What will it take to regain the edge?
I’m getting older, I’ve got less time in my day and I know that I’m softer than I was before. I want that edge back. That mental edge that prepared me for so many things and the physical edge that I gained after years of hard work and weight battles.
Let’s face it, I’ve chosen a fairly sedentary profession. It involves sitting on my ass while I create things. It involves sitting on my ass while I brainstorm. It involves sitting on my ass in meetings. That doesn’t even count the commute, which is about two and a half hours of sitting on my ass.
Doubly unfortunately, where I live and where I work put me out of location for going to MMA, except for weekends. That’s extremely painful to me, more than I let on to people. I’ve always been happiest in a class pushing myself to exhaustion while at the same time learning and trying to improve in an art that I’ve come to love as much as any I’ve ever practiced. I drill things at home, I run through things mentally and I look for moments of Zen when I can get back in touch with it. But like Obi-Wan on Tatooine, I’m at the outskirts with no one to drill against.
And we all know where that got Obi-Wan. (Actually, if in return I get the ability to show up as a blue ghost that’s not a bad swap. Except I wouldn’t dispense guidance, I’d spend eternity scaring the bejeebus out of people. This probably is why I wouldn’t be granted the talent, which probably is for the best.)
There’s the added factor of kids. Anyone has to realize that they soften you up. You’re supposed to be teaching them to be outgoing and kind and trusting, while at the same time knowing the world is chock full of people that would steal your kidney as quickly as shake your hand. So I have to go completely against my instincts half the time so Roo and Mouse will interact socially – which slows reaction and perception since you have to drill yourself into behaving a certain way.
The only consolation is that I’m pretty sure to impart some wisdom with Roo now and again, since she’s getting to understand more complex things. I’m her father and the best thing I can do to protect her is to plant what amounts to post-hypnotic suggestion so that she learns her lessons about the world all the better later.
Stacey naturally hates that, but most of the stuff I say now is fairly innocuous. I’ll hold back on the heavy stuff for when she’s much older next year.
(How much of the preceding was stated tongue-in-cheek? How well you know me truly will shape your answer.)
Then there’s time. I leave home at 7 and get home at 6:30 on a good day. There’s nothing to tear me away from the kids before they’re both in bed, and so I’m left with a practical 2 hours of usable time to do anything else I need to do. (And on days when LOST is on, that number is zero. Especially now that it’s the last season.) Naturally I want to talk with Stacey, stay in contact with friends and do professional development stuff too.
And that edge gets duller.
It leaves me without a choice but to join a gym, a financial choice I’ve been trying to avoid for some time. I don’t want to do it really, but I see no other choice.
At least I’ll be able to get there late at night and drill certain things and at the same time tone back up a bit from the flabby mess I’m in danger of becoming once more. Running around the neighborhoods where I am is an OK option, but it doesn’t do much except keep me in good cardio and keep my insanely attractive legs in fighting trim. However, since the marathon all the way back in 2005 I’ve had to leave myself a bit limited on the non-treadmill runs or the only way I can sleep is with Advil. (Treadmills are a blessed cushion for those of us with bad knees.)
In the end, though, all I’m doing is adding to the mess, but it’s the only shot I’ve got because I refuse to get soft again. I’ve been soft. It sucks. It’s not an option.
I know that there are many people in this world with bigger problems than this, and I’m not acting like I’m in a world of woe. It’s just that I’ve got to look more closely at things and see what I can cut. What needs to be jettisoned? I don’t know yet, but something has to give.