It’s a time for celebration!
Tuesday was the 22nd anniversary of attaining my correct weight and Wednesday was the 62nd anniversary of attaining my first breath.
Now, I realize that – on the grand scale of things – 62 is not that old, and should you be in your seventies, eighties, or nineties (God bless your genetics) please forgive me, but as I’ve pointed out before, this is the oldest I’ve ever been, causing some introspection. Please indulge me.
Understanding that 62 is a milestone in the fact that — if I so choose — I can now legally, officially, get a monthly Social Security check gave me pause to consider other life markers yet to come — and those long gone.
When I turned ten, realizing I was now in double digits, I was convinced I was “mature.”
Thirteen was significant, as I became a man in the eyes of Judaism, having my Bar Mitzvah. I turned 18 the year that we were allowed to vote; 19 put me eligible for the draft; 21 let me drink (legally); at 25, I could rent a car; 30 brought with it a sense of adulthood and 40 locked it in. At 50, the right of passage was the AARP card showing up in the mail.
Growing up listening to the Beetles’ “When I’m 64” makes that year significant. At one point, it seemed worlds away; now it’s knocking on the door. At 65, I believe I get Medicare. Passing 70 and 74 will be significant as those were the ages that my parents passed. My grandfather made it to 86; I fully intend to see that in my rear view mirror also.
Don’t misunderstand; this is in no way a tirade of the woes of aging; I’m not looking at this process at all in a negative sense (okay, maybe a wee bit).
In September 1993, the thing for men was silk long-sleeve shirts hiked to the elbow, and bold, brightly colored ties.
Radio stations played The River of Dreams by Billy Joel, Runaway Train by Soul Asylum, and Reason to Believe by Rod Stewart. True Romance, A Bronx Tale and The Joy Luck Club flickered on movie screens. Television’s offerings included Murphy Brown, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. The Internet – as we know it now – didn’t exist. Email was in its infancy (but I’m sure there was spam). Our president was Bill Clinton with Tom Foley as the Speaker of the House. Finally, news stories included PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shaking hands; and the continued legal fallout from the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco.
The biggest news story in my world was my 39th birthday on September 28 and that my life was careening out of control.
I suffered from severe back and chest pains; my finances were a mess; my marriage was hanging by a thread — and I topped the scales at 250 pounds. Taking self-inventory, I came to the shocking realization that what was in common among all these difficulties was me; I had become my own enemy.
From past experience, I knew that my canary in the coalmine was my eating.
When I got that under control, everything else fell in place. But if you added up all the weight I had lost (and then regained) over the course of my not-quite-forty-years, I’m sure it would have been in the thousands. I had even helped others lose weight. Yet, I always regained it, reverted to old habits over time.
Defeated, overwhelmed, and hopeless – but seeing no alternatives — I opted to try “one last time,” promising myself that by September 28, 1994, I’d be “fit, fun, and fiscally sound.”
It was that despair that led me to action. I went to a meeting; I reached out.
A small step, yes, but still it was movement. When I entered the room, I wanted to fall through a hole in the floor. It took every ounce of will I could muster to prevent from turning and running to the nearest bakery.
Yet I stayed; one more small step.