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My Life At The Beginning of 44

InigoMontoyaSO, I get older today.  That also means I tend to get a little grumpier for a bit, as I take a look back at the last year (and my life in general), see where I’m at, and where I’ve been.  Just for S&G’s, I thought I’d write this one down on a blog, so I can look back at it again next year, and share with everyone what life’s been like (and where I hope to go with it.

Of course, this is just some of the highlights – the major focuses in my life, not everything.  That would take to long, so let me sum up…

Love Is A Life Sentence.  Relationships Are Not.

loveisaMy second marriage ended while I was 43.  It really didn’t last that long, to be honest.  Oh, I could make jokes about it feeling like an eternity, or something crass like that, but that’s not how it was.  For the most part, it was a good relationship (from my perspective, at least), and it fell apart fairly quickly.

What’s the whole story there?  I’m not saying.  There’s always three sides to every story:  my side, her side, and that part in the middle that makes up the truth.  I don’t need to tell any of those sides – to me, that’s a very personal thing, and I don’t share it often (and, only with people I trust considerably.)  Plus, it’s easy for things like that to get skewed, and to become reasons for one person to attack another.  I don’t need hate and anger in my life, and I do fairly well at avoiding it.  Some people say I should be angry, but whatever – I’ve got better things to do.

And, of course, I wish her all the luck and love in the world – today is her party at The Vagabon to say “goodbye” to everyone, and hopefully get her move to Kansas City completed.  She’s sacrificing a lot by leaving here, but on the other hand she gains a lot, too – it’s gotta be tough.

This also means it’s time to look back at all the other failed relationships, and pick them apart again.  I don’t consider it a bad thing to do that, it gives me some perspective on quite a few of my own issues by looking at the “this worked” and “this didn’t work” bits.  (Technically, none of it has worked, otherwise I’d be married. 🙂 )

One of the “funny” (or not so funny, depending on your perspective) moments from yesterday was a call from my chiropractor, Dr. Holmberg.  He wished me a happy birthday – as he does every year – and asked “How’s married life treating you?”  I left him a bit stunned when I explained that had been dissolved.  There’s always a danger in asking me a simple question like “How’s it going?”  I may just avoid the usual social norm, and tell you the truth 😉

Somewhere in the wool gathering, the phrase “Love is a life sentence” popped in my head (which isn’t unique, apparently – I googled it.)  But, that presents a miss-understanding:  that the relationship is also a life sentence.  For me, love is forever – a notion I’ve mentioned more than once in my blog posts, I’m sure.  However, “in love” and relationships aren’t always forever.  Getting divorced wasn’t something on my list of “to do”s, twice now.  But, if they end up with happier lives because of it, them I’m good with it.

Let’s face it – if they aren’t happy in the relationship, eventually I won’t be either.  While that’s not my focus, it does matter in the equation in the long run:  if they aren’t happy, and I’m not going to happy because of it eventually, why be together?  Life is short.  Yes, we took vows of “till death do we part,” but everyone makes mistakes.  It happens.

And I’ve said it before: I find it a blessing to have loved more than one person in my lifetime.  No, I don’t mean sex – I mean love.  They all are a part of me, permanently – I can’t get rid of them 😉  They are my friends (well, I’m angry at one, and another I haven’t talked to in over a decade.  I still really need to find a way to fix that.)  Just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean I should hate them – in fact, they are some of the people that know me best.  I’ve shared a bond with them like no other, and I still will defend those women to this day.

Of course, that means eventually this is probably gonna happen again.  That whole “love” thing.  I’m fine with that – my world is a better place because of it.  🙂

 

enhanced-buzz-wide-28408-1424014334-23Temporarily Part of a Family

Having lost my home, and not prepared (at all at the time) to take on a new place, Morgan and Michal invited me to join them.  It’s not the first time I’ve been in a house with a kid (they have two, which is a new experience), but I always find it a joy to be around kids.

Morgan & Michal and the kids extended family of sorts. Morgan is Heather (and Jess)’s sister, one of which I dated, and the other I married – I’ll let you sort out the order on your own. She’s actually Heather’s step-sister, so that makes Morgan my Ex-Step-Sister-In-Law. Trust me, parts of my life need diagrams, but that’s OK.

Anyway, they’re already family of sorts, but being part of a household is a bit different.  Instead of a phone call away, you’re a yell away, or a short walk.

Honestly, this ended up being about the best possible situation for me after a divorce.  It’s done more for my mental health than anything ever could of.  I’ll always owe a debt that’s impossible to pay to Morgan and Michal, but also to the kids.

