Warning: This is going to be one of those navel-gazing posts that I always claim to dislike writing (and reading for that matter). Still, you guys are gluttons for punishment and I’ll bet you’re still reading.
In less than 3 weeks, I’m going to turn 40. Even though I don’t entirely want it to be, it’s a bit of a big deal, and turning into an even bigger deal the closer we get to it. I remember being 23 or 24 and I was at my first job out of university. I had a co-worker who I looked up to a little as a mentor who turned 30, and I asked him whether it worried or bothered him. He answered that he had a job he loved, a beautiful wife and baby girl, so everything was the way he wanted it in life, while he had friends who were living in their parents’ basements. I thought it was a very healthy attitude to have and resolved to try and confront my 30th with a similar one.
Flash-forward: six weeks before my 30th birthday, I got dumped, laid-off and I found out I had a stage 1 malignant melanoma in my leg. Having a good attitude about employment or relationships was tough, and I had my health – my very life, really, to think about. Still, I got through all that, and now, I have all that, especially the beautiful wife and family.
I guess I’m trying to take stock of where I’m at in a few other ways. A few years ago, there was a beer ad campaign where they welcomed twenty-somethings into the transition from undergraduate hi-jinks to the next phase (with more expensive beer): The Carlsberg Years. Well, even those are probably behind me, but I do find myself looking for little indulgences in the everyday, including better beer of course.
Somehow I’ve accumulated just enough vanity to start using some high-end skin care when I shave, and that in turn, has started getting me to expand skin-care in to almost a whole regimen. Besides their shaving gel, I have a cleanser, a moisturizer, exfoliant, eye-cream, and age/rejuvenating cream under my sink. I don’t have a real regimen for regular use, but I try to take care of my skin beyond protecting it from the sun and cursing pimples (yes, acne at 40 – pimples as stubborn as the man they belong to).
While my favourite thing to wear (and I often do) is still a hoodie and jeans, I have realized that one of the things that can make a person look old is an outdated and/or worn out wardrobe, so I try keep from clinging on to old favourites and bring in new clothes that are youthful in spirit without making me look too much like an arrested adolescent who doesn’t know what’s age-appropriate (there’s a What Not To Wear fan in my house). What’s more is that I have no patience for shopping. Even the one time in the morning I have to pull clothes almost feels like more than I’d like, so repeatedly trying on clothes is practically a punishment for me and when you tie in crowded stores and parking forget it! I’ve had some success with Frank & Oak and Hugh & Crye especially in shirts.
The Frank & Oak stuff fits well, but the Hugh & Crye deserves special mention since they do fits according to body type which is determined through multiple measurements. A fit is some combination of Short/Average/Tall versus Skinny/Slim/Athletic/Broad. I even got one shirt done custom from Blank Label.
It’s not just the outside I find myself paying more attention to; I’ve been taking multi-vitamins (almost) regularly for a while now. I like to make sure I get not only all kinds of vitamins, but Omega-3s, chromium and zinc. After my experience with the Koge Vitamins Energy Pack, I recently ordered their Daily Essentials and I’m working my way through that container.
Still, the best way to try and live forever that I’ve found so far is triathlon. Every time I race, one or more of the following scenarios occurs:
- I’ll start catching up on an athlete and start to feel good that I might over-take a peer or rival, when the body marked age on their calf reveals them to be in their sixties or seventies.
- I’ll see a body in better shape than mine with firmer skin and tauter muscle, and when I want to chalk it up to the benefits of youth, I’ll see that number on the calf again, and find I’m actually dealing with someone my age or older.
Triathletes as a whole in my experience always look younger than they are. I said I was going to delve into more strength training and other more intense fitness activities in the post-season. That is not what I have done. Whether it’s post-race blues, work stress, dealing with a virus while simultaneously worrying about a procedure for the Lightning Kid, my motivation has be been close to nil. On the bright side, I’ve discovered that I can still run, even when I don’t think I really want to exert myself. It was so liberating. On my second of such runs this week, I discovered that I really like the band Japandroids, who I can remember reading about with a review that said something along the lines of “they remember what it’s like to be seventeen.” I swear their songs made me want to scream out loud (in a good way, of course).
I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I fervently hope I’m still doing triathlons (or at least running) until the day I die. May Forty Be Sporty!
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