Can’t remember if it was 18 or 24 months ago that dad and I spoke about wrestling with my son.
“You are not going to win forever. He is just coming into his strength and will get stronger naturally while you’re going to have to work harder just to keep what you have got.”
I nodded my head and said he is different than I am.
“It is not a bad thing, but he likes to run and I never did. He doesn’t like to lift the way I did. He trains differently and that might be my saving grace because he doesn’t know how little effort would be required to bulk up.”
Dad laughed and told me not to hurt myself because it takes longer to heal.
He was right and in the waning hours of his 76th birthday I am playing around with whether to pop some Ibuprofen or drink some Scotch.
I pushed myself hard the other day, lifted like I haven’t been able to in a long time and am celebrating the joy of my success today and probably tomorrow.
It was/is worth it.
There’s no prize or reward for doing it, just personal satisfaction.
Did I mention I want to go to Iceland?
A while back the younger Mr. Wilner and I got into it in a way that reminded me of disagreements with dad.
It was different and not just because I am father and not son, but because with as many similarities as we share we are different people.
Today I got to look at him and say “I told you so” but it wasn’t because I was trying to denigrate, demean or diminish him as a person.
It was because I got to do the father’s barbaric yawp and say I was and still am proud of him. Today I looked at him and said to remember who he is, where he comes from and where he is.
“Stay tough. Focus and remember. Feel this and internalize it. Small victories lead to big ones.”
I don’t know if he bought all I was selling. Don’t know if he listened and heard experience speaking because that is what I shared.
He isn’t afraid to do his own thing and go his own way but I don’t know if he really hears me when I say we all have our own path and highlight how different mine has been from my father and what I expected it to be.
It is not easy to do it and not easy to find joy in the journey, but you have to fight through the brush and brambles.
You have to be able to tell fear to fuck off for five minutes so that you can take a chance and then you have to roll with the outcome.
Some years ago when the little mister was truly little and we were hanging out with dad I turned on The World’s Strongest Man contest and the three of us watched men who are half a foot taller and 150 pounds heavier engage in feats of strength.
I remember arguing with dad about whether I could be competitive with any of the men and pointed out one of the Icelanders.
“Dad, he is only four inches taller. Maybe I’ll go train with him. I want to go to Iceland anyway. You can come with me, it will be fun.”
Dad shook his head at me and asked if I understood physics.
“I’ll wait for you to make the right decision…maybe.”
I smiled. and he shook his head again.
“Look I understand that some of those men have an advantage because of their size, but I don’t see it as a strength issue. It is a technique thing. I bet I can get to a point where I can bench 500 pounds. I am in between things now, might as well take my career in a new direction.”
The younger mister Wilner argued with his grandfather on my behalf and I watched dad try to gently disagree with him.
He was more than happy to tell me when he thought I was being ridiculous, but the grandchildren barely saw evidence of that guy.
It is funny, because even at almost middle age I still think I can get back to those ridiculously heavy weights, but the difference is now I wonder why.
Wonder why put myself through some of that, but I still want to go Iceland. Don’t care if I train or not, I just want to go because it interests me. Looks beautiful.
Fire Walk With Me
They tell me if I eliminate carbs and count calories it will kickstart things and the pants that are loose will be much looser.
I go back and forth about it, asking myself how much I really want some things and whether it matters.
Been battling dragons and giants and I am not who I once was.
The mirror shows a mixed tale and the photographs aren’t particularly fun sometimes, but the list of accomplishments is better than I think.
There is more progress and more evidence that things are moving in a proper direction than not.
I share the story with the young mister and invite him to fire walk with me.
“See if you can keep up.”
He laughs and tells me we both know I can’t go as long or as hard on the machine as he can.
“Maybe, but you can’t do what I can on the weights. You can’t do what I could at your age.
“I don’t care about that. We’re different.”
“You’re damn right and that is ok. Remember this feeling and apply it to everyone. Don’t ever fall into the trap of comparing yourself.”
“You walked me into that one, didn’t you.”
I laugh and tell him he is smarter than I am, but the old veterans have a few tricks left the youngsters don’t know.
10,000 words later I am clear that I still know some things.
Got some news today that made me wonder if I am going to be able to sound my own barbaric yawp. I am operating in the mystery and the unknown with a general sense of what I am trying to do.
It is not easy to build something new when you don’t really know what you are trying to build.
Other areas are easier because you may ache but you know where your north star is and you can head in that general direction.
But this is different.
This is trying to catch a rogue wave and then ride it to shore.
Could be interesting, only one way to find out.