Evin and Kaida are awesome kids.  Evin wanders in to my room / office from time to time, and tells me about whatever game he’s playing, bounces on my ball (while I’m sitting on it, working), climbs on me a bit, finds out what I’m working on, and wanders off – he, of course, has the attention span of a 6 year old since he’s a 6 year old.  Kaida often stops me as I cross the living room and chats with me about the game she’s playing (or something random about Terraria, even if she’s not playing it).   From time to time I play games with them, and every morning we DDR together.  Having them there for DDR actually helps keep me motivated (as does Evin asking me “Is it time to DDR?”)

While I can’t do this with Evin at the moment (he’s a bit young), I can pass one valuable thing on to Kaida: experience.  Kaida has some interest in becoming a game developer, so even though she’s 10, I’ve already set up with her and her parents to start teaching her programming and game development.  We’ll also be recording it – if Kaida like it, we’ll be posting it on YouTube for other kids to learn from her experience along the way.  It’s about the best I can do to repay them – it’s not a lot, but it’s something.

I do contribute, of course.  A small amount of cash, along with doing the dishes (usually after I work out, for some reason), helping with house maintenance, building some awesome display & storage boxes for Morgan’s business, etc.  That’s part of being in a household – contributing.

But, I really do feel like family here.  I’ll miss it a lot when I move on at the end of September.

 

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Health & Wellness

One of my major focuses for 2015 (and age 44) is my health.  I’m overweight, and I don’t like it.  I’m old enough that it starts leading to potential heart problems, along with a whole host of other complications.

Right now, I’m still in extremely good health, based on the last time I got my heart and such tested (about two years ago), but that can’t last forever.  I smoke, I over eat, I weigh too much, and I’m a desk jockey most of the day.

The (almost) last picture taken of me at 43 - during a workout, abs tightened (but gut not sucked in)It’s not the first time I’ve taken this on.  So far, though, it’s probably the most successful, showing me the most results in the shortest period of time.

What am I doing?  Eating well, and A LOT of working out.  About three hours a day, most days.

The morning starts out with a protein shake, then playing DDR with the kids for 30 minutes (the minimum) to an hour, and work up a really good sweat.   Then get a shower and start my day.

Come night time, somewhere between 10 and midnight, I do another workout, for about 2 hours.  I rotate back and forth between upper body and lower body, with abs being an every night thing.  The goal isn’t really muscle gain – I’ll worry about that later – but to burn so much fat out of my body that I end up with six-pack abs and about 12% body fat.

I have no intention of maintaining six-pack abs – I’ll probably have them for a couple of weeks at most 🙂  But the goal is to have stripped all that mid-section fat off, which increases lung capacity, takes stress off the heart, etc.  Basically, only good things can come of this.

After that, I’ll let slip to a more reasonable body weight (12% isn’t actually reasonable.) Of course, what’s reasonable also isn’t a set number – it’s based on a lot of “stuff”.  Some put it at 17% body fat, some studies say it’s… well, you get the idea already.

Anyway, right now I work out a buttload, and instead of having long term goals, I’m shooting for 30 day increments.  I’m also making sure that at any sign of injury or pain (beyond standard muscle pain) I stop – no down days for injuries that way (and no doctors visits to confirm something stupid like I’ve blown out another joint.)   The workouts do mean I’m always in some sort of low-level pain pretty much every day, as either the upper body or the lower body is currently healing.

Is it worth a bit of pain?  Yes, for me.  I get the added bonus of looking better, too.  I went back through my pictures, and found the one closest to being a year ago on my birthday.  In all fairness, it’s not a great comparison – I’m in a kilt, which always seems to make me push my gut out a bit, and in the “now” picture, I’m standing there with my abs tightened (so far in that point of the workout I had done 260 crunches, 260 side crunches, 260 oblique crunches, 260 heel-toes, 1:15 plank, 15 leg lifts, along with the regular upper body workout stuff.  Yes, I’m going hardcore with the ab workout.  Some people complain about crunches messing up your back – if I do them right, I have no problem with that 🙂  Curls cause more back problems for me than crunches do.  And in another 21 days, I’ll post exactly how hardcore I went with the ab stuff.  It’s pretty nasty, and the intensity grows for the entire month.)  Anyway, it’s also a front shot – I still have a gut, it’s just a different sort of gut than the picture from a year before.

Being 44, and having had a gut of some sort for so long, one of the things I’m doing to get back to “flat stomach” range is to keep my abs tightened as I wander around the house, rather than just relaxed.  There’s a theory that one of the problems with returning to a flat stomach after you get older is that the organs get more relaxed in their space with age, and the muscles begin to get used to being in a certain position.  This actually makes a great deal of sense, when you consider how women’s breasts and pectoral muscles (counter to modern popular wisdom, bras actually cause the sagging to be worse, based on some studies released more recently.)  When my abs are tightened (different than sucking in my gut, which looks silly), I actually look reasonably close to having a flat stomach.  Which is what you see in that second picture.

