Into the light

Emerging from the shower I feel.. reborn.

The dark writhing mass in my heart and stomach and lungs last week, a gritty diseased cocktail of mucus and phlegm, has gone. I can climb stairs again without feeling I’m carrying a crochety old man on my back whipping me with a walking stick. One month into my London life again, I take it as a sign: with my mind rebuilt from the bottom up, it’s now time to rebuild my body.

Those final MBA months cut my exercise hours to zero, and my 183cm frame has grown soft and flabby, with a perceptible stomach, sticklike arms, and the ultimate horror of ‘moobs’. Shoulders have shrunk laterally and both legs resemble reeds. Well, that’s overstating the case, but I’m definitely a lot weaker than I was 18 months ago, and I don’t like it at all. Right now I’m barely faster or stronger than an average person, and obviously I can’t stand that. I may just have had another birthday, but I’m still in my prime years.

So today the fightback, Project Me, begins. The shaggy student look is history, replaced by a shorter barber’s cut that goes better with the suit and tie I’m wearing a lot these days. (Although my wardrobe’s suffered this last year. I’m not sure handmade English-cut shirts go with Versace suit and ties; the structuredness seems to team up well, but a fashionista would probably turn her nose up at the disparity of sartorial cultures.) But at least every piece of clothing I own is now laundered, dried, and folded or hung after months in storage; old stuff has been thrown; new stuff is back in play.

Tomorrow, my morning exercise routine begins afresh: 33 press-ups, 33 sit-ups, and 33 squats in sets of 11. In one month I’ll be aerobically fit from the core again. (It’s amazing what a difference 15 minutes make.) With that core built I’ll recommence running and cycling and swimming, building towards some 2009 triathlons. And beyond that something new: some proper strength work, maybe kettlebells to work on fine-motor stuff (a grip like iron) as well as flexibility. And of course, more skydiving. Every day, I’ll visualise myself at my peak: skeleton of steel struts wrapped in industrial-grade hawser wire, all connected by tightly-coiled steel springs.

The speed of a cheetah.

The strength of a bull elephant.

And the agility of… one of those little monkey things that can scramble to the top of the forest canopy in about two seconds. Forget the name, but you know the one.

The superman within me – within all of us – will emerge once more.

(Well, yours won’t, obviously, unless you’re doing the same thing. I’m just saying that we humans are capable of extraordinary mentality and physicality, and most of us never explore those upper reaches.)

On the work side, I’m thankful for all those financial courses back at Warwick. Corporate Finance. Management Accounting. Economics for Business. Investment and Risk Management. I’m in big-company meetings these days and I can now break down dry charts and spreadsheets into the concepts taught to me over the last 12 months, understand both big picture and detail using these gymnastics of the mind. I’m brimming with power and it shows; self-actuated, under control, fully and absolutely in command. I rock.

Life is back, with two companies and a third project in the pipeline.

I am reborn.

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