I'm 42 and am finally starting to look my age. I've always had a boyish face, but now, my skin is looser, I have more wrinkles. My hair is graying and thinning. I'm getting injured doing really basic stuff like home improvement and push-ups. Even though I'm still strong and flexible, I have a double-chin and a dad bod. It doesn't get talked about much in our youth-obsessed culture, but this is normal stuff. It's ok. It's good to talk about. There's sadness, fear and gratitude.
As I watch my appearance and body change, I see that my physical structure is no longer an exact match my self-image as an athlete, a yogi, a ready-for-adventure, sex-crazed young man.
I'm sad. I'm grieving that I look older. I liked my 20's. I liked having very little responsibility, traveling, sleeping around, doing lots of drugs and looking and feeling just fine the next day. I liked my 30's. I liked throwing myself against the sharp rocks of transformation programs. I liked having authentic romantic relationships for the first time in my life. I loved purpose work and creating a purpose-aligned career.
Throughout these two decades, my body did pretty much everything I asked it to do, and without reservation. Without question. No sleep? You got it, Brandon! Digest a pizza and a pint of ice cream? Bring it! Meditate 10-hours a day for 10 days? Sure! Extreme sports? Yes! 3-week fast? Get after it!
Well, let's just say, I don't do this stuff anymore. Part of it is a lack of desire. Part of it is that I'm getting injured more and am more present to my mortality, to mid-life and the fear that I might not realize my fullest potential and impact. Part of it is that I'm married to a powerful woman who inspires me to be my best self and has zero-tolerance for living with a gluttonous frat boy or a spiritual masochist.
I'm also joyful and grateful that I have a life and career that, while not as economically secure as I'd like, it feels aligned and affords me the opportunity to do what I love - help individuals and organizations flourish by activating their purpose. I give keynotes. I create things that have never existed before, like books, the Global Purpose Leaders and the Science of Purpose. I like 42 on the whole. I like looking my age. I like the greys, the crows feet, the baggy eyes. I've earned 'em.
Every now and again I get asked what my self care routine is. So I thought I'd share the basics about how I care for my mind, body and soul. Let's start with soul. A big piece of my self-care is my weekly MKP men's circle on Wednesday evenings and my weekly call with my best friend, Pat, where I process my emotions and where I'm stuck and unaligned. With luck, I'll have a breakthrough. I'm beginning to get more involved with MKP leadership, so there will be more NWTA weekends, leadership accountabilities, trainings and breakthroughs in the future.
I believe in the oxygen mask theory - we've got to care for ourselves before we can truly care for others. I believe the body is sacred. It's an end in and of itself, a sacred earthly creation, and also a vehicle for pleasure and purpose. My self-care routine is the better part of 5 hours every morning (~6-11am). It includes prayer, meditation, reading, writing, exercise, a green smoothie and shower. I listen to my body and ask it what exercise it wants. Sometimes a vigorous vinyasa practice, sometimes a long walk on the beach, sometimes cross-training, sometimes pull-ups, sometimes a gentle yoga practice in my backyard.
By 11am, I feel nourished, whole, centered and am ready to contribute to others until 6pmish. I also will find a break for a burrito, massage, playing guitar or a 15-minute nap. At night, I enjoy two scotches, connect with my wife, eat, cuddle, fall asleep next to her. I get up in the morning feeling rested and without an alarm clock. I look over at my wife, kiss her on the cheek and feel grateful and excited for another day on purpose.
I do splurge on occasion. I'll party hard when friends are in town. I'll knock down a double double at In'n'Out. I'll enjoy a cigar in my back yard.
I like 42. It ain't 22 or 32, but on the whole, it feels good. I get that most 42 year-olds don't have this experience. Most are parents, whose mornings, afternoons and evenings are not their own. We'll see how my experience shifts when a kid and mortgage payment arrive:)