Project 55 and a Transformation on So Many Levels

Project 55 and a Transformation on So Many Levels

Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam
And admit that the waters, around you have grown
And accept it that soon, you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

The Times They Are A-Changin’
Bob Dylan

Sink or swimmin’? I choose swimmin’ and I choose to swim on my terms! I have taken my body through a number of transformations over the years, many a time to revert back to pretty much where I had started only to do it all over again.

It’s 4 am on the 3rd of September 2016 and after 55 years on this earth it’s time to get a little philosophical… BRACE YOURSELVES!

It’s not an easy process and it certainly gets a whole lot harder as the you pack on the years and pack on the pounds but this time, with 55 rapidly approaching, I had decided it would be different, this time it is about transformation of so much more than just a body transformation. It is a transformation of relationships on so many levels.

  • My relationship with my body
  • My relationship with my family
  • My relationship with my past
  • My relationship with friends
  • My relationship with work
  • My relationship with money
  • My relationship with myself

And with all of that comes new adventures, new opportunities, new evolutions and new beginnings, you see “it’s never too late to get it back”

My relationship with my body – Yes, I have been through so many of these. I am very lucky that I seem to be genetically programmed to be fit and in pretty good shape. Even when I am “out of shape” I am never much more than 10kg over where I would like to be and losing that weight does come quite easily to me. This time I put a lot more effort into, set real goals and instead of an 8 week “crash course” spread it over 16 weeks and combined fitness training with weight lifting. In 16 weeks I have done…

76 gym sessions
1532 minutes running (had to slow down for an injury)
4389 pull ups (but who’s counting?)
2900 minutes of rowing (enough to get me to Durban by the way)
1 warrior race
Many hours of long walks

Perhaps you are not quite as OCD as I am, perhaps you too have struggled to find the motivation, perhaps you lack the know how… whatever the reason that is holding you back from being the best you that you can be, I urge you to start because “it’s never too late to get it back”

My relationship with my family – Never easy to talk about or even to admit to but my relationship with my father has been anything but perfect and in fact non-existent for the past 4 years. I will spare you the details of a family spat and how small resentments can build up over years. We are all human, we all make mistakes, I included and at some time in our lives we have to face our past in order to move forward. For me that moment came by chance (or perhaps NOT by chance) as my 55th year approached. A chance visit with a stranger, had him ask me about my father and when I explained we had not spoken in years he said something to me, he said “according to the Torah, if you ask someone for genuine forgiveness on three occasions and they turn you down, you may stop asking knowing you have done your bit, but when this comes to your parents, what is the number of times you must try” Of course I did not have the answer and he replied “there is NO number, you just have to keep trying”. I put my pride aside; fought years of resentment, peaked over walls I had built up and reached out again. Even that proved to be more difficult than I imagined and eventually we spoke. I may never quite understand what happened the past 40 years, and I will never know all the facts or all the reasons but I know in heart that I am able to forgive and to be thankful for so many things he showed me, gave me and taught me along the way.

To Ian and Ada (my brother and sister in case you didn’t know), thank you and I love you both! You are two remarkable people that have walked so much of this amazing journey with me. I wish you both health and happiness and pure joy with you beautiful families.

To Heidi and Arielle with whom I shared so many years and still share a wonderful daughter (and sister) thank you for that amazing gift and all we shared. Marriage is not easy and neither is divorce and although we don’t get it right all the time, thank you for trying.

Without getting to philosophical or soppy… reach out where you can, forgiveness is not about making peace with the other person, it’s about finding your own peace.

My relationship with my past – one of the things that birthdays, and particular milestone birthdays, bring up for us, is a look into our past and usually at glaring mistakes we have made. And once again I find myself humming some bars of a well-known song

“And bad mistakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I’ve come through”

Oh, so many poor decisions, so many moments of choosing what was easy over what was right, taking the path of least resistance… the list goes on and I cannot even promise for a second that I won’t make a few more BUT all of those decisions and actions brought me to where I am today and how I view them and what I learn from them is up to me. I choose to move on from them and learn from them and to understand that I am where I am and who I am today because of them. So onward and upwards my friends, you can’t spend too much time dwelling on what might have been, better to spend that time and energy on what will be!

My relationship with my friend – both real and cyber I have managed to accumulate the most remarkable array of misfits, loners, heroes, degenerates, winners, losers, spiritual, atheist, pro everything, anti-everything, thin, fat, fit, lazy, funny, serious, content, disillusioned, modest, vain… oh fuck the list just goes on and on… friends you could possibly imagine. I thank each and every one of you for what YOU bring to my world. Whether we speak and interact daily or barely at all, you all rock my world and make it so wroth while. THANK YOU for being you and THANK YOU for accepting me as I am (and I know how hard that must be!)

There are some that have been closer to me, shared more with me and been a much bigger part of my life than even they will ever know or I will ever be able to tell them. I know I do not always find the right words and sometimes you may feel that my actions do not match those words but you know who you are and I thank every one of you for what you bring to my world.

