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It was five years ago this week that I started my “diet.”

I try to avoid calling it a diet because I don’t really think that’s what I have done…more like I made an adjustment in my direction.  I turned it around. I had Mr. Sulu put in a new course, and told him to engage. 

Looking back, it doesn’t seem like five years.  I suppose if I was serving five years at the Gray Bar Inn, it would seem much longer…in retrospect, I wish I would have had a better plan.  I’ve kinda been playing it by ear for the last half-decade.  Working it out as I’ve gone along.  Or maybe I wish I would’ve had a better idea of where I’d be now.   It’s hard to wrap my head around and put into words, I guess.

So I have moved into a more intense workout process–I have to admit I feel a bit overworked by this new schedule.  A friend of mine, who is helping me work out, gave me a 10-week program–and it has been a challenge.  I feel like I am training for an event that is never going to happen.  A couple of guys I know, both of whom were on submarines in the Navy, have said they’d spend five months under the waves in some sort of very boring, stressful routine, never knowing the real story of where they were going, what they were doing, or why they were doing it.  No wonder these guys go nuts when they go on leave!  I’m starting to feel the need to pull a Crazy Ivan myself, Hunt for Red October style–do something crazy and turn hard to starboard.  Unleash my inner beast.  Something.

Training without a defined goal is a bit messed up–I put in the work, and then question why I am putting myself though all this pain.  Maybe it’s time to quit my job, fill up my car, drive as far as possible and…start my life over as a bartender.  Live a completely stress-free life, preferably someplace warm, friendly, and fun.  Exist on nothing but tips and barbecue.  Maybe Key West.  Or San Antonio.  Or that beach in Mexico where Andy Dufresne went  when he escaped from Shawshank State Prison.  Yeah, that’s it.  Someone call Morgan Freeman and tell him to meet me in Zihuatanejo. 

So I’ve been thinking about who I am now, compared to who I was five years ago–I like to think I’m the same person, only magnified.  As if I was boiled down like a broth to intensify my flavor.  Paulie to the second power.  I know that I have made more changes and grown more in five years than I ever did in the previous 25 before that.  I know that I am definitely a stronger version of myself.  In the past 1,825 days I have managed to lose almost four hundred pounds, make a career change, make new (read:  real, dependable) friends, remodel my house, and buy a new car.  I’ve started writing, and I’ve started to live up to at least a small portion of my potential.  Mr. Houghton would be proud. 

Mr. Houghton was my Marketing teacher.  I think I had him for Typing, too.  My guess is that he probably had the marketing background and they stuck him with the typing class.  (For reference, typing class was done on a typewriter.  Feel free to take a break from my blog and google the term ‘typewriter’ if I’ve lost you at this point.)  Anyhow, he was my favorite teacher.  To this day, I still remember a random conversation we had after class.  Okay, more like argument.  I was standing at his desk trying to lobby for a better grade on a paper–it was an attempt on my part to snag at least a C on a crucial part of my grade in this particular class.  We ended up having a very honest conversation–he told me I was gifted, and he hoped that someday I would quit looking for the easy path.  Live up to my potential and whatnot.   He said I was one of his smarter students, but that I used my intelligence to just coast through school–his class in particular.  Probably crossing some sort of line at this point, he pointed out a girl in the back of the classroom and said that she was a person that used every bit of her ability–but still struggled.   So if I could just take her attitude, and her and work ethic, and implant it in me with the brains I had been given, there would be no stopping me. 

I wish I would have listened to Mr. Houghton sooner.

Sometimes I look at the last five years–and I’m proud of them and all–but I wonder what I did with the other 40 years I’ve been alive.  Why I wasted them.  Why I didn’t live up to my potential.  Why I let Mr. Houghton be right.  Why I allowed myself to become the man I became–and the size I became.  But then sometimes I look at the last five years and wonder what else I can accomplish.  As I go back and read this entry, I’ve made two prison references.  Am I still living in one?  Where will I be in the next five years?   I’ve taken control of so many facets of my life…but there’s so much more to do…  

Paulie

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One Comment

  1. As a 57 year old woman who has recently lost about 55 pounds but still has 150 to go, your post resonated deeply with me. For so many years, I couldn’t get Sulu to put in a new course and engage and I’m not absolutely sure I have done that now. I look back at all the years wasted peering out of some grotesque fat suit and am dismayed at a life half-lived. A few days ago I read a quote that I’ve been pondering: “Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different.” Hmmm. Maybe we both need to let go of that hope, forgive our selves and move on to make something much better of the time left.


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