When I was in college, a typical weekend of fun was staying up into the wee hours of the morning and tearing the body down by getting "wasted". I would not remember half the stupid idiotic things I said or did and I almost always felt like crap the next day. I spent money on clothes and make-up and tried to impress people who most likely did not remember anything as much as I did. I ate whatever I wanted and my workouts consisted of occasionally going to the gym and doing the stair master for 20 minutes.
I pretended that partying was my idea of fun. But if I could really be me and have fun, I would be content reading at home with a good book and favorite music. Or I would just paint. Or play outdoors. Hang out at coffee shops and have one of those conversations that you would actually remember afterward and made you feel as if time was suspended. Or listen to live music while I sketched the surrounding crowd.
But that was not cool. Or if it was, I was too intimidated to speak up and tell my friends otherwise.
So I carried on, living this double life, pretending to like what everyone else liked.
Party on, Garth.
But deep down, I was bored with that lifestyle.
Until one day, I looked at a photograph of myself and I did not recognize myself anymore. I had gained weight. My skin was a mess and I was having all kinds of digestion issues...like heartburn every time I ate something. I spent all this money on make up and clothes to somehow transform myself to someone I did not even know.
So you start to explore different ideas, but it is not easy to get started.
Breaking a paradigm that has been your life for the past 30 years is not easy to do.
At the time, I was flying and was eating out quite a bit.
My veggies consisted of the tomato and lettuce on my Wendy's quarter pounder.
Switching to a desk job was one of the smartest moves I ever made because it got me off the road and not eating out as much. It put me on a regular schedule. It enabled me to join Kingwood Fit and make a new circle of friends.
Slowly, one step at a time, and before you know it...you wake up and you are finally on the path you want to be. Man, I wish I knew all this earlier in life. But if you told me back then, I probably wouldn't have believed it anyway.
It all has to happen in due time.
So to look back on the past 5 years, I have come a long way.
My Friday evening now consists of a happy hour swimming at a lake with friends at sunset.
Instead of going to bed after a wild night out, I am getting up at 5am on a Saturday to run 11 miles with my running buddies. And having a coffee shop conversation afterward with my good friend that suspends time.
Getting dressed up for a "Girls Night Out" means getting dolled up to sit around a table at a comfy restaurant, for ONE (or maybe 2) glass(es) of wine, or water with dinner to discuss training plans, race details and funny stories. (You don't want to get wasted because you still have to train the next day and since everyone understands this there is not a single word of pressure otherwise.)
Sundays are now set aside for bike rides through the country roads. I am outdoors and I have never been happier. I am where I am supposed to be.
Money is spent on road trips, race fees or workout clothing.
T-shirts (bonus if they are cute race shirts) and running shorts now make up my favorite wardrobe.
My skin is back to normal. My body is in better shape than it was 10 years ago.
So does this mean I am finally content and have reached ultimate perfection?
Bwah hah ha ha ha ha!! Never.
We are always evolving growing beings. It will never end.
There are still so many things I have to learn and goals I want to reach. Still working on my diet, financial goals and I am curious about the minimalist lifestyle. And I am sure once I figure out those, new goals will take their place.
There is something said about growing older...you definitely grow wiser. And you start to learn where you REALLY want to spend your time.
How you want to build your body up and not down and surround yourself with people who are on that same page as you.
It can truly make all the difference on the quality of your life.
Bottom line...I just don't want this amazing ride to end and I am looking forward to where I get to go next. Does it really get better than this?!?