I think 50’s are much younger than 50 in 1985. I mean, Tom Cruise still does his own stunts in Mission Impossible series. Wilford Brimley at 49 was already in the Old Folks Home.
Wisdom is a funny thing. Even as old as I am, I look to elders and think, "when will I be that wise?"
But do you know what? I think I need to give myself some credit. I see younger folk say, "now that I look back, I realize what my teachers told me. I thinking I’m figuring this out!"
Here’s how I’ve seen things over my years:
In my teens, I was a wrestler. I could do anything. My parents guided my life, but I didn’t think they made much sense. Then I went into the Army right out of high school. I knew all that I needed to know and my body was invincible.
Same for my 20’s. I could eat what I wanted and keep my 6 pack abs. I was doing something every night. It was wallyball, touch football, or whatever we could drum up to do. I was out with friends or on dates until midnight and then working until 5am. I was going to college and pretty much ruled the world. I got married and settled down (for the most part). But I still had a lot to figure out.
In my 30’s, that’s when things started to change the most. Its where I started to figure things out. Garsh was I stupid before then. My metabolism started to slow down. When I met my wife, I could have eaten what my mother-in-law made me for dinner and all their plates combined. I started to realize I couldn’t do that anymore. But my counter was to workout harder. I started intensely powerlifting and long distance trail running. But I refused to change my diet. I bragged about how badly I ate; all justifying it by working out harder. But the battle of the bulge was real. I was slowly losing the war.
In my 40’s, I started to realize things needed to change. I transitioned into ultra marathons with my trail running. I was traveling around the nation running parts of famed ultra race courses. Eventually, running exacerbated my back so badly, I was often bed-ridden for days and barely ambulatory for many weeks. Its when my CrossFit days began shortly after it started a revolution. I realized I could worker smarter and be fitter and not have to spend 15+ hours a week running. I was starting to get fitter. Though I didn’t want to change my diet. CrossFit espoused the Paleo/Zone diets, but I didn’t buy into it. It was when I had a gall bladder attack that I found research that pointed directly to Paleo. In two weeks, I didn’t have pain. I never had my gall bladder taken out and I attribute that to Paleo. However, CrossFit led me to different kinds of pains and injuries. I mean, I was always banged up somewhere. And some of those pains remained for years. I tore a pec muscle badly while working out on my own. That led to my newfound love for bodywork. I started getting deep tissue massage and eventually Ashiatsu. And to heal my body more, I started doing yoga more intently. This led to me becoming a yoga teacher.
So now in my 50’s, I feel like I’m starting to really figure this out. I’m becoming a seasoned yoga teacher. I keep growing in that realm and its been wonderful. My love for bodywork led me to completing training in Thai Yoga Massage. I still call myself a CrossFit’r. I’ve refined what I do to maybe one workout minimum per day of 5-15 minutes. My CrossFit with yoga is a great combo. I will occasionally go for a run or bike. But that is just gravy on my biscuits. I’m still mostly Paleo. If I fall of the Paleo wagon, I start to feel discomfort in my gall bladder. So it keeps me on the straight and narrow. Honestly, I’m starting to reach a peak in my learning. I’ll call it a false peak. Because once I arrive, I know there’s a higher one looming ahead.
In a nutshell, life for all of us is like education:
High School: we start to get smart and almost know everything. And our parents become stupid.
College Undergrad: Now we know everything. Nobody can tell us anything. But our parents are occasionally (usually) right about stuff.
Master’s degree: Now I had to choose something specialized to do. And I realized, that thing is so special, that I’m one of few who know what I know. BUT (big BUT) I realize there is also so much I don’t know and can’t know.
Doctoral degree: I’m a big fat smarty pants. But what I know is so special, I know that I don’t know anything else.
Its very humbling that my Ph.D. actually made me feel Dumb & Dumber. I’m smart enough to know that I know nothing. The only thing that makes me smart anymore is YouTube. With YouTube, I can do whatever I want.
I see friends who turn 30 who are saying what I say right now. "I finally figured this out". So, I’ll say this to them, wait a few years first.
Thirty is the most tumultuous age ever. I’m finding this for everyone, but especially women. I know of several who have had traumatic changes because of abuse that happened earlier in life. Everything seems to well to the surface at that age and reality is right in front of your face. It seems like a lot of friends divorce at that age. What you have at 30 is a tell-tale sign of what’s to come. I mean, in your teens and 20’s, you can remake yourself over and over. But at 30, you are starting to lock things in. Without some major rebirth when you hit your mid-life crisis, you are locked in. People often say they wouldn’t want to be in high school again and suffer all that silliness and pain. But I’m thinking 30 is much more serious. Those high school antics don’t mean much. When you’re 30, everything matters.
The 50’s have been incredible for me so far. I’m doing things that I could do at 20, maybe even better than at 20. I go to yoga or other classes and don’t even see my own age. But as I’m riding this wave, I’m wondering how long it will last.
I’m hoping it lasts for a few more decades at least!