Every Sunday for the past decade, my family and I have gone over to my parent’s house for supper. We’ve missed the odd week here or there for vacations or kid’s activities, but we’re pretty consistent.
It’s a great way to see everyone, relax, and catch up on what went on in our lives the past week. As enjoyable as it is, though, I try to make sure we are out the door as close to 7 pm as possible.
You see, my kids are werewolves.
At the stroke of 7 each night, they begin to change from daytime kids (humans) to bedtime kids (savage wolves). I’m sure most parents can relate.
If we can have the kids in bed – pajamas on, teeth brushed, stories read – by 8:00, the wolves can be contained.
If not… we’re in trouble.
Not unlike the savage transformation from human to wolf, there’s a lot of howling involved.
A couple of weeks back, I was hustling everyone out the door as bedtime neared. We said our good-byes, hugged and kissed Grandma and Grandpa, and rushed into the van.
The countdown was on.
I gave the kids their pep talk, “Ok, as soon as we get home – wash your hands, brush your teeth, pajamas on…” and hoped for the best.
About halfway home (it’s only a five-minute drive, so I really need to get the pep talk out in a hurry), that Lost Boy song came on the radio. You know, the one about Peter Pan, playing in the woods, and being free.
And I started thinking…
Here’s the thing – On paper, I am a married man with a beautiful wife and four great kids (so long as it’s not past bedtime). I am a business owner who needs to make payroll and file taxes. My hair is turning grey and I need glasses to see straight.
And I cook, clean, drive, pay bills, volunteer in my community, and generally do a lot of “adult things”.
In my head, though, I’m none of this. In my head, I’m just a twelve-year-old boy who wants to run around, play in the woods, and never grow up.
In my head, I’m Peter Pan.
As I sat there giving orders in the van that evening, I couldn’t help but notice this dichotomy between the person I am and the person I think I am. Or, rather, the person I am and the person I want to be.
Peter Pan wouldn’t give pre-bedtime pep talks.
Don’t get me wrong. I take my adult responsibilities very seriously. I need to provide for my family and I need to be my kids’ father, not their best buddy. But at the same time, I don’t see any harm in having a little Peter Pan in me.
Let me rephrase that… I don’t see any harm in having a part of me that “never grows up”. That’s better.
Thankfully, I have fitness to keep me young. By lifting weights, swinging kettlebells, dragging tires, and sprinting up hills, I’ve been able to keep from “growing up”. I realized this during our short van ride home.
And then it really hit me – What I do for a living is actually pretty damn important!
Conviction Fitness isn’t about looking good in a swimsuit, being a great powerlifter, or setting a land speed record. I mean, we win a lot of races, and I regularly have pretty solid showings in the Tactical Strength Challenge, but that’s not the point.
Our goal is to get the most out of our lives. Our goal is to be able to go out on adventures. Our goal is to be strong, fast, mobile, and fit enough to LIVE.
Our goal, in a way, is to never grow up.
I couldn’t imagine how “old and grumpy” I would be if I wasn’t able to let my inner 12-year-old run-around and have fun. I’m so grateful that I get to unleash that version of myself – and help others do so, too, every day.
When you’re truly fit, i.e. strong, fast, and mobile, you can do pretty much anything. You have the opportunity to unleash your inner child and be physically free.
While you’ll still have bills to pay and adult responsibilities, you don’t really have to “grow up”.
And that’s why I’m changing the name of our gym to Neverland!
Ok, not really. But can you see what I’m saying?
The gym – when used appropriately – is the fountain of youth!
I’ve coached 40-year-olds who can run circles around 22-year-olds. And I’ve met 40-year-olds who struggle to bend down and tie their shoes. They’re the same age, but the fit, energetic 40-year-olds are the ones who live in Neverland – at least for an hour or so each day.
The fit residents of Neverland run, lift, and stretch. They eat vegetables and drink water. And, heck, they look and feel great because of it!
Being able to run, hike, swim, bike, and play with your kids at the drop of a hat is freeing. Taking the dog for a long walk without worrying about stiffness, pain, or loss of breath is the way it should be!
If you can’t do these things, I’m afraid you’re missing out. You may be alive, but you aren’t truly living.
Sure, if you’re 90-years-old, I’ll give you a break. But otherwise, we should all be running around and having fun.
And before you start listing all of the reasons why you’re the exception to the rule, I beg of you – try to find just one reason as to why you can, and should, take your health and fitness seriously.
Find a reason to feel young again. I’m telling you, it’s worth it.
Find a reason to let that inner child free.
Find a reason to seek Neverland!