I remember once blogging about looking at the reflection in a bus window and seeing the grey hair, the road-mapped face, the wrinkles etched here and there and here again...and I laughed and realized "That's just me." The beauty of that time was that I was actively exerising, eating well, sparking daily, blogging, leading teams, being a good dad, an ok husband, active in church, good at my job....etc etc...yes, there were a lot of downers about me, too, but I was able to emphasize the positives.
So here we are a handful of years later....I walk past a mirror, the same physical characteristics are there, sort of...the face is a little meatier...that's what happens when we add it all back on. There is less hair. That's ok, right? Hardly ever on SP and folk are leading teams that I used to lead or help lead. I guess that's ok, too.
But I look more closely and I see sadness in my eyes...not a one-time thing, but often. Cynicism where there was once hope. Not the man I used to be, sometimes confused, often selfish, trying desperately to rekindle what is left of that "old John"....
A few weeks ago, the Department I work in started a program sponsored by Kaiser called Thrive Across America....all that we do, basically, is log our exercise minutes into an online app. Doesn't matter whether it is cardio, strength-training, yoga, whatever...a minute is a minute no matter what we do. One of my coworkers was excited about this opportunity and i told him to run with it. So, he did. He sent out a note to our division, saying we should put together a team to compete against all the other teams in 2 departments. So we did and I joined. There are ten of us on this team called "The Elite 8". Just means 2 of us aren't so elite.
While I had restarted some of my exercising prior to this, once the competition kicked in, my level of exercise also elevated. I began to run more often, walk more often, went to the gym (ok, just once...still counts!), added ab work, and now strength training reappeared. I also began to lose a little weight, not much, but something. Since I am definitely not able to run as long as I used to, and certainly not without stopping and breathing, (yes, breathing can be beneficial to your health!), I bring my smart phone with me and take pics...of herons, of lakes, of egrets and cranes, of sunrises, and sunsets....of traintracks...and I post many of them on Instagram...yeah! a 52-year old instagrammer! And some people actually like it...it feels good. And it is wonderful to be able to combine running with photography.
As I was getting ready for work this morning, I looked in the mirror...a little thinner perhaps, lots of wrinkles, still a hint or more of sadness, but somewhere in there, somewhere deeper than the exterior John, I saw for the first time in a long time, the John of a few years ago. There is still a lot of mess covering him up, but at least I can see him...at least there is hope. Not sure where this will lead, or when, or how painful the trip will be...but I can now look forward to the journey again, without fear I think....and maybe someday in the not too distant future I will be able to look at my reflection and say "Hello, me" and be absolutely ok with it. That's what I have to look forward to.
(ps, our Thrive Across America team is in first place in our Department, fourth between the departments! YAY!)