board every single day. I had a small group of very good friends, and we terrorized neighborhoods all over New York. Searching out new and challenging obstacles to conquer. It was awesome, and we were pushing ourselves to limits none of us ever believed possible. It was not only physical, but mentally challenging and rewarding. The progression and camaraderie was intensely motivating. It made the numerous scrapes, bruises, sometimes broken bones, all worth it. In my adolescent mind, I thought it would never end. Somewhere along the journey, as I got more interested in girls, and other aspects of life, school, making money, building a tangible future. Skateboarding just wasn’t as cool anymore. The board got tucked away, the posters came down, the subscription to TransWorld skateboarding expired. It felt as though a big part of me had died. Twenty-five years later, I realize it was just hibernating. My son, who is seven, is now interested. The fire is lit, I can see it shining in his eyes. Perfect excuse for me to knock the dust off. To help him progress, for us to bond, have fun, and get some great exercise without even realize it. Am I rusty?…absolutely. Do I have the fear of smashing myself off the ground…indeed. It will take time and dedication for sure, but that’s ok. So no, I won’t be tre flipping down a ten stair anytime soon, or maybe ever again in my life. I may have to relive that awesome feeling through him. But if we can go to the skatepark together, have some fun, learn some new tricks or revisit some old school moves…that’s more than enough for me for right now. Plus, I might actually get to build that half-pipe I have always dreamed of in the backyard…if, by some miracle, we can get Mom to give us the green light.