I think I was last writing about some existential crisis in my life or other. OK, you got me. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything on this page. Here’s the story in a nutshell for those who still follow…
In the past year I quit my job as a vice principal. Yes, it’s the same one I bitched about wanting for years. I did it because I wanted to teach my own kids and because COVID. I started another blog and a YouTube channel. Did that go anywhere? That’s a big fat NO but not for lack of trying. You see, just as things were heating up we had a death in the family. One of my brothers-in-law, a man who will forever be remembered by those who knew him for his extraordinary kindness, died three weeks ago after a long illness. Forgive me for taking some time off. Also, did I mention COVID? I think the last few times I posted on this page I was detailing how I had finally gotten in really good shape after years of struggling with my weight and lack of athleticism. COVID hurts. I think I had it at one point early on but who can say? But what I can say is that about a year ago I stopped doing anything physical and completely let my diet go to hell. I’m blaming COVID Try to stop me.
In a nutshell, I am now a homeschooling dad with a failing YouTube presence and a gut exceeding the size of the state of Montana. But as anyone who knows me can tell you, I do eventually get back up, get back on the proverbial horse, and strive to achieve some semblance of “not-suck” in my life.
A few days ago, following Thanksgiving and my 43rd birthday, I decided it was time to try something new. Or something old, who can really say? Back to writing? Perhaps. A renewed interest in my media presence? Possibly. Trying to shed 20 pounds of excess fat and get a few of my once-visible abs to pop again? BINGO!
Long time readers will remember a character I introduced years ago known simply as “the Trainer”. Trainer is a friend of mine who is the envy of every man half his age. He’s now 40 years-old and still in phenomenal shape. As he touts with the excitement and nervous embarrassment of a five year-old boy, “I have ab veins,” whatever they are (and don’t tell me you haven’t Googled that one.). He’ll hate me for writing this but it’s true and he should shut up and take the compliment. He is a very holy and very humble man who trains his body not for vanity’s sake but because it is a temple of the Holy Ghost. And boy is he good at it. He runs like a demon out of hell. He does all kinds of body weight exercises because he can. He’s inspiring. I am not him and have finally realized in the past few years that I never will be him. But I realized that I am me and with some determination I can be a pretty good me. Two years ago I started taking my fitness and health seriously and by one year ago I had gotten into the absolute best shape of my life. This was in part inspired by the Trainer. After years of hearing his words I finally understood them. He wanted me to forge my own path and discover the secrets of training for myself. I’m happy to say, that thanks to his inspiration, I essentially did just that. It’s never been a competition but if I had to compare I think I may have given him a run for his money (said with a wink). I was in my early 40’s and pretty well defined, conditioned, doing things I’d never dreamed of doing. And then I let it go. But it’s not as if I am an extremely insecure man who’s always doubted whether anyone actually loves me and you can all stop laughing now.
So who did I turn to when I wanted to get back in condition? You guessed it. Last week I reached out to the trainer the day after my birthday and asked him if he could write up a program for me to get back in relatively good condition. I was straight with him. I said I was really concerned mostly about good health and overall conditioning, not necessarily my physique, although I understood that if I followed any decent plan I would achieve that as well. And he showed up at my door the next night with a plan. Unfortunately that plan was heavy on the one thing that he knows I have hated doing since he first tried to train me years ago – running. Aside from the fact that I have to quit smoking, I just hate running. But I committed to it and I keep my commitments.
Last night I worked through Day 1 of his reconditioning plan. I died. This is my essence typing this post. It’s pretty on the other side and I thought that years or bitchy sneakiness about ALL my neighbors would have merited a more fiery afterlife. Tonight I texted him to let him know I was sticking with it, despite my recent death. Do you know that he texted back he was on his way to run it through with me? As in, no joke, he came over and did my workout with me! He is a good man and I appreciate his presence.
Tonight I found that I didn’t cough up a lung. It was still hard as hell but anything worth doing is. I wonder if he gets that part of why I want to do this – especially now that he’s involved – is to impress him. I really want to show him that I admire his dedication so much that I want to do well for his sake – so he can look and say, “I did this to this corpse of a man. I turned him into something resembling me.” That’s not a bad thing. And I hope he sees my admiration and affinity for him for what they are. He is dedicated. He is strong. He is in good condition and that didn’t happen by accident. And I hope to be that too.
In 9 weeks I’m supposed to be able to complete a “Murph Challenge” which is a one mile run followed by 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another mile run. This guy thinks I can do it. Until last night I hadn’t run in four years and haven’t done a single pull up in at least a year. The push ups and squats were fine. It was humiliating to demonstrate these facts to him tonight but I showed him I wouldn’t give up. I’m grateful he thinks I can do it even if he did chastise me for having difficulty with the 1/4 mile sprint. Look I already died last night so it couldn’t possibly happen again, right?
Tomorrow it’s on for three sets of the same. I hope and pray it really does get easier. If not I’ll be completing this Murph from another realm.
Bottom line: I love this guy. He’s always been willing to lend his own time and experience trying to get the unseemly of this world like me to be more seemly. Prayers for increased lung capacity are always appreciated.