I’m officially an “old guy”. I don’t mean your average AARP type old guy. I’ve been getting that magazine for a long time. When it first came, it was a joke. Shoot, I still figured myself to be quite young. But that’s over with. I signed up for Medicare and saw my first Social Security check this year. (Our kids will be lucky to see theirs don’t you think?)
But more than the stability of the Social Security system our kids need us to be around for as long as possible. And by “be around” I don’t mean “sit around.” There’s an ad for a cholesterol medication that shows a well known football coach who had a heart attack. At the end showing him playing with his family, he says, “It’s your future, be there.”
Now I have to tell you that I have always known people grow older, but some how I thought an exception would be made in my case by the powers that be. No exception was made however, and I had to have a very serious talk with myself about “being there” for my wife and kids.
I have a nine year old daughter, a younger wife, and two sons, 36 and 42. (Ouch! – Hurts to have a kid with gray hair doesn’t it?) I want to tell you just a bit about the day that brought life to a screeching halt. I want to my dance at my daughter’s wedding and it looked for a bit that was not going to happen unless she got married at about age ten.
“Older White Male: SOB” That’s what the nurse wrote on my chart before my doctor came to see me. (Older White Male: Short of Breath) And my pulse was a tad high, blood pressure up, “yadda, yadda, yadda.” You know the drill. It was the chest pains at night that got me off my rear into his office. I didn’t mind the heart burn, acid reflux, taking a break between shoes to come up for air before tying the second shoe, or even the fifteen minutes it took in the morning to get the stiffness and soreness worked out. It was the prospect of not seeing that little girl grow up.
To tell the truth, even thirty and forty “somethings” still seem like kids, don’t they? Maybe one of your kids gave this article to you. If they did, I want to ask you to do something and then I want to make a promise to you.
The next time you see one of your kids or grandkids, look deep into their eyes and know that they would give anything to have you around for five, ten fifteen, or even twenty more years than they might if you don’t make some changes. I know change doesn’t come easy. I struggled with the whole diet and exercise thing for so long it was a joke. Over three decades I lost something like 325 pounds. The problem is I gained 345 pounds over that same three decades and wound up 20 pounds heavier than when I started. My doctor, my wife, and just about everyone who cared about me tried to encourage me to “get in shape,” but it doesn’t happen until a bell goes off inside of you somewhere. For me it was imagining what it would be like for my daughter, sons and granddaughter to be at my funeral dealing with grief. You know what that is all about right? I still miss my dad and wish I could give him a call when things are tough and I would love to have his insight.
So take that look into their eyes… into their hearts and listen for that inner voice. If you will do that and make a commitment to begin a journey toward a more fit lifestyle, I promise that you will experience changes that will transform your life. I would still not believe that past eighteen months if it hadn’t happened to me. So tune in to Part II of this article for some sure fire ways to begin the journey. For now I’ve got to go.
As it is, I’ve got to get out there for a run. I have one more triathlon to do this season. I’ve finished two, have a couple 60 mile bike rides in and a 100 miler to do this weekend. Oh, and I absolutely love being 65 and fit and haven’t felt this good since… actually can’t remember feeling this good. (I don’t think that’s a memory issue.)
Oh, my doc still has that SOB on my chart, but it no longer means “short of breath.” It’s more along the line of when he saw me last time, he said, “Well, I’ll be a….”
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