Time May Change Me…

Yesterday, John Platt posted a photo of Brian Keene and I, taken way back at the 2000 World Horror Convention in Denver. I can’t embed it, but you can see the photo in John’s Flickr photostream.

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:

Shureido Self Portrait

Yeah. Much better.

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?

Now it's official.

Now I'm ready to take on Donatello.

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.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Mark Cummuta says:

    Mike, You’re stealing my lines! My only twist to your entire post is I know what I used to be able to do (eg, USMC, marathons, triathlons, gymnastics, etc) and its killing me how hard and long it’s going to take to get back into even half that good of shape!!

    But then again, we’re both older & wiser …through living life! Experiencing life does have its advantages, too!

    Keep carryin’ on carryin’ on, cuz!

    • Mike says:

      I’ve never been a runner, but I’ve been strong all along. It feels really great to be lifting again.

      Running… well, I’m working on it. Heh.