As an elite athlete, I spent a lot of time grumpy, sore and tired. If you wanted to see me happy then you’d need to join me on a workout. The rest of the time, I was at home feeling oh-so-tired.
I took pride my grumpiness – it was a sign that I was doing what it takes, what others couldn’t do.
Yay me! 😉
I held onto elite athletic performance into my 40s and had success at it. Via coaching and participation, I was able to see under the hood of elite amateur racing and didn’t like that version of my future self. It seemed that I was destined to end up admired, yet grumpy and living a solitary life.
Grumpy and alone is how I saw old people when I was young. Serene and connected seem more attractive but will require a big change of attitude. You see, I trained a mental habit that it was OK for me to be grumpy because I was doing what it takes.
My “what it takes” was athletic performance but we can see the pattern with achievers in all areas – sales performance, work performance, academic performance…
At the end of December, I’ll be closer to 60 than 30 (yrs old). Knowing that too great a focus on performance might cause me to make mistakes, how can I help myself make good choices?
This picture, of Quality vs Time, shows one way to define success:
The goal line shows a high quality of life for as long a possible.
- How do I define quality?
- How might I define quality 10, 20 and 30 years from now?
- What am I willing to change to maintain quality?
In defining quality, a trap that I’ve fallen into is looking backwards to what I remember as high quality. Two problems with that:
- I’m not great at remembering backwards in time – I forget the grumpy!
- I’m optimizing for a younger self that no longer exists – even if I was happy, I can’t handle the protocol anymore!
What’s my definition of living young?
- Lift my kids to my shoulders – Dad’s most functional strength move
- Healthy and appropriate sex drive
- Orthopedic health – being hurt is horrible
- Manage blood pressure, blood sugar and cardiovascular health
- Avoid damaging addictions
- Capacity of share outdoor activities with my wife and kids
- Read, write, teach, learn, explore
Ideally, I’d like to manage all of the above without pharmaceutical assistance. Long before I started sports, I was adverse to drugs and I’ve had a lot of positive reinforcement with that decision. It will be interesting to see how, and if, my current views change. Nearly all my older friends (and fellow citizens) have different views on drug use than I do.
What’s your list?
How are the choices you made today impacting that list?