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Keep on keepin’on? Nope, not me.

Is this your idea of retirement?

 The easy road.  Man, I wish the easy road was reality…  I really do.  It would make life less complicated – or maybe not. The easy road. What a wonderful concept! Roll on, oh silver lining. I guess there really is a silver lining in every dark dirty cloud we accept as our life. Seeing your life as a dark cloud of misfortunes is strictly a matter of choice.

Taunting yourself that everyone seems to have it easier or better than you is self-flagellation at its worst. Poor pitiful Pearl.

I’m a senior citizen.  Yea, I know.  I don’t feel like one.  I feel like life is really opening up opportunities. Of course, real opportunities don’t come to us by winning the lottery, or Publishers Clearing House winnings. Opportunities come with sweat, blood, and often tears. Real opportunities require that four letter word – work and let’s not forget that other bad word, sacrifice.

That peaceful easy feeling Glenn Frey wrote about is not so peaceful or easy when it comes to getting something worth having.  It’s a struggle brother. It’s suffragette city.  Its sunrise on the wrong side of the city, sky high, and six thousand miles away. Yes, it’s real work and there is no easy living. You want it? You work for it, or wait a lifetime for something that will most likely never happen.

I’m retired. Life should be the life of Riley, right? Wrong. Life is a battlefield sister. Let someone else have that hammock and glass of ice tea. You watch that fellow run a marathon in Houston and think you could never do that. Wrong. You can do it, just not in the time they did it. You have to get your buns off the couch and start moving those gams. Get a plan and stick to it.

Jimmy Buffet has it all wrong for the most part. Lying around on the beach drinking tequila and thumping lime slices into the Gulf all the time is for delusional slackers and drunks. All you will end up with is perpetual sunburn and parrot poop on your clothes. Anything worth having is worth working for, remember? That sandy island retreat is a reward and should be a very short one - not a long term existence.

I read an obituary of a man of 86. His 60-something son wrote it and was extolling the work ethic virtues of his father. In the Obit he said his dad was learning Chinese at the time of his death. The list of disciplines he had subjected himself to over the years was amazing. He never let up. To me he is an example of what I should attempt, not that I have a history of taking it easy or anything. I just think there is more and I want it and am willing to work for it.

Sure I play the lotto now and again, but like my youngest brother told me the other day, “Even if you won the Powerball, you would find a way to go back to work”. What he meant was that I would find another discipline to tackle, not go back into the chemical plants. I took this as a compliment.

Physically, there is nothing I am doing harder than the Group X classes at the gym named after the clock.  Boot Camp Monday, cycling (Spin) Tuesday, Les Mills Body Pump Wednesday, cycling again on Thursday, and finishing up with another Body Pump on Saturday. It is hard exhausting work and like my Tuesday Spin instructor Page Morton said the other day, “If this was easy, the place would be packed.”

Do we who push so hard do it because we like to abuse ourselves? Maybe, but the truth is we want short and long term benefits and results and we can’t get them by watching TV or videos of people playing sports. You can’t become a millionaire by watching poker players on TV either. How many times have we said, “Boy, I sure wish I could…” but we are not willing to go the extra mile to make it happen? I know I am guilty.

That silver lining is unreachable for us simply because we are not motivated enough to go after it.  It hurts to admit that to ourselves, but it’s true. Living below our potential is a lifestyle choice. Complacency is the result of those choices. Accepting these low standards becomes what we are. If you don’t like where you are – change it.

That forest full of trees can be cut down one tree at a time, so telling yourself the problem is too large is simply getting back on the hamster wheel you have allowed yourself to traverse. To be honest, I don’t always write such uplifting motivational stuff as this, but we all have areas in our lives that need to be visited now and again. Remember folks, your life is what you make it, so make it or keep dreaming.


Anonymous said…
Allyce Lankford: Love it!!! Being fit and healthy is exactly why we are all at that gym or on the road running all the time. I'll never look like I'm 20 again but dang it I can be the best 60 something I can be!!!
Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham‎

Excellent column in The Baytown Sun this morning, Bert! You do an awesome job of encouraging people to get up and get better. More power to you. I thank God for your health and that you are able to do all that you do. I think that, even if your health was limited, you would still give it all you could to build up what you have. God bless you and give you strength and energy for your day.
Anonymous said…
JC: Love this!
Anonymous said…
PM: I love this Bert!!! so true!! I needed to read this today thanks!
Patrick Newman said…
Hhhhmmmm, now you have me re-thinking my decision not to obtain my PADI Divemaster rating. One of the biggest hurdles to this, at least for me, is that brutal swim test. Yep, I'm lazy! I might just do this now so that I can say that I did it.

And shortly after getting my divemaster, I think I'll stretch out in a hammock, margarita in hand, and listen to some Jimmy Buffett.

carpe cerevisi
Anonymous said…
CW: YEAH! Right on, Bert Marshall! You can't snap your fingers and "get there." It's an uphill climb that never stops. But there are some great views along the way.
Well said.
Anonymous said…
Another good read. Thanks Bert. You are rubbing off a little. Went to gym twice this week. Aim for more next week :) ...Debi
Anonymous said…
KC: That's good stuff Bert.

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