Brian’s first reaction was “My God, look how young we were!”
My reaction went more like “Holy shit, look how fat I was!” I’m not sure what I’m doing in the photo. Maybe I was hungry and mistook Brian’s haircut as a small, edible animal.
That convention happened two years after I made my epic escape from retail hell. In three years as a manager of an electronics store, I gained over eighty pounds. The bad habits had set in by the end of that time, and I gained another twenty or so pounds between that job and John’s photo.
This is me now:
I can afford contacts now and I’ve earned some gray hair, but I’ve cut a lot of that weight. I have more to go, but I feel better and, despite what I think when I look in the mirror, I know I look better.
See, the whole age thing has never bothered me. While it blows me away that many of my favorite albums are older than the students in the school district I work for, I just don’t feel that old. And would the old Mike have the guts to step out onto a karate mat and bust his ass? Would he have been able to do the things I’m doing now?
I’d like to think so, but I couldn’t afford it then, either. I also might have thought I was too old or out of shape, both of which are ridiculous.
No, I look back instead at the things I haven’t done, or different choices I may have made. Instead of lamenting time lost, I just look at it as I still have time to correct those mistakes. None of it is an easy path, but the end results wouldn’t be worthwhile if they were easy to accomplish.
Think about that. What good is a black belt if someone is going to tie one around your waist just for showing up for class? How good is that novel going to be if you just hammer on the keyboard for a while and call it done? If you suck down pizza and ice cream for three meals a day, where does that get you?
The path of least resistance isn’t always the best path, and it’s never too late to change course.