I’m tired of starting over…

I adore change.  I like it when things shake up and I think it keeps people sharp when they have to walk that line between consistency and potential chaos.  Hell, we all know that in a moment’s notice the world could be flipped upside down on us and honestly, I don’t mind it.

Let’s take work as an example.  My friends, family and colleagues know that I like a challenge and that I like to move around.  I’m not concerned by the process of seeking out new opportunities or learning a new role within an existing company.  I’ve worked for 7 companies in 16 years and I haven’t been laid off or fired, so where some people get concerned with that much change, I typically find the positive with it and learn as much as I can where ever I am .

As I creep toward my 40th birthday (I still have a year to go, let’s not rush anything), the ability to deal with change has been a blessing and a curse.  It has enabled me to learn from different people, to experience different regions of the country, helped me push the limits of physical fitness and to explore the limits of unhealthy behaviours too (I’m a bit like Oprah in the weight gain, weigh loss category).  In short, my openness to change has served me well, but it has also supported a frustrating and repeated challenge that I want to break up with.

With change comes starting over.  One thing ends and another thing has to begin.  I’ve heard rumours that it takes 28 days of repeated behaviour to form a habit (seems painfully long to a guy who likes so much change), so I’m going to try and form one, starting tonight (told you I loved change and new beginnings).  The habit I’m working on is the habit of healthier living.  I recognize that you’ve all learned about my ability to eat late at night (totally destroying all of the freaking running I do) and how I’ve been looking for a cure for this glutinous plague.  Well, I think I’ve found another potential remedy for my piss poor food habits.

Just as an FYI, here is a window into my typical week.  It’s pretty funny.  Monday is ALWAYS my “start over” day.  The day where I decree to focus on healthy life style, stay away from the beer and late night snacking and begin living on the fruits of the earth (proteins, fruits, vegetables and all whole grains).  If I only lived on Mondays I’d be the healthiest freaking dude on the planet.  Tuesdays are the focus day.  This is the day that my body typically goes through a carbohydrate detoxification and I have those crazy food headaches (but I’m staying healthy).  Wednesday is the day where I start to feel less packed full of gravy and cheese sticks and then it happens; damn you Thursday, damn you!  Thursdays are a day where I start to feel good.   I justify that it’s ok to have a big dinner, throw in desert and then that little voice says… “Hell, you work out, so toss in a snack or two before bed too because you’ve run a couple times during the week and deserve to eat what you want”.  If we wanted to use metaphors, Thursday is my mid-air collision and Friday and Saturday becomes the tail spin and death spiral.  Sunday morning rolls around and I typically look in the mirror and say, “Come on, you really need to focus and get back to that healthy living, don’t you?”  So as a justification for the upcoming healthy living Monday, I tell myself that I’m “starting over” with the healthy focus and it’s ok to give myself one more day of limitless behaviour, which generally means omelettes, Mexican food and we’ll wash breakfast and lunch down with a pizza dinner…because, remember, Monday will be the day we adjust our unhealthy living.  If the previous passage exhausted you, have some sympathy, I live this chaos.

Today I’m going to trick up the world and begin living healthier on a Friday.  Aha, total creativity with that switcher-ooo.  As much as I like change, it’s time to recognize that I’ve been consistently BAD with how I treat my food intake and if I really like change that much, it shouldn’t take that much effort (28 days apparently) to make better choices and focus on taking little steps versus attempting giant leaps. 

I know I’m a bit extreme, but I’d bet that I’m not alone out there.  I have seen too many people live this way (whether their habit is excessive work hours, food intake, alcohol consumption or all of the above).  As I see it, the pressure to make massive behaviour change can become too daunting to deal with and people revert back to the very behaviour they would like to break and they do even more of it.  Yes, I’ve set some lofty goals in life and as I reflect back on the times where I achieved the majority of my goals, were the times I focused on making the little, consistent choices every day.  Yes, I like change, so my first goal of the “simple goals” era; run in the morning.  But seeing that I’m going to run in the morning, I guess I can have some chocolate ice cream before bed…

Finding your rhythm…

I was at a wedding last weekend for a good family friend and I learned a sweet life lesson while enjoying a long weekend with my wife.  We spent 4 days away from the insanity of parenthood, which is always nice and the area of the country we visited (central coastalCalifornia) was unbelievably beautiful.  Coming from a dude who is “naturally insulated” for 65-70 degree weather versus 90 and humid, I really loved this region of the country!

We attended the rehearsal dinner on Friday afternoon, retreated back to the hotel for some cocktails and relaxation and on Saturday morning I completed a 5 mile run along the coast, which beats the hell out of running on a treadmill at 545am on any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (as I typically do).  When I returned from my run everyone was flying around the hotel, so we grabbed a nice breakfast and started shuffling people to the groom’s house, the church and a few other places where people have to go during “wedding day”.

The ceremony went off without a hitch and approximately 100 people migrated to a spectacular resort on the coast.  We had drinks overlooking the ocean, enjoyed a stellar dinner and then the anxiety kicked in.  The DJ starts off slow (you know…a few bad slow songs, ease people in with some “Motown” and then it’s GO TIME).  The lights dim (even lower than before) and out come the Vegas style club songs.  Regardless of who is getting married, I typically watch the women bust to the floor and most of the guys hang back, drink and talk sports or business – pretending that we aren’t freaking out that our wives, girlfriends or dates will be coming over to the table with that look of, don’t you love me? If you really loved me- you would shake your money maker with me.  Someone pass me a pill-the anxiety is steadily increasing.

Anxiety kicks in because I am in a suit, I have the God given talent to break into a sweat while eating, so dancing in front of strangers and spraying sweat all over them isn’t typically a “cool” thing to do and when you dance at a wedding under these circumstances it becomes a painfully stiff shuffle back and forth to prevent the horror of having someone politely suggest that I “mop” my forehead because I resemble a runner at mile 12 of a half marathon.

All that aside- the music continued and I humoured my wife by dancing for a bit (yes, for a big dude, I can shake my stuff and I’ve got some mad skills), so I bounced along for 2 songs and then retreated for the safety of a cocktail and a chair at the dinner table.

As I made it back to the table I heard a small eruption of cheers as an LMFAO song comes on.  I know the song and although it’s “glow stick worthy”, I’ve never given the tune a standing-O, so I looked back at the floor a bit confused as to what was going on and realized the cheers were for the son of the groom who was in the process of going “all in” on the dance floor.  This dude was fired up and he let all hell fly onto the dance floor.  Arms flailing, jumping, and bouncing and then all of a sudden… EVERYONE was going crazy.  His willingness to be “fearless” on the dance floor and the flash mob he incited was infectious enough that I even decided to leave the cocktail behind and spend the next hour and a half jumping around like a complete jack-ass, but having an amazing time while doing it.

The point to this little ramble is simple.  Sometimes, if you are looking to find your rhythm (whether in work, school or on the dance floor at a friend’s wedding) you have to be willing to “let go” a bit and run the risk of looking like a fool, sweating on someone or blowing out a hammy while dancing to a club mix of LMFAO (like I did).  I know too many people who have sat at the metaphorical “dinner table” and regretted not getting out and dancing a bit.

My new found friend and dance machine was able to teach a lesson without even knowing it and I really appreciated it!  Dance like fools my friends, dance like fools (and let’s not kid ourselves-the women love a dude who is willing to dance)!