This picture was taken on October 5, 2013. I had just arrived with some friends to run in my very first 5k -which sounded so much more impressive before I realized it was only 3 miles- and I was stoked. A week later I would be lying on a gurney in an emergency room, my pancreas and liver wrecked and my kidneys on the verge of a complete shutdown. I wasn’t in my prime here, but I wasn’t a slouch either. It’s been nearly four years and eighty pounds and I feel terrible. Health issues, an ongoing back and forth with depression, and just generally being lazy have all contributed to a huge weight gain which has gotten way out of control. Today, sitting at my desk I felt my pancreas twinge the way it has from time to time since the first of two near death experiences that my lifestyle led me to in the last few years. I’m sick of this.
It’s embarrassing to me, the way I look, the way I feel, and the fact that I just don’t have the energy to do things like I did before I got this way. While I don’t know that my damaged organs will definitely benefit from a complete physical overhaul, I know that my perception of myself and my quality of life will improve. I also have the added incentive of a wedding that is nine months away and a very real desire to not look like the ginger Peter Griffin when I stand next to my ridiculously hot wife in all the photos. There are other benefits to getting healthy too, not the least of which being improved mood, stamina, and, oh year, maybe not dying at 35 from a heart attack.
It won’t be easy. In fact, given my propensity for being lazy and making excuses, especially when it comes to my physical health and appearance, this will be an up hill battle from the first step until I say “I do.” But unlike the self loathing and severely depressed Dan in this picture who literally self medicated and ignored a medical problem until it became a life threatening emergency (twice!!!) I’m a completely different Dan. The bleak, some might even say pessimistic attitude full of snark and sarcasm remains, but the desire to improve myself and my future is new and powerfully strong.
So why am I posting this here?
In part, narcissism. I want to announce to the world my intention to become a better Dan, even though I’m aware that very few people actually care and the genuflect of peers and fans will do absolutely nothing to improve my physique or health. Like so many people in the Internet Age, I’m just being vain and talking about “my journey” to make myself look more acceptable to societal norms.
I’m also doing this as a sort of reminder. I’ve announced and shared right here on my blog, the platform for all my vainglorious attempts to make myself a common name in the literary world. I’ve got a readership of…you know…tens of people. I can’t let myself look bad by posting this uplifting thing about overcoming bad health and bad decisions only to end up on the ten o’clock news when the fire department has to knock out a wall on the side of my house to extract me from my bedroom.
Seriously, though, I have been given a second chance in my life on so many levels. I lost my home, my first marriage collapsed, I lost a lot of friends and loved ones both emotionally and physically, and I almost abused my body to the point of no return. Now, I have a second chance to be a father to my son, I’m marrying a woman who I am madly in love with, and my career as a writer is finally getting some traction. It’s time for me to make a change in my life and get back to where I need to be.
Wish me luck.