I am not sure I would characterize my time in High School as living THPL. To the contrary, I think that I was living the life that many of my peers were living – one of routine, full of boredom and devoid of adventure. We were told what to do, followed orders and generally had limited say in how we were supposed to think and behave. Being a product of the Catholic School system had a way of doing that to you – we wore the same uniforms, kept our hair short (well sort of) and we listened to the priests and nuns telling us what to do. And so it went, we traveled long distances to get to school and when classes were done we bee-lined for the first of the three buses that it took to get home – the first bus was there like clockwork – waiting for us to run like mad to catch it, as if we would miss the bus after our last period at 2:35. Not everyone left at the end of the day – the cool kids went to sports practices, the popular girls practiced their cheerleading, and the wicked-smart kids were members of the chess and debate clubs. The rest of us, we were stuck in the 2:35 club (yes named for the bus departure time). we were non-descript, programmed high schoolers, following the road back and forth from home – doing too much homework, working after school (me at MacDonald’s) and wishing for something more than the relative obscurity of life that came from being part of the 2:35 club. And so it went, day after day, year after year, for four years, with a very limited view into anything that resembled THPL. . Little did I know that I was in training for a future that would be driven by the characteristics of living THPL.
So, how did it transpire that many of us leaped from one side of the chasm to the other? How did it come to pass that the 2:35 club was the training ground for a life driven to fully live out THPL. It would be bold and unrealistic to try to simply answer such a complex question but after all of these years, focusing on Life, Learning and Fitness there are a few themes that have kept me true to this mission and they started germinating thirty years ago, in the Bronx, the minute I got on that 2:35 bus.
A few things come to mind. It was a struggle to take three buses, to travel an hour each way and to do so day in, and day out, and for four years. Six buses a day, two hours of travel, NYC city buses – it was the beginning of learning discipline, scheduling, and adversity (there were many an incident on those buses). Then there was the working 20 hours a week at MacDonald’s while going to school. A busy day made more busy – struggling to keep it together for $2.35 an hour made me value hard work and how hard it was to make money (and how to sleep less). And then there was the need to learn about delayed gratitude that came from not being one of the “in crowd”. We had to wait for everything to come to us - I learned patience and acceptance. Not everything works exactly as you want it but it does work, over time, it just does. And most of all I learned how to be resourceful. I could save a dime if I ran fast enough to go from bus one to three, I figured out how to study while in motion on a NYC bus and I learned that life was not going to be given to me – I had to work for it and to earn it – and even then, sometimes, it was taken away (like my wallet being stolen). So when I think about THPL and the foundation that it sits on – I think it is fair to say that the pillars were put In the ground a long time ago, I did not know it at time but, boy, am I glad now, that it was indeed the case.
Friday’s with Sally and another 3:26 + 20 seconds, 229 pushups for the song of 4:17. Faded a bit tonight – another wild, fun, and interesting week.
Loving Life, very day of my life