Today, I am going to be interviewed by a local TV station in Austin, Texas, tomorrow a paper in Lake Charles, Louisiana and Sunday a TV station in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I know I will be asked why I am doing this, how did all this start, what was my first step. I have said in the past that I needed to get out of my comfort zone, pursue happiness, do something many may think crazy. As I look back and pinpoint the exact moment when I knew I needed to make a change. For me to take total responsibility for my life. I can tell you, without a doubt, that moment was when I was at a friends house. While I was there, she said she needed to “knock out” 20 minutes on the treadmill. Next to her treadmill was an elliptical machine, so I decided I’d give it a go for a 20 minute workout.
really hadn’t worked out since high school. I dabbled a little bit when I had a few roommates years ago, but nothing serious. The machine was set to the lowest level when I got on, no incline, it was very easy. I knew I could do 20 minutes while she ran next to me. Five minutes in, I started sweating, my heart rate increased, first signs of worry were hitting me. “How could this be so hard”, I thought. She is running quite fast next to me and talking away about something. I wasn’t paying attention since this was a little harder than I realized it was going to be. She looked over at me, “you alright dude?” I was like “yeah… of course”. She continued, “Just checking, your face is a little red”. I was panicking at seven minutes, thinking, “How the hell am I going to do another thirteen minutes.” I got a “you sure you are alright?” I again replied, “I’m good”. I was not trying to panic but the feeling was beginning to overtake me. She looked concerned and a bit amused. Sweat was pouring off of me. I checked to make sure that the level of difficulty didn’t go up automatically and saw it was the same. How could a minute seem so long! I couldn’t think straight. By the eight minute mark I was spent. Thoughts of, “I might be having a heart attack”, went through my brain. I wanted to quit and pass out, but I couldn’t. What would she think of me. She continued to give me concerned glances. She was sweating but seemed like she found her rhythm. By the nine minute mark, I was wondering if my lungs were closing. What was wrong with me! Did I have lung cancer? My mind was racing faster than I was physically, I was having all kinds of thoughts. A ten second span felt like an hour! At ten minutes I was foaming at the mouth. My friend was saying something to me, I had no idea what. My lungs were surrendering, my legs and arms were pleading for me to stop because I was probably going to have a stroke. I gave in at the eleven minute mark. I couldn’t see straight. She ran to get me some water, still talking. I sat down, sweat everywhere, my lungs were panting, my legs were all cramped up, I wanted to die. She stared at me in disbelief. I looked at her and asked her how her run was. I laughed out loud but was dying of embarrassment on the inside. When I finally heard what she was saying to me, as her words began to register, “You are out of shape and I don’t want you dying here.” She started laughing pretty hard but still very concerned. All I could say was, “Ya think!” That was the moment I knew then I needed to take responsibility for my physical well being.
That was the beginning of a five year journey that brought me to where I’m at today! Since that day of realization, I have run a couple of marathons, went on a two week trip to India, paid off most of my debts, gotten off all my medicines including high blood pressure medication. I have started eating right (green smoothies work) and I workout regularly. I have worked on the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of my life. My goal is to obtain my level of happiness. I don’t want life circumstances dictating how I live. I revamped by daily routines in an effort to take steps that have brought me to my current “plan of action”. I’m at a point in my life where I feel happy with most situations. I needed to find the the courage to begin anew without high expectations. I had to give up the portion of my life that depended on a material-momentary status of so-called happiness, and for me, that wasn’t easy. The old profound question was asked numerous times what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never knew. Except when I was a kid, of course, wanting to be a baseball player. I have always loved baseball. One of my dreams was to travel and see different parts of our country. I love meeting new people and listening to their life stories. I enjoy writing. I saw a potential vision with putting the two together. I knew it was now or never to make my dream come true. And for me, the situation was right. The doors of opportunity open and close all the time. This particular door opened for me and knew I had to go for it. I don’t know how all this will play out in the end. I don’t know if circumstances will allow me to finish the trip. However, I am living day to day and enjoying my journey. I suppose living out of my car may not be the most comfortable accommodations, and the constant traveling to a different city almost daily can be wearing. But, this sure beats getting on that elliptical machine for the first time.
People continue to let me know that I have inspired them. The thought of inspiration to others had never occurred to me in my planning of this trip, but their statements of encouragement makes me feel good about what I am doing. I used to worry a lot about how I was perceived. I don’t worry as much any more about perception. This could be because of age; or, the realization that I am not the center focus in other peoples lives. I have always admired people who lived their lives their own way, people who “buck” the societal norms. I have always had those thoughts in me and, now, I’m living mine. I feel more happiness and fulfillment than I have ever had. Therefore, I thank that elliptical machine for the final push I needed to begin a “life of living” the way I have always wanted!
Again, thanks for reading this. I will continue to give you all some of my thoughts and perspectives about life as I go along on this trip. As I drive alone on miles of highway, I have a lot of time to think and have come to the conclusion, this trip has opened a door beyond baseball. In part, it is to include “the why, how, and for what reasons” I chose to do this. People talked about “finding themselves”. I do believe I’m on my own path.