And from Desiderata I offer you this quote “listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.” Broaden your circle of friends, give everyone a chance and a voice and fill your life with variety and difference, it’s quite an amazing place. So to my “misfits, loners, heroes, degenerates, winners, losers, spiritual, atheist, pro everything, anti-everything, thin, fat, fit, lazy, funny, serious, content, disillusioned, modest, vain etc etc” thank you all.

My relationship with work – do what you love and love what you do! Well we have all heard these words but few have ever had the chance or the balls to live them. There are always reasons and responsibilities to consider, the timing was not quite right, the opportunity was not quite there. For me, this year (and all the years that come after this one) will be different. I am going to take my two greatest passions and pursue them with all I have, I am going to turn both of them into businesses and begin to do exactly what I love and love everything I do.

I love to create, I love to use my mind and my hands to “make shit”, I love being healthy and I love helping others… So as my 55th birthday approached I have set out to do two things. One was to start a business making furniture from upcycled goods and the second was to start a business doing personal training and transformations for people who want change but seem stuck in time or space or simply just need the extra knowledge or a kick in the pants. (a pat on the back is just a few vertebrae up from a kick in the pants)

So “The Upcycled Furniture Company” and “Next Evolution Personal Training and Fitness” have been born. The websites are almost done and I will update this and share the URL’s once they are done but the most remarkable lesson I have learned the last few weeks is that once you commit to something and open your heart and mind to what is out there, it all just seems to “flow with ease and grace” (unfortunately that does not seem to cover CASH FLOW, but that too will come). Watch this space for details and as a marketer I would be amiss not to mention that if you are looking for upcycled furniture, a personal trainer or just someone to help you with a program and some guidance… you know where to find me mike@mikesaidwhat.co.za )

No, I am not telling you to drop everything and travel the world… no wait, I think I may actually be telling you to do that if you can make a living doing it. Really what I am saying is “don’t get too busy making a living that you forget to make a life”

My relationship with money – well mine has been a pretty tumultuous one and it is time money and I got closer acquainted and learned to respect each other a lot more. Perhaps there is a much bigger connection between our relationship with money and our relationship with the other factors in our lives. I choose to do things differently; I choose to put a lot more effort into THIS relationship, to understand it better and to nurture it with more care because I need this one to work a lot better than it has been.

I will never let it rule me, I will never pursue it over the other relationships in my life but by the same token I need to work on this too. There are so many people who have helped (and continue to help) me on so many levels, thank you for your patience and understanding and most importantly for the lessons you have and do teach me.

My relationship with myself – No you perverts, I was not talking about THAT! And no, I will not be posting any videos. I have always had a pretty amazing relationship with myself… call it arrogance or vanity or cockiness or any other label you care to give it, but try say it like it’s a bad thing or that the label will deter me. Hey, if I can’t love myself or believe in myself, how can I possibly expect anyone else to? I am far from perfect and at 55 I am far from the finished product but I am who I am and I quite like me… I hope you do to! (And I hope you like who you are too)

What will I change about this relationship? I will continue to nurture this one too, to look past my own faults and believe in my own strengths, I will continue to love myself as strange as that may seem to some, and I will continue to share me with all the amazing people in my life. You see I am planning to be around for a very long time (I can only hope God agrees with that plan, yes you atheists, I do believe in a higher power!) and I plan to enjoy every moment I possibly can.

My advice… love yourself! Be proud, be bold, be a little brazen about it and don’t bother fighting the critics, they have their own fights to fight.

And finally my relationship with my beautiful daughter! What can I possibly say or add that I have not already said a million times before. When I am unsure if I am doing things right, when I am feeling a little down (does not happen often or for long) when I am upset with all that is not right in the world, I look at Sasha and I see love and light. Sometimes I love her so much that it actually hurts, that I cannot even comprehend in my own mind what this child means to me and brings to my world. I can feel that lump growing in my throat right now and tears welling in my eyes but they are tears of pure joy and pride.

Thank you “my Bubster” for all you do, for all you are and for all you mean to me. YOU are the reason behind so much of what I do and why I will always try to be better!

Now I need to sneak back into bed quickly before Sasha wakes up to bring me my “surprise” breakfast in bed!

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5 Comments
  1. Watching F1 qualifying and crying at the words you wrote. At 43, so much of what you wrote resonates with me. The good, the bad and the forever young.

    We don’t see each other often but know that I respect your conversation always. Your smile to brighten anyone’s day and I take your wisdom to heart.

    Happy happy birthday ! ♡

    I wish you enough,
    Wenchy

  2. hey mike

    that was a wonderful read man… you never fail to impress. so very open, and resonant, and…well, so very everything… and very you. through all your changes you remain brilliant at life, and a light to so many…. from the very beginning I suspect. so glad I share in a bit of it..

    big love and bonne chance x

  3. Respect. So much for any one who can be so fit and healthy both mentally and physically.
    Very inspirational

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