You ever heard of a “humble brag”? My friend Sutton introduced me to the concept. The idea is that you say something that sounds self-depreciating, but it actually contains a brag. Michael Scott in The Office was a classic humble-bragger. Remember when he bought himself a coffee mug that said “World’s Best Boss”?
There’s an entire Twitter feed dedicated to reposting humble brags. Some are funny, most are cringe-worthy. Go ahead and check it out. I’ll wait.
Social media is thick with humble bragging. People want to share their achievements, but they don’t want to seem like they’re bragging. It’s hard to talk about your achievements without alienating people. So, folks add a little self-depreciation to make the pill go down a little easier.
Indeed, most of social media is curated content – the story of who one would like to be. And maybe that’s okay. Stevil over at All Hail The Black Market recently did an introspective post on the issue that got a lot of interesting comments. But that’s another subject.
The point is, after I wrote this post, I re-read it, and I hope it doesn’t come off like a humble brag. But I’m posting it anyway. I hope you’ll forgive me.
At dinner with friends the other night, my friend Beth teased me about my frequent bike trips and my constant exercise. Seems like I’m always outdoors or in the gym nowadays.
|Crisis or opportunity?|
At the time, I just laughed and the conversation moved on to other topics. But I took her comment home with me, a little worm in my brain that kept burrowing into my consciousness for the next couple weeks. I began to wonder whether she was right.
To me, a midlife crisis usually manifests itself in hair plugs and a corvette, right? Or a “trade in” wife.
|Do I look hot in this car?|
A midlife crisis is an attempt to grasp desperately to an idealized version of youth. And it’s a tacit rejection of one’s current phase of life. I believe that the crisis is rooted in fear of mortality or the realization that your “best” years are behind you.
I won’t deny, I was a pretty sexy beast when I was younger.
And true, I had let myself go. At one point, a decade ago, I weighed 287 and I was headed for diabetes and heart meds. A flight of stairs was exercise for me.
I have made radical changes since, incrementally. I lost a lot of weight. Started cycling and running. Rekindled my love for the outdoors.
Recently, I have ramped it up. Right now, I am at my lowest adult weight (194). I’m running and cycling faster. Although I still get passed by children and the elderly when I’m swimming laps in the pool.
Don’t get me wrong – I have no illusions of athletic greatness. I realize my own limits. I will never play in the NBA, or even podium in a local 5k fun run. That’s not what it’s about.
|Last October – I did catch a few podiums last year in the local MTB series.
Hope I can get a few this year too as I move up to a more competitive class.
Maybe it’s silly to take this all so seriously. After all, I am just a middle-aged man, riding my bike around local parks with other middle aged men. I probably spend too much money on exotic bikes and gear. I probably log too many hours outdoors, while my bathroom needs to be painted, and my backyard is overgrown with weeds. I pay good money to drive somewhere, sweat all over myself, and then post a middling result.
This may be folly. But is it a crisis? I’m healthier and stronger than I have ever been. And I’ve found a community of healthy, positive people to spend time with.
My best years aren’t behind me. They’re here, now. I could kick my 20-year old self’s ass. And those races and travel, they keep me motivated. I train more and eat better when there’s an event coming up on my calendar.
So, I wouldn’t call this a crisis. I consider it a middle-age renaissance. What do you think?
Be brave, in the now.