Whoever said that 60 is the new 40 is crazy! The cop that just pulled me over didn’t agree either.
First of all, I never thought I would live to be 60. I used to tell my friends that I would most likely die before 40. I meant it. Its not that I wanted to, I just refused to slow down. I didn’t want to sleep, so I didn’t. There was work to be done! What, no work? No problem, I’ll create some.
I was out of control. I remember one time, when I was spending a lot of time on the road as a comedian, I stopped at a Circuit City, the company I had worked for when I launched my comedy career. The manager of this store was and still is a dear friend, Frank Gomez. I was talking to some of the sales people that I knew when Frank took me aside and talked to me privately.
He asked me if I was trying to kill myself. I was startled, to say the least. I told him that I wasn’t and he told me to go in the restroom and take a good look in the mirror. I did, and could not believe my eyes! I had lost a substantial amount of weight, my eyes were sunken in and had huge dark circles under them. It was an eye opener.
Thank you, Frank. I know you read the blog. You did what great friends do. You called me out on behaviors that could cost me my life. I went home and slept for an entire day. It didn’t stop me, however. I got up and continued down the road to destruction. I was hooked on work. An addict. I didn’t care. I just ran.
I remember being in the car with two of my children, Sarah and Eric. I was listening to the radio when they played “Running Against the Wind”. About half way through the song, Sarah said, “Daddy, that’s you”! She certainly was not thinking that I was singing the song, she was referring to the lyrics. That hit me hard. The song, for those of you who might not be familiar, is about a guy who is running through life, never stopping or thinking about the consequences. Yep, that was me.
If it wasn’t intentional, what was causing this behavior? I had no clue, so I went to see a therapist. Talking to a good therapist is awesome. I found that just answering questions brought out so much information. I discovered why I ran like a mad man. My father had told me repeatedly that I would never amount to anything. That drove me to be a workaholic.
Ok, now that I knew, it was no longer his fault. After all, I was a grown man and could therefore make my own choices. I could not use what my father said as an excuse to continue this destructive behavior. I still didn’t stop. I seriously needed an intervention.
Today, as I write this blog, I am disabled because I burned myself out by the age of 50. I suffer from PTSD, accute anxiety and crippling panic attacks. The combination of these issues causes pseudo seizures, which cause me to pass out. If I worry about anything, I’ll have a seizure. If I attempt to plan anything, I’ll have a seizure. There are so many triggers, its ridiculous.
I brought it all on myself, so I only have me to blame and God to thank for His grace and mercy. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m a happy guy, mostly. I do miss being really busy, but I can’t worry about that. I can only live in the moment. Not a bad place to be.
See you tomorrow.
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