Getting Older, FTL

Posted: July 8, 2010 in Self-Reflection
Tags: , , , ,

There are many moments in my life that have been chiseled into my memory banks.  My 16th birthday, where my mom threw a surprise party for me and brought over my half-sister, aunts and cousins from out of town that I hadn’t seen in years.  My first kiss.  The day that I graduated from college.  My wedding day.  Sunday, June 27, 2010 will forever be another one of those significant days in my life.  It was the first time that I really had to face the fact that I’m actually getting older.

The day began like any other Sunday morning.  I got up bright and early at about 6am to get ready for church.  I had to be there early because I was scheduled to sing with the worship team that morning.  I was especially looking forward to singing because I had recently gotten some tips from a friend who is a trained singer on some exercises to warm up my voice.  “Morning voice” had regularly had its way with me during morning worship and I was tired of my voice sounding like Christian Bale from the Dark Knight.  Although I later found out that I did both of the suggested vocal exercises wrong, my voice still felt pretty good and it was much easier for me to relax and worship when I  wasn’t so conscious of my vocals.  Things went pretty well.

After church, I immediately jumped in my car because I had a Puget Sound Basketball League game with some friends that I was going to be late for.  Our team was called the “Hustlers” and hustle I did to get there as quickly as possible.  Choosing to trust my GPS instead of my directional instincts made me even later for the game than I would have been otherwise.  I finally got there with about 8 minutes left in the game.  I stretched for about 30 seconds and got in the game.  Although we lost, we ended pretty well and I was able to play some decent defense and score a couple buckets.  I stuck around to play a second game because the teams after us didn’t have enough players to play.  My back started to stiffen up a bit.  Then a bit more.  By the end of the game, I had to get a substitute.  I felt like I had been slammed in my lower spine by a cement truck.  I hobbled to the car and limped my way into my house.  I realized that by not warming up and stretching properly, I had strained my lower back.  I was barely able to walk for the next few days and even today, almost 2 weeks later, I am still pretty tender.  It took me about 5 minutes just to put my socks on during those first few days.  Imagine the first 30 seconds or so of this scene from Kill Bill but with the following text being read and you’ll have some idea of what those first few days were like for me.

“Get off the dang couch.  Get off the dang couch.  Get off the dang couch.”  As I lay on my green sofa, trying to will my back out of entropy–“Get off the dang couch.”–I could see the face of the idiot who did this to me.  And the moron responsible.  Captain of–The Hustlers basketball squad.

Said idiot/moron being me of course.  (Side note: I apologize to people who watched the video clip who are grossed out by feet.  Especially considering that Uma Thurman has some very… eclectic-looking toes.)  As more of my friends found out about my back and were asking about it, all the teasing and jokes started rolling in.  For example, a couple friends were asking me about my back on Facebook and a third friend decided to chime in on the conversation:

I don’t mind the teasing too much because I would definitely give any of my friends crap about something like this if the tables were turned.  But it is a pretty weird moment for me.  I’m not even 27 yet and I’m getting back injuries from not warming up.  Back in high school, I would eat McDonald’s dollar menu burgers literally about 3 times a week before playing varsity basketball games and I would be completely unaffected.  Well, there was that one time when I… well I’ll save that story for another post.  The point is that I could eat whatever horribly vile things I wanted and never gain a pound.  Those days are certainly over.

Which gets me thinking about life on a larger scale.  Where am I now?  Am I where I was hoping to be five years ago?  Am I on a trajectory for where I want to be five years from now?

+ I am in a very happy marriage.
+ I have a full-time job and am able to fully support myself and my family.
+ I am actively serving in my faith community.
– Multiple pregnancy losses have caused major emotional and spiritual pain.
– I have no real sense of security with this job. I’m not very good at it, which causes daily frustration.
– I feel called to be a full-time vocational minister but have no idea what that even looks like for me.

As a recovering self-reflection-phobe, getting hurt has given me some much needed time to think a bit about where I’m at and where I’m going.   I find myself hanging out in the “in between.”  Making forward progress, but not having yet arrived anywhere particularly solid.  Which, frankly, kinda sucks.  I have always thought that I was created to do great things but lately my tendency has been to sabotage myself whenever I start to head in the right direction.  As I take on more responsibility, I fear that I will fail and so I procrastinate and take refuge in distraction and entertainment.  “Maybe I’ll just watch one episode of 30 Rock” turns into a 3 hour marathon.  A “quick session” of XBox play ends up taking me an hour past when I intended on going to bed.  The more I think about things the more I realize the truth–I fear getting older.  I fear being an adult.

I love the freedom of not being under my parents’ roof but the added responsibility of adulthood and the ever-present possibility of letting people down can be crippling.  Even more so than a strained back.  It has been challenging for me to be disciplined with taking care of my body with exercise and eating well.  I have been basically donating my money to the YMCA for the past few months.  I know that it is important for me to prioritize my health in order to function properly.  And I’m aware that it is even more important that I prioritize taking care of my spiritual and emotional health for the same reason.

I’m tired of operating out of fear of failure.  Many successes in my life have given me a low “failure threshold” that makes me avoid things that I think I might screw up.  Especially when my screw ups can have wide-reaching consequences.  Lord, remind me to daily be intentional with facing life’s challenges.  Help me to be aware when I am slipping into distraction.  Give me the confidence to know that you are with me and you love me in failure and success.  Thank you for what you’ve brought me through and where you will continue to take me.  I trust you.  Amen.

  1. chenster22 says:

    great post man. i totally relate with the fear of failure and for me even more, the fear of loss. these fears can cause us to inaction and not take risks.

    i feel like the unknown and possibility rate of failing can paralyze me. o who is that miya guy? meanie lol

  2. Abe says:

    I coulda sworn you were dunking over people yesterday?? Back don’t seem so bad to me.

    I def hear ya about hanging out in the “in-between”. Ya know alot of ppl probably feel the exact same way but would rather not admit it. Here’s the thing, it takes a lot of effort and energy to remove yourself from a content point in your life to seek better opportunities for yourself. If it was that easy we’d all be uber successful Doctors, Lawyers, Business Men, etc…

    I believe this is the beauty of life, to be constantly unsatisfied with the “now” because you know you can be/do more. But as we all know vision and ambition are only effective when put into action. It’s like my basketball game, I know I can be an offensive threat but if I don’t have the endurance to supplement that then I’m really not a threat.

    • thenaborhood says:

      Thanks Abe. Back is feeling much, much better now. It’s a work in progress to be ok with being unsettled NOW with the hope and faith that I am working my way towards where I’m supposed to be. You make a good point. I think dissatisfaction that leads to constructive action is much better than complacency.

  3. rkozu says:

    gettin old man. i feel the same way tho each time i do something to my back. can’t be takin life for granted these days….

  4. georgesong says:

    great post, tony… if it’s any consolation, being almost 10 years further along, viv + i still wonder if “we’re where we thought we would be”.
    but lately, we’ve been trying to focus less on the “what ifs” and enjoy more of the “what is”. kinda therapeutic/healing all at the same time…
    see you on the court tuesday (where i hope my body won’t completely fall apart)! 😉

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