Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yes, You Can

I don't want to get all sappy because I'm just not the personal/testimonial kind of guy.  But just in case there is some other controller out there that feels old beyond his years...

See this trail?

I walked up it, loaded up with my camera backpack and tripod.  That's probably 20-25 pounds of gear.  The trail sign said it would take 20 minutes.  It took me 33.  But I made it.

About a year and a half ago, we had some terrible tornadoes come through.  I was suffering from another bout of bronchitis.  If anything had happened, I would have been useless.  It hurt to walk up a flight of stairs -- much less to do anything strenuous for any length of time.  I knew I had to stop smoking.

It was hard.  And it sucked.  Big time.  If it was easy, everybody would do it.  And to add insult to injury, I gained another 20 pounds to add to the 20 I gained when I retired.  One thing at a time.

I've now lost the 40 pounds and maybe a couple more.  I weigh less than my driver's license says  I weigh and I haven't changed that data in...forever.  Just like the downward spiral that working strange hours in a high-pressure job can put you in, there is a virtuous circle in doing better.  It turns out that when you quit smoking you can breathe better and walk longer periods.  And the more weight you lose the easier it is to walk.  The more you can walk, the faster you lose the weight.

So, in just over a year, I got back to a place that allowed me to do what I love -- hiking up to the top of a mountain.  

If you're wondering whether you can ever do it again: Yes, you can.  

I'll repeat myself.  Early retirement is only a benefit if you use it.  Being an air traffic controller isn't healthy.  And too many of us embrace that instead of resisting it.  We smoke.  We eat too much.  We eat too much junk on a midnight shift.  We don't sleep.  We drink too much.  

There is life after ATC.  Get ready for it.  Plan to get out as soon as you can.  The rest of your life awaits.

Don Brown
October 10, 2012

P.S.  Please don't write me with any "atta boys".  I don't do this kind of thing well and I'm sure I won't accept compliments for it any better. 

P.P.S  I *hate* the new interface for Blogger.  (Just sayin' Google.)  I'm sick of trying to get it to format like I want it so I give up. 

1 comment:

Vannevar said...

On first reading, I interpreted the "yes you can" to refer to retirement.

The best lines in this for me were: Early retirement is only a benefit if you use it. Being an air traffic controller isn't healthy.

There is great truth in that.