Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Turning 40

I’m turning 40 this week. But if you know me or looked at my profile, you would see that I’m about four years off. Let me explain. I was raised by parents with a can-do attitude. They were not complainers in any way. They both worked very hard at whatever they did, and I think that rubbed off on me. Consequently I find it easy to take responsibility for my actions and outcome in life. As a freshman in college, I encountered what was called at the time the “freshman fifteen,” those extra pounds you found clinging onto the midsection as a result of the all-you-can-eat dorm food and countless late night pizzas. Some of my friends would bemoan the fact that they were gaining weight, as they stuffed another slice of Dominos in their mouth. I resolved not to follow suit. So I changed my diet, changed my lifestyle, even changed my major. I got serious about getting fit and doing something about my circumstances. I lost weight as a result, and started looking and feeling better. I was on a new path I liked very much. I liked the feeling of being in control. I charted my course. I started exercizing. I set my goals. I ran 10k’s. I even ran a few marathons. Life was good. So when I turned 40 for real, I decided I needed another challenge, so I committed to run another marathon. I did it before, why couldn’t I do it again? Who knows, maybe I can even run a PB (personal best). Being no stranger to training, I did what I knew to do; put in lots of miles. No better place to start than with a steady dose of LSD (long, slow distance). But like the other LSD, it came with its after effects I noticed it first thing of a morning. Getting out of bed each day got harder and harder. Joints were slow to bend back into working order. The next thing I started noticing was the heat. I always loved summer heat. I felt it made me stronger, but now it makes me fatigued. I had to run earlier in the day. From there I became acutely aware of other conditions. Bumps on my body that wouldn’t go away with ice or heat packs. Hair growing out my ears instead of the top of my head. Stray eyebrows that looked like curly banjo strings. What is happening here? No more cause and effect. No more feeling in full control. So this is what I mean when I say I’m finally turning 40. It’s taken me about four years to accept the aging process, to resign to the fact that regardless of how hard I work, I will never be as fast or strong or lean as I once was. My body is failing, just like everyone else’s. It’s normal. It’s part of life and I can allow it. I’m losing control of my physical body and for once I am beginning to see that it just might be another step toward freedom that I am longing for. I can feel free from the need to chase an unreachable goal. I would hope for a healthy life free from illness for the rest of my days, but the true life of liberty really flows from someplace other than muscles that flex and joints that don’t ache.

2 comments:

glenn said...

Kevin...

Sorry to hear that you are falling apart, though, to me, you are a young "whipper snapper."

The ear hair and eyebrows thing gets me too. I don't understand it. Bill Cosby concluded that his eyebrows just got tired of lying down after forty years and decided that, by golly, I'm standing up!

Hang in there, ole friend!

EvertClaesson said...

Hey Kevin,

It was good seeing you last night. I wish you all the best in your new venture. Our talk was timely. You articulated very clearly some feelings I had been having over the past 2 - 3 years about my own situation in life.

I listened to some of your "Bread and Cup" music. It's pretty cool ambient stuff. I got some of my own music out on the web. You can check it out here:

http://www.myspace.com/fakeparadise1

God Bless!

Evert