I burn between 2,700 and 3,000 calories a day.  I have hunger issues, I have pain, I have issues with overheating (since I’m working out in an unairconditioned garage), a mild case of jock-itch (hard to avoid when you’re spending that much time covered in sweat), and all sorts of stuff.  Heck, I’ve got to have a bowel movement three times a day.  I can’t eat much serious junk food (chips, etc.) or I feel horrible.  I had been doing a junkfood day on Saturday nights for coffee clatch or gaming, but I can’t stand how bloated I feel the next day.

My goal ended up being a little bit more life encompasing than I planned on, really.  That’s OK though – they are good changes to make.

One of the last big ones happens today.  I had been working myself up to this:  quitting smoking, and moving to vaping full time instead.  I have two good sized batteries for it, and a good tank, so I’m ready to roll.  In fact, I quit smoking off and on quite often. I usually only go back to it when someone stresses me.  But, now I loose that ability – I don’t get to buy a pack of smokes when stressed out.   I’m OK with that, really, as the cigarettes continue to taste nastier and nastier these days.

My Home

So, I lost my place to live, and am living with extended-family for a bit.  But, at the end of September, that’s going to change.  I’m going home.

This is the house I grew up in.  5 acres of land, and a big house, a couple out buildings, a greenhouse (that needs restored), and more.  It’s pretty much ideal for me, being of country boy background, and having enough space to work on cars, build things, and all that good stuff.  And, enough room for a full-bore, I’m not sharing it with something else office.

That last bit will do a lot for my life.  I’m always having to compromise on space – this time, I won’t have to.

I will admit I’m going to be lonely out there.  I never really planned on moving out there by myself, but that’s how life goes sometimes 🙂

 

The Business

It’s always a struggle, but I’m changing some policies to help get things more leveled out.  Plus, I’ve got some upcoming projects that levels things out, too – stuff where the time expenditure balances with the income level.

Not all projects come with an immediate income stream – for instance, one app I’ll be doing won’t make me much money, but because of the exposure level, it could generate a lot of game sales down the road due to a small in-app ad placement.

The main goal still stands, though – back to full time game development, though this time with enough income to support myself, advertising, and my other projects I’ll be doing to the house in the country.

As for finances, I’ve set my goal – and, if I reach them, I’ve promised myself one heck of a bonus at the end. 🙂

The 44th Birthday Party

I knew I really wasn’t going to be up to a real party – a lot of the stuff above comes with some anger, doubt, depression, resentment, and more.  I just didn’t want to be around a whole lot of people this year.  I had contemplated hiding in my bedroom, but the family here?  There will be none of that 😉

A two helpings of pasta, and two pieces of birthday cake have left me to bloated it’s not even funny.

The birthday cake was awesome (a simple little thing, really) with 44 candles on it.  Did you know cake frosting has enough sugar to ignite?  Yep, it does – and add enough candles in a small enough area, and it can happen.  It didn’t get burnt badly, just in a couple of spots 🙂  I may have also gotten close to lighting myself in fire trying to blow them out – and the Professional Little Sister (Morgan) had been extra mean, and part of them were relighting candles 🙂

Overall, it wasn’t a bad day – morning workout, reasonable lunch, more work, then stuffed silly with food.  As it should be 😉

Quick gallery of ’em:

One More Thing…

I thought I’d circle around to the whole love thing – romance, actually, not love specifically.

More than once I had someone say that I “needed to get out, meet some women.”  Seriously, I was going through a divorce, and people thought what I needed was to complicate my life.

Well, I did, sort of.  There was a short period where between when the divorce papers were signed, and the judge had signed off on them where I had a sexual relationship with an attractive gal about my age.  Problem was, nothing else was right about it for me – wrong time, wrong setting, and unfortunately, wrong person.  Nothing wrong with her, just not a match for me in many ways (but, the sex was good).  I’m not one to cheat, and at that point my ex-wife and I had already been separated for a while – and her boyfriend had moved in.  The relationship was over and done with, and I was fine with that.

In a way, it was a good thing, too.  A reminder that someone finds you attractive and valuable is good.

I’ve kept the romantic side of my life completely off of social media, and only a small circle of people know anything about that side of my life at the moment.  And I’ll keep it that way for a while longer.  It’s not even that it’s “nobody’s business”, it’s that I don’t want to have to deal with fallout of relationships and such while I’m still getting my shit together.  I’m still not even sure I’m fully ready for an adult relationship again just yet.

One day, going down the road, I heard “Shut Up And Dance”.  It’s a very 80’s song (and 80’s video) that made me think a little bit about the things I’d enjoy about a relationship, and there’s so many things I’ve enjoyed previously, and what I’d love to experience in the future.

Someday, it would be great to just have someone amazing look at me as the music starts, and say “Shut up and dance with me…”  Heck, I don’t even dance, but I don’t think I’d turn that down 🙂

(Seriously, this thing drips with 80’s pop.)

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