What’s My Age Again?

My mom came up to visit this weekend, since this is my weekend with the kids. My kids love their mom mom. I have been fortunate that my mom has such a great relationship with my kids. Due to my two younger brothers living in Florida and our mom living in New Jersey, she doesn’t get to have a close relationship with her other grandchildren.

I live the closest in Pennsylvania. My kids have been able to benefit from living so close to their mom mom. I am truly thankful for this.

I’m, also, thankful for her visit today because we all got to get out of my cramped two-bedroom apartment and go to an indoor trampoline park called Get Air. It was her treat.

The last time I went to one of those parks (Sky Zone), I stressed a muscle in my lower back and ended up sit out for the majority of our stay. So, I was apprehensive to engage this time. But my son and daughter wanted me to join in so I said yes.

I have a dodgy lower back. Damaged it in high school lifting weights back in the 90’s, many years of chiropractic adjustments and finally had back surgery in 2016. Jumping on trampolines seemed like a distant, never to do again memory.

I changed up my approach to this issue over the past four to five months and did one of the best things for my lower back: I started to engage the core.

Sitting, standing, bending over and squating down, I engage my core. I put the focus on my stomach muscles and the prolonged lower back pain has become short-lived.

My back still aches at times but not for days or weeks like it used to. It has been amazing. Better than any pain med has ever helped.

So, I said yes to my kids and we jumped. Whenever my back started to feel like I was over doing it, I would sit down to take a break. I didn’t stretch my back when I felt the pain. I learned that would just aggravate my back muscles and make thinks worse.

So, why the title, “What’s My Age Again?” That is a phrase that gets thrown around too readily. Age doesn’t matter as much as fitness.

There was a grandfather there with his granddaughter dunkin’ balls through one of the basketball hoops. He was much older than me and was a damn inspiration. I want to be that grandparent to my grandkids.

Of course, given the ages of my kids, 11 and 7, by the time I’m a grandfather there will be jetpack parks called Screw Gravity. I hope I can keep up as a 70 year old grandparent.

I’m grateful for being able to keep up now.

Age doesn’t matter when I look at my kids’ faces and they are totally excited that I am out there on the trampolines with them.

I have made it an expectation that I will be on the trampoline, on the floor with the LEGOs or creating some art project from the recyclables bin.

There is no age limit for doing those things.

Though, sometimes I just want to sit and do nothing, but today was not one of those times.

Nate

What’s in a number? Moments.

I have concluded that we as human beings love numbers and lists. They are everywhere.

The internet is full of those lists. Click bait lists promising you that if you follow their simple, easy-to-do steps you will reach a personal nirvana. You will be more social, you will have a fine looking body and you will be in a financal situation where your only problem will be which Tiffany’s diamond bracelet to purchase. You know, because all your other bills will have been taken care of.

So when we want to improve ourselves we turn to lists. The best lists are numbered lists.

The 5 best ways to save money. 4 easy steps to a healthy looking body. 10 things you are doing now that keep you from achieving a more relaxed and happier you.

We as humans like lists. Give us a list of things to do, buy, or talk about and you’ve given us a purpose.

What we like more that lists is checking things off the list. There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment when we look at a list with lines drawn through the words on it. That is a good feeling.

Some of us can become obsessed by lists. Obsessed with the feeling of “getting things done.” I put that last part in quotes because are we really getting things done? We feel like we are and that matters a lot if we are to continue that behavior.

Sometimes we can make lists too long and so we never complete them and never feel that sense of accomplishment. We end up feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and dejected with ourselves.

Those thoughts and feelings lead to never getting things done.

A complete, manageable, numbered list is like a promise of accomplishment. It is the key to putting us in a healthier, personal and financial place. Make a list like that and you’ll have people flocking to you.

The possibilities are endless if you have the right list.

The one thing that is not endless is time.

We only have so much time alive on this planet. That may seem a little morbid but it is the truth. We don’t truly know what will happen after we die. All we know is what is happening now in this waking world.

Our time is numbered.

We are limited to the number of hours we watch TV and movies. Or spend reading books, magazines and internet content. Or the number of times we will see friends or family and interact with them.

Thinking that way could get us to enjoy the moments with them and to stop the rush of thoughts in our heads of what we have planned for after those encounters.

My kids snuggled in bed with me the other night. My daughter, 7, wasn’t feeling well so she wanted to be close to me. My son, 11, didn’t want to sleep by himself. They have to share a room when they stay with me. I’m limited to the amount of dollars I get each paycheck to pay for an apartment as a single dad.

I slept between them so my daughter could be close to the edge of the bed in case her “not feeling well” turned into a need to rush to the bathroom.

We laid down, both of them to either side of me. My daughter reached across my chest holding her hand out to her brother who took it to comfort his little sister. A real precious moment. One of a finite that will happen and that I will be witness to.

Then they turned it into a game. They squeezed each others’ hand to some musical beat in their heads while the other would have to guess what the song was. An impossible task that neither one had a chance at guessing correctly. Soon they gave up and parted hands.

That may be the only time that happens, but I was there to witness. To be present in that moment. I had to pull myself out of my own thoughts to be present. I could have ignored the whole thing and kept worrying about work the next day, would I get enough sleep, could I finish my work before I had to leave.

I was leaving work early that next day to go watch my kids sing in their school Holiday show. Another finite event.

Perhaps it was that I was already thinking about finite school show moments that made it possible for me to recognize that moment in bed as a finite experience.

I had been primed to recognize the importance of recognizing those moments.

Practicing that skill of being in the moment when it happens could be the only thing to scratch off one of my lists. Maybe it is the only list I need with only that one item on it.

Be present to recognize the importance of the moment.

Because the moment is all we really have.

Nate

 

There Were Supposed to be Explosions

When I started writing this blog, I was aware that I had started two other blogs that I did not keep up on. They were great idea blogs: one about our family with pics and witty sayings and another about being a dad.

They died. The family blog had a little fight in it towards the end, but the dad blog died quickly without even a whimper. I just wasn’t willing to dedicate the time it took to write and upkeep. So they died as all things will do without attention and nurture.

I put off starting this blog because I didn’t want it to be a failure. I knew I wanted to write my thoughts, post my interests in writing and music and get a big following. I even came up with a cool title after carefully thinking about it. Life Supernova. My life was exploding and imploding and I wanted to write about it. But I wasn’t ready to write about what really mattered. More on that later.

However, I kept putting it off. Years of putting it off. I knew at the time I would not commit to writing for it. Hell, that term there gives a glimpse of my thought process. “Writing for it.” Not writing for myself. Not writing because it is a deep need with in me to write.

I was looking for external reasons to write. Where were my internal reasons?

I don’t know. Maybe I wasn’t looking for them.

Then my life did explode. It was a contained explosion. First the slow implosion of anger and resentment towards my wife for her long hours at work. Which left me pretty much as a single parent with a full-time job.

It was a situation we both placed ourselves in. Our children suffered her absence and our marriage suffered due to the lack of communication in her absence.

You see, I have a bad habit of not admitting when too much is too much. I have a pattern of not speaking up or speaking out. I don’t speak to my needs. So over time: explosion.

This is damaging to any relationship; friend, partner, marriage, work, etc. And I continue to have this issue. So over time: explosion.

Now I am a single parent (explosion). I live in a small two bedroom apartment. My kids have to share a room when they are with me, which is 50% of the time.

This is the reality that I haven’t written about. It is the reality that I need to write about, whether or not it gets read by anybody else.

My life supernovaed and this is my truth. Single. Parent. Afraid.

Nate