A week or so back, a colleague asked if I had a special blog post prepared to commemorate turning 50. Up until that point, I hadn’t thought about it. Milestone birthday though this may be, it is still just another birthday. Don’t get me wrong, making it to the half century mark is certainly worthy of celebration. It’s just that I didn’t have any plans to go screaming it from the rooftops.
I’m reminded of a story I overheard 15 or so years ago. A friend, who was turning 50, was on the receiving end of some wisdom from a mutual friend who was on the verge of retirement. Our more seasoned friend said that hitting 50 was like entering the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The halftime show is over and the second half has begun. He went on to say that if you’re winning, you’ve got to hold on to your lead. If you’re behind, now is the time to put some points on the board.
So here I am. The halftime show is over. Bruno has left the stage, and the third quarter has begun.
I won’t go into great detail and bore you with any Madden-esque analysis on how the McCullough vs. Life scoreboard looks at this point in this epic match up. Let’s just leave it with me saying that I’m blessed to still be in the game, and I’m looking forward to the second half (and the outstanding benefits that come with AARP membership)!
I recall the days of my single digits, when sneakers (which of course are now called athletic shoes) came in two colors – black and white. A couple of exceptions that come to mind – around the Bicentennial mid 70s – I recall the availability of red, white and blue Chucks. I also remember being able to get navy blue Pro Keds at one point during my youth.
(And then there was the 80s and my SU orange and white Nikes – the best my should’ve been spent on books work study money could buy, but that’s a story for another day)
Why I am rambling about 1970’s sneaker colors? Well, I’ll tell you!
Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been running in a couple of 5K races lately (hey, there are worse midlife crises one could have). As a result, it’s become necessary to replace my worn out (I call it broken in, but opinions differ) sneakers..ah I mean running shoes.
When I went down the running shoe aisle of my local shoe purveyor, in search of new sneakers, I saw so many neon and fluorescent colors, I thought I was on the set of the Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go video!
Try as I might, I couldn’t find a pair of sneakers that didn’t have some element of neon or fluorescence. The ones I chose fit my monochromatic sensibilities; I just have to do something about these neon green laces.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I can accept that the days of gray cotton sweats, questionably tight shorts and white Chucks are over. It’s just going to take a few more 5Ks before I fully embrace this new colorful world of athletic footwear.
Sadly, it’s just a matter of time until the neon/fluorescent trend invades the athletic supporter market.
Fifteen years ago on a beach in Negril, my life changed. February 14, 1998, I said “I do” to my best friend. Fifteen years later, the honeymoon continues.
Like any of us, we tend to catch life’s worst from time to time. Job changes, leaky basements, health issues, and more job changes. I’ve certainly had to tiptoe around my share of landmines.
I guess meeting in a church on Mother’s Day (nearly 19 years ago) put some positive, higher power mojo on our relationship right at the start!
It’s too bad that more than a few of my fellow midlifers have marriages that never made it to the double digits. Sadly, some of those who have crossed that threshold are working on exit strategies.
I’m so fortunate that at the fifteen year mark, we’re still going strong. Has it been easy? No, but it’s hasn’t been that difficult either!
Mrs. McCullough is as easy to love today as she was fifteen years ago on that beach in Negril.
Happy Valentine’s Day/Anniversary! I love you!
As my esteemed guest contributor noted in our last post, I was (quite fortunately) working during much of the recent holiday period.
I apologize that I didn’t have an opportunity to share any profound Christmas ramblings. However, I may be redeeming myself with this (albeit a day or two late) New Year’s post.
At the 9 to 5 last week, just before calling it a day on New Year’s Eve, I glanced at the dish of hard candy I keep on my desk. I noticed there was, strangely, candy in just one half of the dish.
Yeah, you know where I’m going with this.
I thought about this on the way home. I got home, started drinking and forgot about it until today (Funny how Merlot will do that to a person!).
It’s the age-old question of whether a glass – or in this case, a dish – is half full or half empty.
If you will allow me to use candy as a metaphor for all the, shall we say, sweet things in our lives, then I can safely argue that half a dish of sweetness is better than no sweetness as all!
Perhaps this is something to think about as we look back in the rearview on the year past and through the windshield to the possibilities awaiting in the one ahead.
If you’re resolving to get more candy in your life – whatever that ‘candy’ is – I hope you don’t lose sight of all the sweetness that’s already in your dish.
