…but I wind up going to Maine instead.
Tomorrow I leave for my yearly trip to Maine to see my family. You’d think that at some point this would become something of a norm for me…that the prospect of seeing Kid Brother, Super Sistah, and their three apple of my eye kids, my nieces (Who I’m not feeling clever enough to give nicknames to just now) would become …ya know…ho hum.
And you would be wrong.
I’m downright giddy about going, as I always am. I cannot wait to get there! And this year, not only is GF going (who i do have to find a new nick name for) but so is her 4 year old daughter. Her daughter is about the same age as my middle niece, so this trip is going to be all about the kids…family…small town 4th of July complete with a parade, hot dogs, swimming, chasing the dog, and allll that other stuff that I am enjoying more and more as I get older.
I guess that would be the other piece of my life that has changed; GF’s daughter. I’ve spent all kinds of time with the little cutie, and it’s definitely had an effect. When you’ve got a 4 year old in the house, the entire energy changes. When she’s here, it’s like you become an uber adult…but with a side of inner child. I’ll give you an example;
She likes to play the “I’m Really Fast” game. This usually starts with the announcement that, “I’m really fast”. She’ll then run right at me, hoping somehow to veer off at the last second and sail right by me in a blaze of 4 year old speed…
This of course, gets me to respond “No you’re not! I’M really fast…” which sends her running in a fit of giggles right at me, which ends with me grabbing her and turning her upside down and both of us laughing…
However, while all of that is going on…I’m also thinking, “Oh GOD please don’t fall in to the coffee table, because it’s actually rather solid and if you crash in to it we’re going to have to go to the emergency room I just know it and you’ll be crying and screaming and I’ll be hyperventilating and thinking that I’m a terrible person who’s never going to be capable of being a good dad which I’ve kind of sort of always known and you will prove to me in one fell swoop of a game of “I’m Really Fast” gone horribly, tragically awry.”
See…child like bliss with grown up panic attacks.
At any rate, this trip will be 10 days of family, ages 1 to 80-something. And I’m going to cram in as many hugs, smiles, sea food, and games of “I’m Really Fast” as possible…cuz I won’t be back until Christmas. Then again, maybe I’ll spend Christmas in London this year!
Who am I kidding…
Hey, where the hell have you been!? I kid…It’s been awhile, I know. No no, I wasn’t incarcerated, in rehab, or abducted by one of my raging psychotic ex’s. There were no aliens, no excursions to South East Asia to hide out, and certainly no lengthy court battles. It was nothing like that. But, it was no less significant.
As I’d been documenting over the last year, things have been….well…pretty all over the place. From “I’m getting married!” to “I think I’m dying” to “What am I supposed to do now?!” to “Screw it let’s do shots”…then the “NGF to GF files” and…hey, what am I telling you this for? You read it, you know.
Somewhere in the last several months, I had this annoying little voice start whispering to me. I couldn’t really understand what it was driving at…couldn’t really make out its point. But it had something say, and it would not be denied. So, I did what I thought was the right thing to do and ignored it completely.
That didn’t work all that well.
Then I found myself thinking about all kinds of things. Totally random things. My not so great recent history. My good times. My bad times. My total disconnect with one side of my family and my overwhelming connection to the other. My GF. My ex’s. Basically…my life. But not in that “one aspect under a microscope” or the overwhelming “all at once without seeing anything” way. I mean, I was thinking about my whole life and how I got here. And what I want. And what I don’t want.
It was then that I heard what my little voice was saying;
“It’s time to move on. There’s more than this. It’s time”.
I don’t think that I wanted to hear it at first. But I started to realize, after a good amount of time spent mulling over all of the aforementioned crap that, by God, it’s true. There abso-friggin’-lutely has to be more than this. I mean, this has been fun, and therapeutic. And cathartic. This life I’ve been living? It’s worked for me for years. But suddenly? It’s not working anymore. I’m tired. I don’t feel fulfilled or fully utilized. And deep inside, I knew it. It’s just that the “deep inside” part of me knew it well in advance of the rest of me.
So what’s an old INPY that wants to learn new tricks to do?
Glad you asked. Here then, are INPY’s 4 Steps to Changing Your Life. Maybe these aren’t for you, and that’s cool. That’s why it’s not called the (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE)’s 4 Steps…they’re MY Steps. And since everyone always has either 3, 5, 7, 10, or 12…I decided to distill mine down to 4.
Here ya’ go.
1) Throw Away Your Crutches -or- Clear Your Head.
I cannot stress enough how important this one is…it’s #1 for a very good reason. For me to change, I had to really change, baby. I knew that I couldn’t really get on with it and turn my life in to the something new if I had the same old lifestyle. I also realized that every drink, smoke, or what have you that I put in to my body had a significant effect on my headspace and how I see the world…and consequently, how I make decisions.
