The most important full moon of my life.

It’s tonight. Here’s why: 336.

That’s the number of full moons I can expect to see if I live to be the average age for an American male. I run, don’t smoke, and I’m happy, so perhaps my lifespan will be extended. But based on the science and betting averages, I’m looking at 336 more.

I didn’t think of this until yesterday, when I did a little math and came to this rather shocking conclusion. I think that ninety percent of my life is convincing myself I’m not concerned with aging, but I am. It feels like these thoughts have stolen into my writing– two years ago, I wrote this line, and it means a lot to me now.

I’ve lived through 576 full moons. That seems like a lot, until I realize it’s gone by in a blink. My son is nine. I’ve been married for ten years. I have old friends, getting older, and new friends who are younger. We speak of things they can’t have seen, but that are real to me. My stories are a Venn diagram of their life and mine, a common ground made real by shared words over coffee and cheeseburgers.

336 more. I’m not sad– I’m not even really counting. But moonlight has a pressure, however soft, and I feel it.

Join my Pie/Cake/Running Challenge!

I love pie and cake and waffles and running, so this seems like a win/win/win/win to me. A bit of background- I got fat over the winter (gained 24 pounds), but I run in the summer, so it’s going to come off. Here’s where things get dicey.

I’m not giving up pie and cake and such. I may limit myself to reasonable portions, but I’m not going to give up the joys of life. I have some specific goals in mind, so let’s get down to some specific numbers.

  1. Current weight is 249. Tragically, my height remains steady (for now) at 6’1″.
  2. I’m going to eat an average of one piece of cake or pie per day. Waffles count as two pieces, because I rarely eat them without syrup.
  3. My running routes are fantastic, but for this specific mission, I’ll run at a nearby park. Here are the specs–

As you can see, it’s a nice, small lap. I had a strange hip injury, took six months off running, and then got a vicious summer cold.

In short, I’m weak.

So, two days ago I started in earnest. I was able to run two laps and walk two, along with eighty pushups. Oh– about the pushups– I’m going to do twenty pushups or burpees for every lap around the track. Today, I ran 2.75 laps and walked 2. I did 100 pushups. The goal here is quite simple. It isn’t so much a weight issue as it is changing my body to be more muscular and less. . . middle aged. I want to run with my shirt off in full Dad Bod mode later this year, but not necessarily with the Dad Bod. Does that make sense?

There’s something about this park that enables good, hard runs.

I think that within three weeks of good work, I’ll be able to see and feel some results. I love running in the heat, and this park has an added bonus– there are MASSES of blackberry bushes around the park. If I run around the exterior of the park, it’s 1.2 miles. By summer’s end, I’ll be running around the park rather than in it. I’ll also have eaten myself silly on all those glorious blackberries.

Now, on to cake.

It turns out, I’m a princess.

It’s true. My bride baked me a prinsesstårta (Swedish Princess Cake) and I LOST MY MIND. It. Is. Magnificent.

There are layers of custard and home made raspberry jam and cream and OH LORD is it good. The outer layer is hand made marzipan and I’m not kidding when I say I’ll run in the sun ’til I drop simply to eat a slice.

You see? Totally worth it.

So, I’m keeping a journal of my running and such, to see just what happens over the summer. Send me a message if you’re running, too. I’m always up for challenges and buddies to join the grind, so to speak.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. The Princess needs cake.*

 

*Me, in case you doubted.

Cheers,

Terry

How To Waste Time

10:12 AM

Bride asks, “Can you pick up fried rice for my lunch? They don’t open until 11. Can you find something to do until then?”

Me: “Have we met?”

What transpires next is as follows:

Gas station. One conversation, fill up, move on. 12 minutes.

Ace Hardware. Furnace filter. Three conversations about, but not limited to:

When to set out my onions.

Welding in cold weather.

Drills. 22 minutes.

Food Lion. Diet Coke (24 pack), Blueberry Nutrigrain Bars. Three conversations:

Books.

Kansas City.

Trucks. 17 minutes.

Arrive at Bento (Japanese Restaurant, lovely people) right on time. Order fried rice (no veggies), double order, and hibachi steak. 9 minutes.

Arrive home, eye my bride curiously as she makes no comment about issue of time. Debate reiterating my ability to waste time anywhere, any way, with anyone. It’s an art.

I’m a problem solver. If there’s extra time, fear not. It’s as good as gone.

I love you.

I am forty-eight, and I have achieved a kind of balance where I can now tell my friends I love them.

It’s liberating and invigorating and a lot of other action verbs (gerunds, I think) and I’ve waited my entire life for the satisfaction of having friends– some who have known me for thirty years or more– to whom I can say, without hesitation, “I love you.”

Yes, we may accompany this with an awkward male hug or no hug at all, but it’s an unexpected benefit of aging that, up until recently, had been wholly unknown to me.

I anticipated the aches and pains, the, ahem, thickening around the midsection. The, ahem, lines of character, hard earned and now worn as an emblem of experience and a life well lived.

What I did not anticipate is what I’ve seen older men doing around me all my life. They are both sweeter– yes, sweeter– and meaner all at once, a contradiction I’d previously only found in childish candy and chocolate milk on the verge of spoilage. It’s a heady sensation to me, since I (among everyone who knows me) am most surprised to see myself here, on the cusp of fifty– happy, rich with friends, and able to put away the concerns of a younger man.

I think it’s the best of both worlds. In my mind, I am twenty-something, an impervious wall of the me I knew from mirrors long ago, but a construct; a thing that existed only at a glance.

I like this aspect of me a great deal more. My son senses it. My bride, too.

I think getting older means that going slower means we are free. Free to say things like I love you without irony or care.

I’m also closer to the senior discount at Denny’s, and yes, I will use it.

I’m a man!