What gives you energy?

In the enfamous words of George Costanza, “I’m back, baby!”

If you are still following this blog, to your surprise I imagine, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been on a little hiatus from writing.  Two years, eight months and 12 days, to be exact.  During that stretch of time, I made a subtle attempt to play professional golf (a very subtle attempt), I changed jobs, I started a company with two of my best friends flipping homes, and my family most recently contemplated moving to Kansas City (the deliberations continue).  It’s been quite a stretch of time, and writing has been something I’ve truly missed.

In reflection of the seasons in my life in which I’ve been most healthy, most productive and most satisfied, there were a few activities that truly gave me energy and inspiration.  Writing is one of those activities, working out, hitting golf balls, playing guitar and reading books, including the Bible, being the others.  In the past two-and-a-half years, I’ve strayed from those.  Some of it due to busyness, and at other times due to laziness or fatigue.  I have truly let life happen to me instead of making sure those activities remained a priority.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the middle seat next to my 8-year old daughter on a Southwest flight home from Portland, Oregon.  While the plane made its taxi to the runway, the flight attendant reminded us that in the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, I should secure my oxygen mask first before helping my daughter with hers.  The reason is simple: if I’m unconscious, I won’t be able to take care of my daughter.  The same is true in life.

It’s not much of a surprise that I haven’t been a great spouse or parent during this stretch of time.  I’ve been tired, depressed, overweight, disappointed, and uninspired.  I’ve began to feel the weight of mid-life crisis, and I’ve responded by feeling sorry for myself.  This self-pity has led to making poor choices with my food, my time and my money, and it’s created a person who is not taking care of himself in order to take care of those with whom God has placed in his care.

So, in honor of my 40th birthday Monday (although I’ve been celebrating all month.  Question: at what point is it not okay to share with the restaurant in which you’re dining that this is your birthday celebration?), it’s time for me to make some changes.  Here are four changes I plan to make as I embark on my 41st year around the sun:

  • Health.  This includes making consistently great choices with what I eat, knowing that food is fuel, not a primary source of pleasure.  It also includes being active, spending time in the gym, going on walks, daily calisthenics & stretching, and getting out from in front of the TV.
  • Reading.  I love reading autobiographies and inspirational material, including the Bible, for personal growth and guidance.
  • Writing. Blogs, music, letters, cards.  It seems like every time I put something down on paper, it helps me see things more clearly.
  • Golf. There is no better feeling than a well-struck golf shot.  I’ve always enjoyed the challenge and journey of getting better.
  • Music.  Listening to and playing music is nourishment for the soul, and I love to play the piano, play my guitar and sing.

So if you see me on the streets, ask me how I’m doing implementing these life-giving activities in order to be a better husband, a better father, and a better person to those with whom I share this beautiful world.

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