Month: March 2015

The Art of Turning 40

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I’m 40 years old today.  It’s a little surreal, but ultimately I feel I’ve earned it.  But still, how did it happen?  I mean, parents are 40.  Teachers are 40.  The cashier at the grocery story is 40.  Guys like me don’t turn 40.

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Yet here I am.  Forty.  I should be prepared for this; I’ve been rounding up my age for the past six months anyway.

Look, there’s nothing profound happening here.  It’s just a day to mark the passage of time.  But if you don’t mind, let me share a few things I’ve learned over the years.

Time goes fast.

On my 26th birthday, an older buddy of mine said, “Enjoy it while it lasts.  It’s pretty much warp speed after 26.”  I laughed.  But it’s true, it’s gone by terribly fast.  When you’re that age, you don’t think it will, and then BOOM!  Forty.  I never thought I’d turn out to be this type of person, but I can look back and wish I’d used my time a little more efficiently.

The future is more important than the past.

I can dwell on the things I haven’t done, wished I’d done, or done incorrectly.  There’s nothing I can do about them.  Yes, I’m human, I do dwell on the things I can’t change.  I can’t do anything about the past, but I have options when it comes to my future.  Tomorrow, next week, the next five years.  The best part about being 40 is understanding what the future means, recognizing that life is getting shorter, not longer.

Appreciate your life.

Okay, I’m not trying to be Deepak Chopra here, but I’d like you to think about hose harried days when you wish it was just over with already.  Basically you’re asking for death to come sooner.  Yeah, a little dramatic but, ultimately, it’s true.  Right?  “I wish this day was over with already!”  Don’t get me wrong, I do it pretty much every day (I work in customer service, after all, you’d want to be over with, too).  But the difference between 40 and 20 is that I know enough to stop, take a breath, and recognize that it can always be worse.  Much, much worse.  I’m not joking.

I’m no philosopher.  I’m just a guy who turned 40.  And, frankly, I’m proud of this fact.  My childhood was ok.  My teens were arduous.  My twenties sucked.  My thirties were pretty good.  I have absolute faith that my forties will be unfathomably awesome.  Of this there’s no doubt.

So, take stock and enjoy the day.  I will.  Beer for everyone!  Cheers!

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The Not-So-Art of Turning 40

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The safe where I work is on the floor.  For many companies – especially retail – this isn’t uncommon.  Most are kept up front, behind the registers, but ours is uniquely set several hundred feet away in a back room.  It’s quite the trek, but this isn’t the problem.

The safe being on the floor means I need to either crouch to its level, or sit on the floor entirely while dealing with money.  Neither of these positions is comfortable.  At all.  I have noticed, as the months have progressed, it’s becoming more difficult to manipulate my body to accommodate the damn thing.  Crouching is fine – for a few seconds.  Then the reality that my gut is hanging over my waist band starts to hit home.  And sitting on the floor?  This means using my wrists to support myself as I plop down on to the cold floor.  The bones and tendons in there don’t like it one bit, and they’re keen on letting me know this.  Oh, and did I mention using the wall as support?  Sliding down like some arthritic stripper in a cheap club?  It’s pathetic.

I have realized these are affects of age.  And weight.  The two pretty much go hand-in-hand, right?

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I used to be a fit person.  I was by no means Arnold Schwarzenegger circa 1987, but I worked out regularly and tried to eat well.  In fact, I used to enjoy going to the gym.  I used to enjoy taking brisk hikes, or jogs around my neighborhood. I often preferred a hearty salad over a burger.  Water was my drink of choice.  Over the past several months I have let it all fall by the wayside.  It all started to become…a chore.

Work plays a large part in this.  My shifts are unorthodox, even for retail.  4 p.m. to midnight.  Though the job itself is decent, the hours aren’t conducive to a healthy lifestyle.  I’m home by one a.m. and I have no urge to cook.  So what do I do?  Hit those convenient little Fat Inhibitors known as fast food joints.  I eat, I’m in bed by 3 a.m., then I wake up anywhere between 10 and noon.  It’s awful.  I lie there, and I can actually feel what that horrible, fried, over-processed food has done to me: it’s sucked every ounce of energy from my body.

But it’s so fucking delicious.  And easy.  And cheap.  Did I mention cheap??

I can see 40.  It looms right around the corner (March 11th, to be exact).  And though I know my weight and health isn’t just a lifestyle but also a state of mind, I find it so difficult to find the desire to do something about it.  I lack stamina.  It doesn’t help that the work I do is half physical; when a shift is over I’m not only beat, but I feel that the crap I eat is warranted because, you know, I burned all those calories at work.  Talk about self-enabling!!

Sure, my genetics don’t allow for the ripped, chiseled build of a football player, or the taut, sinewy litheness of a runner, and this plays a part.  For years I’ve gained and lost 30 to 40 pounds.  My weight has gone up and down more times than a seesaw at an elementary school.  I’d gain weight for whatever reason (mainly booze and burgers), then work my ass off for a few months determined to lose said weight.  And I would.  “Good job, Sean,” I’d tell myself, “go ahead and have a piece of cake!”  But, before I knew it, that piece of cake became the whole cake and the next thing I know I’m back to being winded from climbing a flight of stairs.

I was worried the last run of weight loss might be my last.  I’m getting older.  Things don’t work on my body quite like they used to.  The enjoyment of taking jogs took a back seat when I developed gout and an allergy to sunscreen.  And, as I mentioned before, my current job isn’t helping matters.  My bones ache in the morning.  I can’t have dairy as much as I used to.  Heartburn has become common.  If this is 40, what in the hell will 50 be like?  Or, worse, 80?!?

The only positive note in all this is that I have miraculously become immune to hangovers.  I have no idea why, but hey, silver linings, folks, silver linings.

I guess this post is really to hold myself accountable.  Yes, despite my bitching and moaning, I will, in fact, be going back to the gym and eating better (I’m eating a bowl of oatmeal as I write this).  It has to happen.  Honestly, I would love nothing more than to sit Indian style in front of the safe at work without feeling like my guts are ready to explode.  I mean, that’s reason enough, isn’t it?