Wow, I just gave myself a headache with all that deep thinking!
Happy Belated New Year!
As I said in an earlier post, I have friends and family members who run half and whole marathons, biathlons, triathlons, fly planes, jump out of planes, run with bulls, cross outside the crosswalk and a list of other rugged activities.
That’s why I’m not going to scream too loudly from the rooftops about running a scant 5 kilometers this morning.
I finished the Winship Win the Fight 5K in just a shade over 38 minutes (a time comparable to my treadmill practice times, except I didn’t take into consideration that my basement isn’t as hilly as the streets around Emory University). I didn’t really run this race to beat the clock. My goal was to simply shake off the two years worth of dust from my sneakers (Yes, the cool kids call them running shoes. Only old timers like me still use the word ‘sneakers’ ) and support a facility that’s been very good to me over the past two years.
Certainly I won’t be chasing gold through the streets of Rio in 2016, but I may take another shot at knocking out another 5K in the not so distant future.
Most importantly, I set a goal and achieved it.
Not to get far too deep for a Saturday evening, but completion of these 3.1 miles may serve as the model and inspiration for some other activities in my life that deserve similar focus with an eye toward completion (like those Merengue lessons I’ve been putting off).
I stretched this past weekend. No, not in the downward facing dog sense of the word. It was more of a stretch outside of my comfort zone.
Saturday our school sponsored its first Father-Son Game Day. As I’ve chronicled in these pages, our school PTA already hosts programs for moms and daughters. This event was specifically for the fellas.
We all had a great time and it was a successful event…despite having yours truly as the co-chair!
I’m in my second year on our school PTA board and while I’ve exercised my dubious talents for many of our programs, this is the first time I’ve taken such an active role in the event planning.
Event planning: This is where the stretch comes in.
Event planning is one of those skills I keep way down at the bottom of my bag of tricks. It’s like changing a spare tire. I know how to do it, but I’d still rather call in Triple A to handle it.
Of course for this particular event, I had the pleasure of co-charing along side a skilled, seasoned veteran of more than a few successful programs – which made it much easier. Still, I had to step up and accomplish my share of tasks to ensure the program went off as planned.
It’s good to stretch every now and then – personally and professionally. Fortunately I was able to fall back on an old skill for a useful purpose.
I’m happy that my little stretch didn’t result in a metaphorically speaking pulled hammy.
I’ve had my fill of event planning for the foreseeable future. You certainly won’t be seeing me hanging a shingle and booking weddings and bar mitzvahs any time soon.
I wonder what long, lost talents I’ll unearth next?!?!?
I have friends and family who participate in any variety of road races, on wheels, on foot and in the water. So in the grand scheme of things, my decision to lace up my PF Flyers, don a pair of knee-high sweat socks and my old ACHS Viking T-shirt, toss on a head band and cinch up my snug NBA-in-the-70s style trunks is not an earth shattering big deal.
It’s just that it’s been a few years since I ran (more like a fast shuffle) an organized distance on an organized course for an organized purpose, but next month I will try my hand (and my feet) at the Winship Win the Fight 5K – an event that supports all the good things the folks in the lab coats and scrubs are doing at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.
I’m enjoying the process of getting in 5K shape. The supplements – organically derived from Yak testicles – that I bought on the Internet aren’t causing too much acne or affecting my temper that much. I’ve given up Pall Malls. I’m throwing back just one bottle of Thunderbird per day and eating only two pizzas a week. Of course I kid, we all know you can’t get Pall Malls in Georgia!
This classic 64 model, with all its original factory parts (almost), that I call a body will be ready. Even though I’m far from running up a snow-covered mountain top in the middle of the Soviet Union, with several days of beard growth and a team of KGB officers trying to keep up…what movie was this from? I can’t seem to rock my memory to recall?
Anyway…where was I? Oh yeah, getting in shape.
I’m training just enough to hit my personal goal — which is to finish, standing up, before the sanitation guys come through to reopen the streets for the Monday morning rush hour.
Lofty expectations, I know, but I’m up to the challenge!
The race is October 15, and I don’t plan to wear you down by ranting any more about it. I’ll just let you know how I did when it’s over. In the meantime, does anybody know where I can get a cubic zirconia grill emblazoned with the stars and stripes, so I can give a big Ryan Lochte-like smile during photo-ops at the finish line?