Now, don’t confuse this with me being some sort of alcoholic or addict. I’m not, never have been, never will be. But you don’t have to have a problem with something for something to be a problem…or at least, detrimental. And that’s what I realized. Time to start fresh.
To that end, I haven’t had a cigarette since December. I haven’t had a drink in 2 months. I’ve had pretty much nothing but water/sparkling water/club soda and green tea in that time. The first week was no big deal. The second was nice. Even still though, I felt kinda like…well, how long will this last?
By the time that I got to a month, I started feeling completely, totally different. By 2 months? I couldn’t really fathom why I’d have another drink or smoke. Ever. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever drink or smoke. But try giving it a rest for a bit. Take 30 days and stay clean. Don’t drink. Leave your bong in your Super Secret Bong Hiding Place. Lay off the smokes.
Seriously, give it a whirl. You can always go back.
Oh, but for me? It wasn’t just 2 months of clean livin’ by not having any pollutants in my body. There’s more.
2) Get Thee to a GYM
About the time that I realized that I needed to do #1, I took a good look in the mirror. And I couldn’t really believe what was looking back at me. When the hell did I get so…fat?! I mean, look people, you can lie to yourself all day long, but the mirror? That isn’t going to fib for you. So, I made decision #2 and marched down to my local gym, Willpower. I met Will, the owner. (Get it…”Will Power”?! GENIUS!) And I said to him, “Just tell me what to do, and I’m going to do it.”
Here’s what he told me, and here’s what I do.
1. Hire our trainer, see him twice/week.
2. Commit to getting in here.
3. Change your diet.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
For the last two months, I have been in Willpower for an hour of cardio and exercise 5-6 times/week. I see my trainer, Kenny, at 8:00 PM Mondays and Wednesdays. I am in the gym at least 3 other times/week as well, usually at 5:30 AM.
I eat 5 small meals/day. I don’t eat things like white bread or white rice, let alone burgers or subs. I drink water like a fiend, never touch soda. I have a freezer full of skinless chicken breast and turkey in every form you can fathom. And I consume more fruit than anyone I have ever known.
In those two months, I have seen the following changes;
-I’ve dropped more than a full suit size, my pants don’t fit, and even my shirts look big.
-My energy level? Skyrocketed.
-My mind feels exponentially more focused.
-Effectively, everything is easier.
Not bad, huh?
3) Take Stock of What you Have
Most of us don’t really ever look around and say “wow, I’ve got some great stuff goin’ on”. We usually bemoan the fact that we don’t have something we want. (This is, I believe, the soft underbelly of the American Way.) Unfortunately, and almost by default, this means that we take a whole lot for granted.
Somehow when you’re in your groove, be it good, bad, or indifferent, it’s easy to do this. To overlook, or outright ignore, some very positive things. Or maybe not overlook and ignore, but certainly to undervalue.
Don’t do that. Look around. Be thankful.
I’ve got a GF that I love, friends that I am lucky to have, and family that I am so close to that I smile at the thought of them. I love my job, live in a great city, and am still young enough to have everything else that want with plenty of time to spare.
That ain’t doin’ bad, folks.
4) Take Stock of What you WANT-or- Set Some Goals
I don’t mean the “Soft Underbelly of the American Way” I-want-a-Porsche list. I mean, look at your life and figure out what you want for it. Then, do something about it.
I’ll give you one of the things that made this list for me; I have always been embarrassed by this and have wanted to change it…but somehow never got around to changing in my, how should I say it…in my fun livin’ years. See, I never finished my degree. It just never seemed that important to me when I was fresh out of high school and in the first few years of college, and when I dropped out and got out in to the work force…well, I did pretty well for myself without it. But deep inside me? That bugged me.
Last week I enrolled in a program to get my BBA finished and then roll in to an MBA program. I start in October. It’s going to take a few years…but it’s a goal I’m attacking with everything I have. And these days, that’s more than I’ve had in a long time.
That’s it. Maybe your read that and thought, “Ummm…DUH!”. And if so…well, the hell with you. Write your own list. But really, this is what’s been working for me. It feels like a new chapter, moreso than anything else that has happened to me or that I’ve done. I really do feel as though a page has turned and I’m off on a new phase. And it feels really, really good.
Oh, and don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t drink, or that if you’re not working out or doing anything else here that you’re somehow not getting it. In fact, as any of you who know me will attest; I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone does with their life. If you’re happy? Go on with your bad self.
This is where I’m at, and it’s quite the new chapter. Granted, these guys keep calling me and begging me to go back to the old ways. Apparently it’s sent shock waves through their stock values.
Sorry lads. You’ll just have to find yourself a new spokesman.