In 10 days I turn 39.
Hard to believe at times that I am one year away from 40.
I remember when my father turned 40, now I am approaching the same age and I am not yet sure how I feel about that.
A number doesn’t mean much to me as I look better now than I ever did and I am pretty determined to attack this year with a fury to be even better at 40.
Age hits you though. Waking up with sore joints, recovery being slower, the need for smarter training (all of which I sometimes ignore in a quest to be physically better).
What have I learned in my previous 39 years that has defined me? What do I have to look forward to as most of my life is probably behind me?
1. Acquaintances are a dime a dozen, real friends stand the test of time.
I don’t mean those real “online friends” you had since the days of MySpace. I am talking people that broke bread with you, ones you sat around watching a game with. The ones you can call to help you move and they will say yes. The ones that you can talk to after a many month hiatus and act like you never left.
Acquaintances comes and go, I’ve had many come and go and most of them never cross my mind. I can’t even remember most of their names, because they matter jack shit to me.
I have some real friends who I can call tonight, set up something for the weekend and they will follow through. I have friends back home (PA and NY) who harass me to visit and I know when I do, it will be a great reunion.
I even met some damn good friends from the interwebs. Even in the “what you have done for me lately” attention span of today’s society, that is possible.
2. Mistakes haunt you, but don’t define you
Some people talk shit and say “don’t let your past define what your future is”, I say they are largely convincing themselves or they lived a charmed life.
Mistakes do haunt you because you wouldn’t be where you are today – good or bad – if it wasn’t for shit you fucked up.
Some mistakes led you to a better place, some led you into hell until you can pull yourself out of it.
I’ve had both extremes, some of them at the same time, but each one was a lesson in some way. Even if don’t always learn from them, I try to do better.
3. People always talk about you, why give a fuck what they say?
To sit here and say that you never talk about someone is stupid. We all do it. Many conversations involve someone else, its a fact of life.
It doesn’t matter. You will have people saying good about you, you will have people saying bad about you. You cannot please everyone and if you try you are a fucking idiot. The only person you should be worried about making happy is yourself. We alone are responsible for our own happiness. It doesn’t come from acceptance from others, it comes from you accepting yourself and others choosing to be in your life the way you are.
I won’t be so delusional and say “haters fuel me”. I leave that to the self-absorbed and narcissists to bring that to your attention. I just don’t care what people really think about me on the whole, just a select few that I care about.
Be yourself, unless you are a piece of shit, then change.
4. People CAN change
Those who knew me personally from 10-15 years ago to now know that I have changed a great deal physically and mentally. Details aren’t as important as the actual change itself, but it is a dramatic shift.
I feel bad for people that change for the worse. I feel bad for people that grow old and get more bitter. Life is short, contrary to the number of years you may live. Time moves fast and if you sit still too long you will be passed over.
I’m not big on motivational bullshit, I am big on reality. The reality is that we are in control of our actions, decisions, and our lives. If you know something is causing an issue with yourself and the way you interact with the world, change it. Its fucking simple. Make a choice and stick to it. The worst person you will have to face is yourself and your own failure.
Regret is a bitch.
5. You are easily forgotten about
The only people who are going to care about you in the long run are the ones you are close to. In person, nothing else.
The rest of them may be slightly upset for a day or two, then forget you.
We aren’t celebrities even if some people think they are. We are average people in a saturated industry. There are probably more trainers/coaches than all aspiring actors and actresses who are hoping to go to LA to hit it big. Of those that do, maybe 1-2 will be the next Al Pacino. Think about that for a few as you think your 5000 Facebook friends and re-tweets of your posts really matter in the world.
What matters is the impact you have on those that truly care about you, the impact you have on your own life.
That’s what matters, the rest will move on to the next big thing as they always do.
I like to think I didn’t hit mid-life yet. Even if I passed my “mid-life” already, you can bet your ass the rest of it will be spent by my own standards and doing the best I can to make my mark on the ones that matter to me.
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