In 2008, I was ready for a change. I hated the way my life was going, I hated most of the things about the job I was placed in. One of the last projects I worked on was managed by a guy who was both incompetent and a douche. As someone I know stated recently, it's hard to work for someone who doesn't know what they're doing and treats you like they do. So when the new year rolled around, I had this premonition that something life changing was going to happen.
And something did happen. I was laid off from my job. It was a blessing in disguise, a step I may not have made on my own if push came to shove. Of course in that moment, the resentment of being laid off was there, the feeling of ingratitude that the company showed you after dicking you around for a while. The best part of it though was getting severance that I wouldn't have gotten if I had just up and left.
In that moment in time though, my life had stopped becoming a progression and more of a journey. There wasn't a "track" I was on anymore, to career development and beyond. I was free of a 20 year long program, free to pursue what I believed was what I was meant to do. But in that freedom came uncertainty and lack of structure, which I struggled with for the next few years.
In my field of work, it's hard to know if you're "doing things right" or if you're "on the right track", but looking back, I think there were definitely things I wish I would have done differently. I have more of a handle now on what I should be doing and how I can be helping things along, as well as setting tangible goals, but back in 2012, I had probably been having the same kind of feeling I had 4 years prior. I was going through bouts of depression, mainly because I had emotionally invested too much in people who took selfishly and never gave back. I also felt like I had wasted my time because I lacked the stability and the structure of "track" life, because I had justified it to myself by saying that it wasn't my fault because the whole of my path wasn't entirely decipherable. I slept a lot. I ate burgers. Lots of shack burgers. 2011 definitely didn't bring out the best in me.
In 2012, I was "fat", weighing in at 183 lbs., and feeling more out of shape than ever. My parents would tell me I needed to lose weight in my face. I don't know what exercises there are for face fat, but I suppose thinning out in general will help. In January 2012, I decided to awaken the high school track guy in me and start running, after being harassed by a friend of mine who usually runs marathons. Although his "yes you can" shtick can be supremely annoying at times, his persistence had its effect on me, as he signed me up for a half marathon to be run a few months later.
There are a few things I realized as I started to run regularly again.
a) At an older age, it is hard to get the energy to keep any sort of consistency. Although I never strayed from the suggested training schedule, it took more mental energy than I remember to keep going, than in my younger days when it was easier to just go everyday and not really think about it.
b) Skipping out on training when you're older is harder to make up, you backtrack faster.
c) A friend of mine said once he found the girl that he wanted to be with, he'd just get jacked for her then, as if it was something you could do pretty quickly pretty easily. While it is "easy" to accomplish in a short period of time, as opposed to other kinds of achievements, there is no doubt in my mind that he would be unable to accomplish it. Maintaining consistency to work out just to not be out of shape is hard enough, to get toned and ripped takes another type of commitment that I now have a new found respect for.
d) Tracking progress is paramount to motivating yourself to continue.
This last part was the most important to me. Every week or so, I would bump up the speed around .1 mph of the same distance, to push myself to run a bit faster. Every half pound lost would confirm that I was building something. That evidence of something changing within me, even though it was physical, was something I needed. I needed to just be moving forward. I could spend all this time thinking and plotting how I was going to change but until I took that first step, literally in this case, nothing was ever going to happen. It was almost as if God telling me that he got me out of prison, and now it was up to me to do something outside of it.
Eerily enough, you get Paul's analogies of running the race a lot better when you start actually "running the race"; it's a continual thing built on long periods of training and can't be just solved by a quick fix.
There were many reasons for me to take up running, losing weight, getting in shape, looking younger for acting, but sparking that idea of just doing things even if you're not sure it's the right thing to do was paramount to change. I needed to get out of a rut of doing nothing, and I think I've started to get going in the right direction. I've lost 20 lbs in that past year, still run pretty regularly, and have finally moved my ass out west to do the things I've been wanting to do. In the coming weeks, I will release what I consider to be one of my life's manifestos, after years of concept design and waiting. I didn't make any resolutions for 2013, but I will say that I will try to live life running.