Last night my mom called me to wish me a happy 40th birthday. We got to talking about the iron distance event that I'll be doing on September 23rd. I said that I thought that I was in about the best shape now as I have ever been in my life. This morning I was on one of my mid-distance weekday runs thinking about this. There is a lot that I could do at age 20 that I know I can't do now. A good exapmle is rugby. I tried that about 5 years ago and spent the next 3 days laid up in bed. However, one thing that I may not have been able to do is complete a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike or a 26.2 mile run. Youth and stupidity might have seen me through any one of those events individually but I'm not even sure about that. I have now completed all these events individually and am confident that I can string them together in one day. I'll get my chance September 23rd at the RedMan.
It's funny to look at old pictures of yourself and consider all that lies ahead of the person you are looking at. It's also funny to consider how similar or different you are to the younger you. Interestingly there is quite a lot that I have in common now at 40 with the 20 year old me. For example, I have returned to being much more physical. At 20, in Marine Corps parlance, I was a "lean mean fighting machine" now I am a slightly chubby amicable triathlon participant...those are pretty similar...right?
In any case, over the past 20 years I've been pretty busy. I have:
1. Served 5 of my 6 years in the Marine Corps
2. Lived in Southern California
3. Played Rugby for the Marine Corps in the Military National Championships
4. Got out of the Marine Corps and moved back to New Mexico
5. Got married
6. Earned a Bachelor's degree and worked full time in a psych hospital
7. Moved to South Dakota
8. Earned a Master's degree
9. Got divorced
10. Got married again (weird but PG rated story but that's a non-public post)
11. Moved to Texas
12. Earned a Ph.D. and got a "real" job
13. Moved back to New Mexico
14. Earned a second Master's degree
15. Wrote the grants for and developed a residential program for homeless veterans that is now pushing 90 beds
16. Wrote a grant and developed a program that helps unemployed veterans return to work
17. Won 3rd place Clydesdale in the Southwest Challenge Series 2005 (covers New Mexico and West Texas)
18. Got Wife and step-son into Triathlon and Duathlon
19. Won Champion Master's Clydesdale 2006 for the Southwest Challenge Series...and
20. For my 20th year since my 20th b-day, in the month of my birth I WILL complete an iron distance triathlon.
I did other stuff too but I wanted the list to go to 20 so I just picked some highlights and one particularly low point that did at least contain some good lessons.
You know, probably the most important thing that characterizes me at both 20 and 40...I love life! I can hardly wait to live another day. Some has to do with the way I've come to think about life, some has to do with my work and some with my play. I have to give a large part of the credit to my marriage, which is fantastic! I'm not saying there aren't bad times, there are, I'm just saying that in my line of work I get to see A LOT of very messed up lives. Heck, even just being a member of our society I see a lot around me that suggests that while I may not be on top, whatever that might be, I have it damn good.
Oh, and my haircut is virtually identical.