As we get older…

I (left) had a tough time in the mud, but finished MudFactors’s 3.2 Mile Obstacle course. More importantly, with the help of my buddy and wonderful wife, I remembered what life should be about and had a blast!

As we get older, we lose a sense of what life is all about.  We’re born embracing all of the curiosity and fun that living brings.  But slowly over time, that innocent, untainted enthusiasm is chiseled away, often leaving no more inside of us than bitterness and skepticism.

Remember when you would come home from school or church and go straight outside?  I can still remember my mom yelling at me to change out of my “good clothes!”  Remember how excited you were when the boy down the street knocked on the door and asked if you could come out and play.  When we didn’t immediately weigh the request against all of the other obligations and responsibilities we had?  Remember when all that mattered is that you were outside in the sun and dirt, running around?  Remember when you weren’t worried about the report you had to finish for school the next day or the meeting you had at work on Monday morning or what you were going to make for dinner or the clothes that you still needed to wash, dry, and fold?

True, some of this is a product of just being young, naive perhaps.  And as you get older and have people dependent upon you instead of the other way around, you must naturally change your approach to life.

But a lot of us take it too far.  Most of us forget how much fun life should be, taking instead a much more serious, calculated, “responsible” approach.  Those who know me might argue I’m the poster boy for that way of thinking.  “Addicted to Improvement”, my self created tagline and brand, has often meant I take life–and myself–way, way too seriously. Read more of this post

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100th Post! (Nobody gives a sh*&t!)

This is the 100th post on BobbyBluford.com. (I’ll be back in about an hour; I have to run to the emergency room because I think I just sprained my AC Joint patting myself on the back.) When I committed myself to giving everything I had to this blog a few months ago, my goal was to write a post every day. Luckily my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder lost this battle. But while my initial objective may have been a little ambitious, I’m proud of how far I’ve come, how far we’ve come together. And 100 posts is a big achievement, however you slice it. Because of that, I want this one to be extra special. We’ll see how close I get.

I had a few thoughts on what to discuss today. Heck, I have a lot to choose from since I currently have about 50 drafts that I’m working on. After some careful deliberation, though, I thought the best way to celebrate this milestone was to finally finish a post I started at the very beginning, but couldn’t (or actually just didn’t) quite finish. The delay has been due in part to the less than positive feedback I’ve gotten whenever I mentioned the idea. Everyone to whom I’ve mentioned the blog post has said my view is twisted, that my theory of how the world works is glum, troubled, or cynical. And those were some of the better terms used to describe it. Still, even amidst that, I move forward. Because although I admit it is rather blunt and candid, the lesson I’m about to share is one I believe to be absolutely true, as much a fixed part of life as physics and chemistry. More importantly, and just so you know I’m not really saying I’m absolutely certain I am right (I hate people who are rigid—and usually wrong—in their points of view and opinions), what I really mean to say is that this law is one of the tenets on which much of my life philosophies are based.

Ok, brace yourself. The lesson: Read more of this post

127 Hours LATER

Early this week (or last week, depending on when you are reading this), Julie Manriquez, one of my esteemed guest posters, wrote a fantastic post, called One Hour or 127 Hours: BE in Every Moment.  Julie is a deep thinker, dedicated to daily work toward personal growth and enlightenment, as well as humble (she’s much more talented in so many areas than she’ll ever admit) service to others.  And like is often the case, her message was one that was needed.  Not only by me, but by many others, evidenced by the tremendous response and appreciation she received from other readers.

Her message was pretty simple.  Be in every moment.  Stop making excuses not to fully participate in life. Stop asking for a “hall pass” so you can skip the learning lesson that goes on every day of your life if you’ll just reach out to those who are more than happy to teach.  She went so far as to even dare us to be an active participant in our lives. And if you know me, I never saw a dare I didn’t like. Read more of this post

Downtime, but a little HIIT, too!

I’m beginning to realize the importance of balance in my life and setting aside time for recovery.  I am working on a post that will summarize a book that was recommended by a colleague of mine called The Power of Full Engagement that emphasizes rest and balance along four dimensions- physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental.  The physical part is a no-brainer.  As an athlete (some would say former, but real athletes know ‘once an athlete, always an athlete’), I fully understand and build into my workout program regular rest and recovery periods.  It is not so easy for me, however, to appreciate and apply that same discipline to the other areas of my life.

