Originally posted on: June 11, 2015
Forty years ago today, I graduated from Nokomis Regional High School's Class of 1975.
40 years - wow, it is hard to believe.
A lot has happened - to say the least.
Forty years ago I was the fresh-faced seventeen year-old in the photo.
Yeah, believe it or not that is me - with long hair.
I am actually one of the lucky ones. Several of the 129 classmates that I graduated with in 1975 are no longer with us, are in poor health or really had a hard go of it in their lives.
I am still here, living a life that has had a LOT more positives than negatives in it, my health is good enough that I can run 45-50 miles a week and while my sort of retired lifestyle might be coming to an end, I am looking forward to the next chapter, instead of being overwhelmed by events.
Yeah, I have lived through technology growing exponentially and coming to dominate our lives in ways we could never imagine back in 1975, changing attitudes - things that we did back then without thinking about it would in many cases probably get me arrested today, marriage, divorce, re-marriage, having children, two or three different careers and of course running over the years.
I was very naïve back then and very idealistic about my future.
Aren't we all.
While I may still be a little idealistic about some things, the naivety is a distant memory.
When that photo was taken I had already decided on what I was going to do for the next four years and it had nothing to do with college or staying in Newport, Maine. I was going on a grand adventure - joining the U.S. Coast Guard, get some real-life experience, doing my four years and then getting out to go to college and become gulp - a lawyer.
You know the career path of getting a job with a big corporation in Boston or some other big city, making lots of money, then come back to Newport to show all those people who doubted that I would never amount to much more than a mill worker or store clerk - how wrong they were.
I did go in the Coast Guard shortly after graduation, stayed a lot longer than 4 years - actually I made a career of it and retired in 1996.
Oh yeah that idea of getting my college degree, it wasn't easy, but I did get my Bachelor's Degree - it only took 19 years to do it and yes having that piece of paper does make a huge difference in the doors that will open for you.
When I retired from the Coast Guard in 1996 - I did move back to the Newport, Maine area and I had a choice between two vastly different career fields computer/technology or working with troubled kids. I chose to work with kids and eventually became a special education teacher. Nope never got rich monetarily working with kids, but was rich in other ways as a result of that choice.
Special Education Teacher at Good-Will Hinckley 2008
Although I do often wonder, how my life would have turned out if I had taken the technology job with that major company.
Since 2011, I have been either working from home or sort of retired. Which gave me time to really work on my health and get back to being a pretty low maintenance person.
In 1975 I had just won the 100 and 200 yard dashes at the Penquis League meet, in pretty fast times and was full of myself and my abilities as a runner. Those delusions of grandeur were in my eyes, for far too many years and while there were a couple of years, that I did some pretty fast running - looking back it was done more on limited natural ability than proper training or being anything special. However, when those thoughts of being better than I was, took over, something else also wormed its way into my running.
Not just the little pre-race jitters that most everyone gets, but full-blown this is a serious problem kind of stuff. So I didn't compete for almost 25 years and went through various periods of running well and just running. With no real goals or racing, my training was all over the place, along with my weight and health.
In 2010 I injured my knee playing racquetball and couldn't run - which made me determined that once it was fixed I would start running more/better again. May 17, 2011, I had the knee operated on and in January 2012 I ran my first race in a long time.
While the race anxiety has never totally left, it is a LOT better and I can just enjoy being in a race, without having to go deep into the hurt locker, every single time. Hey I don't puke my guts out before a race now and I do get to the starting line, which is huge.
My biggest vice since 2012 is that I wanted to try out every running shoe, then blog about them...
It was a pretty expensive habit, but less than some other vices that I can think of. I think that I have finally gotten past this running shoe fetish and pretty much settled on one style of shoe and maybe even becoming fairly loyal to a certain brand.
We will see how it goes over the summer.
When I look back over the years, I believe that I am a better runner today, than I ever was.
No, better does not mean faster, because I know without any doubts that I am a LOT slower today than I have been in the past.
Better means that I know more about myself as a runner, my strengths, weaknesses and have learned what I, not someone else needs to do to keep improving my running or at least keeping what I got for as long as I can.
Quarry Road 5K Race 6-9-15 - Photo by Alicia Nemiccolo MacLeay
I do wonder what my running would have been like if I hadn't gotten those delusions of grandeur, developed all the problems with race anxiety and had trained like I should have, instead of the half-assed stuff I did for almost 25 years.
All I can do is just focus on the now and keep having fun with my running.
The personal side is...well going to stay mostly personal.
Even though they are both grown women, this is how I still see them :-)
I had two beautiful girls (with my first wife), that I love very much, more than they will ever know and am proud of the women they have become. I did re-marry and have been with Mary and hopefully been a good step-dad for her two daughters. We have a great life together, at least from my point of view make a great couple and I plan to grow old with her.
Mary on our Whitten Hill Hike 11-9-14
Yes, I am in love with Mary and it continues to grow in ways that I can't describe.
It doesn't mean that I haven't made mistakes along the way - I have...several.
I wish there are some things that when I look back with 20/20 hindsight - while they were not mistakes there are things that I would have done differently knowing what I know now - there are.
However, all the things that I have done or not done since June 11, 1975 have contributed to making me the person I am today and I wonder if I could go back and change some of those things, if it would change who I have become.
However, we will never know, because what is done is done and you have to live with the joys, regrets, sorrows and unfilled dreams that are a part of your past.
Just the way it is.
When I look back at all the things that I have done over the past 40 years - I am happy, with the way my life has turned out and truly believe that I have many more great years ahead of me.
Bennie and I after the Terrier 5K in 2014
Yeah, the last 40 years have been pretty good - for the most part.
I think it is pretty fitting that I saw Dad early on the 11th, since 40 years ago, I drove into the yard as he was leaving to go to work, after a long night of...well one of things we do when you are young and dumb. It was almost a right of passage back in those days and a part of what was considered fairly normal behavior - today doing the same things I would probably would be put in jail and my future completely changed. No nothing really bad, but not legal or socially as acceptable as it was back in 1975.
Things have changed since I graduated high school 40 years ago and while they are different, sometimes I really wonder if things are really all that much better than it was in 1975.
Let's just say they are different and leave it at that.
Would I want to go back and do it over - nope. I am ready to keep going forward and enjoying the life I have.