Cornwall - January 31, 2012 - A conversation I had with a few people after the Spartan Race (www.spartanrace.com) last summer had me thinking about how many times I hear people use their age as an excuse for many things. I will start with my personal example and then it will be time to look in the mirror and not just see yourself but dig deep to see if you fall into the ” I’m too old for…” category. Fact of the matter is, age is just a number but far too often we hide behind it and cheat ourselves out of great experiences and healthier, happier life.
Let me bring you back to my 20's. Aside from my wedding day, the birth of my two beautiful children and establishing my broadcast career and community work there is little for me to be proud and happy for. I was a diet disaster, did little to no exercise and never felt like doing anything but order out, watch TV and chill. I would often be mistaken for someone in his mid-to late 30's when I was in my mid-20's. Fat, out of shape and convinced this was who Dan is. I tried a few fad diets and some running before I hit 30 and did well for a bit but always stopped. The fad diets frustrated me and the running was tough on my knees being that I was 350lbs.
Now into my 30's I had to do something! I tried a six month program which had me eating plenty of protein powder based “food” and little to no exercise. I made it to the end and lost 95lbs. I looked alright but some of that 95lbs was muscle and I was thinner but weak as heck! When I started to train I could barely move any weight and got knocked on my butt more times than I care to remember playing hockey. Problem was I did not learn new eating habits or change my lifestyle, I had just put it on hold for six months. I ended up gaining back 100lbs! Again, I was beginning to accept this is who I was and now in my mid-30's it was time to just deal with it.
Then at 34 when my son Max brought home that stick drawing of his dad with a huge ball for a belly on it, I knew right then, it was time to really kick this into high gear if I wanted to be around for my kids and actually be involved in their lives not just watching from the sidelines.
The point I am making is this. Your age is not an obstacle, it is a number. Back when hunter gatherers roamed the earth they didn’t celebrate birthdays and think they were getting older and their “time” is coming soon. They lived each year trying to get better and be smarter hunters, using the experience and knowledge they gained to be smarter, stronger, faster, better. What the hell happened to us when it’s okay to state your age as a valid reason for not being able to do something? It has ZERO to do with your age but everything with how you chose to live your life. It was the foods you ate, the physical activity you did or did not do, the company you chose to keep, your true level of happiness.
It is never too late to try to right the ship and make a better life for yourself. I have done just that and never mind being healthier… I have NEVER been this happy. I will do and accomplish more between 35 and 50 than I did in my supposed prime of 20 to 35. I stopped the excuses and took charge of my life and well-being.
Take a look in the mirror, do an honest evaluation of yourself for you. It’s easy to find things you can change right away that will have a direct impact and your overall health and happiness. Stop using your age as an excuse; instead draw on that experience to make smart decisions. We are supposed to get better with age. My father used to say to me “you’ll be crippled by the time you’re 50 lifting all that weight”. It is quite the contrary. When I am fifty after a lifetime of weight training I will be stronger than those who choose to “get old and frail”. I will be taking the stairs at the mall, I will go hiking, run a 5k or more, go skiing, play hockey and most importantly be around for my kids wedding, and play with my grandkids.
So when your next birthday comes up the goal is to be stronger, healthier and happier than last year. Use that day to evaluate some of the decisions you made the past year. Let’s get stronger, wiser and happier and healthier not “older” as the years go by. Remember, 23-33-43-53-63-73-83-93 are all numbers. How you choose to live out those numbers starts now. Make the right choices.