Literally… a RUDE awakening. I guess maybe I deserved it. But I definitely wasn’t ready for it. Are we ever? I’m coming off a rough week, a rough few months, a rough three years. Multiple cross-country moves. A few job changes. A number of losses of family members, friends, and pets. And this month? Last week came to a screeching halt at 9:05 PM on Friday, after a week full of new business propasals, industry award entries, business travel, current client program executions, all kicking some serious 46-year old ass. But I can take it. Par for the course. Part of the job. You take it in stride, keep your head down, and focus on getting through.
With that in mind, picture me walking to my local market to do some grocery shopping, and happily running into a friend with whom I used to play volleyball regularly — four years ago. “Hey (name witheld)! How are you!” “Alan? Wow, hi! How are you? I thought you were in Minnesota?” And the conversation continued with average normalcy until our parting, when he gave me that slow once-over (head to toe, as only a NY gay can do), and simply said: “I didn’t even recognize you. Take care.” And off he went.
Me? I stood there in the rain giving myself the once-over, and noticed the MN all-weather boots, the jeans from target (yes, 34 x 34, because I’m a little more rotund than I used to be), a Winter ’08 puffy coat, and a Nike ball cap that I know should never be worn in public, but what the hell, right? And then I remembered my face from the mirror this morning — the dark circles under my eyes, the jawline that seems just a little puffy right now (not to mention the cheeks), the less then vibrant skin tone. The wear and tear of the last four years and, specifically, the last six months. And I remembered that the last time this guy had seen me was on the beach in Fire Island playing some serious beach volleyball in an all-day tournie in which my team placed second. I was ripped, lean, vibrant, and, most importantly, healthy. And THAT was the rude awakening.
As I walked to the market, I forgave “player x” — he was always known for being less-than-tactful, anyway — but I realized that I need to get back in the game. And fast.