Which made this last weekend very, very important.  On the surface, three days in the Santa Cruz (CA) Mountains, spent listening to music; playing video games; laughing; drinking; eating; and watching basketball looks like nothing more than childish fun.  Five former teammates with an excuse to act crazy.  Well, aside from the fact that we really didn’t act crazy–the first sign, mind you, that we are getting old–it was actually a good time for us to connect in a way we hadn’t ever before.  As fathers and husbands, and as professionals in careers that have had their ups and downs, we provided for each other a much-needed refuel of energy and drive, of hope and optimism, and of passion and compassion.  With enough quiet time to reflect on things other than sports and women, we were able to give to each other comfort, guidance, and encouragement that only long-time friends can provide.  And I’m thankful to my wife and the wives and significant others of my dear friends for being so supportive of this much-needed MAN-cation. Read more of this post

‘American Idol’ Fitness

This week I made my debut on American Idol. Since I possess very little vocal talent, I suppose I should clarify. My awesome pal, Stephanie, called earlier this week with tickets to the American Idol screening in Hollywood, and although my first instinct was to pass (as I have kids to shuttle, homework to supervise, classes to teach and clients to train), I chose to drop everything and drive those hundred miles up the coast to Hollywood in search of one of my all-time idols—Season 10 judge and Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler.

Four of us 40-something mommies giggled and chatted on the ride up as we played hookie from the minutia of our daily lives. We somehow also managed to create a sign made with bright poster board, colored Sharpies and a funny caricature cut-out of Mr. Tyler’s prominent lips and rockin’ hair. The final product was a work of multi-tasking genius. Colorful and to the point, it read: “Steven Baby…Walk This Way and just Gimme a Kiss!” with a thick arrow pointing down toward the sign holder. We elected our cute blond friend, Maureen, to wield the sign! Needless to say, our plan worked. After waiting outside the studio for hours and making friends with other Idol fans, we were assigned our seats. When the studio usher looked us up and down with her discriminating eye to assess how we’d “read” on camera if it happened to pan over us, she also read our sign. We were clearly not here to see any particular “idol,” we had a higher calling: Steven Tyler! Read more of this post

A Journey to Personal Well Being .. by Hao Liu

I started my journey to personal well being a decade ago when I was desperately out of shape physically and mentally.  In 2000, I was a new grad fresh out of college starting a career as a software engineer at HP in Cupertino, CA.  After years of being inactive and living an unhealthy life style, I had ballooned to nearly 200 lbs.  That was hefty even for my 5’10” frame.  I was not exactly happy with where I was physically and mentally.  After another year of partying and unhealthy living, I randomly, quite literally came in contact with Team In Training and started to train for my first marathon.  My life style didn’t really change right away, but I stuck with the goal of finishing a marathon and worked at it the best I knew how.  Four months after we started our training, I crossed the finish line at the 2002 Los Angeles Marathon.  I had lost a bunch of weight in the process and was feeling that I had arrived.  Read more of this post

21 Days

Last summer, my brother, my sister, and I, with our respective families in tow, converged on my father’s house for a week of rest and relaxation in sunny California. It was a much anticipated—and needed—family reunion. I hadn’t seen my sister, who lives in Indiana, in a couple of years. It had been even longer since I’d seen my brother, who resides in Washington. And we hadn’t all been together since my wedding almost a decade earlier. The week was nothing less than amazing. We ate. We drank. We laughed. Our kids got to spend quality time with their cousins, splashing in the pool and playing video games. And at moments, it felt like our mother, who passed away in 1998, was overseeing the whole event, still the loving matriarch of a closely knit family, bound together by affection, respect, and enough disagreements, arguments, and spats to rival any family.

But as anyone over the age of thirty with brothers or sisters can attest, spending time with your siblings as adults is surreal. At the most odd of moments, images of your childhood almost hijack your consciousness. You remember specific moments as children, both good and bad. You literally see your brothers and sisters—as they were years ago— in the eyes and actions of their children. (“She looks just like you” and “he acts like his daddy” were two of many refrains echoed over and over throughout the week.) And you wonder where all the time went. If you’re not careful, you’ll even find yourself holding back a tear or two. It’s okay— normal and healthy, even— to let those tears flow, but I’ll get to that in a later post. Read more of this post