I sit here with weak knees and a heavy heart. What used to be the most anticipated part of the summer is now turning into a grind where most weathered veterans would ask to sit out a few plays. Week in and week out, I find myself wondering how I keep doing it. And with it being so early in the season this year, I have some grave concerns that my body can’t handle it going forward for much longer.
You see, wedding season isn’t just sitting for an hour-long ceremony followed by a four-hour reception. No. It’s golf outings, it’s engagement parties, it’s rehearsal dinners, it’s bachelor and bachelorette parties. And while I should be concerned about the miles I’m putting on my car (and elated about the miles I’m racking up on my credit card), I’m more worried about the miles I’m putting on my body.
Something happens after 26 where your body begins to shut down after consecutive nights of barely remembering your Uber home. Your one-day hangovers turn into two-day hangovers, you’re forced to hang onto those extra hours of sleep, and you begin wondering if you need Pedialyte instead of Gatorade. But gone are the days of eating hungover chicken wings in a bar with your friends. Now it’s expected that I put on a suit and tie twice a weekend, mingle with people I don’t remember meeting in the first place, and go out after the reception cuts the bar off at midnight.
My hands? They’re covered in germs and exhausted from shaking so many other hands while working the room. My feet? They’re weathered from loafers and patent leather tuxedo shoes. My knees? They’re aching from all the standing around I’m doing during cocktail hour. My back? I’m constantly on the verge of having a herniated disc because I can’t stop myself from indulging in “Shout” when everyone else is on the floor kicking their legs in the air. And I won’t get started on my liver, which is constantly in a state of wonderment trying to figure out how many rounds of champagne-to-Alka Seltzers it can take.
When Kobe walked away from the game of basketball, he said, “A love so deep I gave you my all, from my mind & body, to my spirit & soul.” Much like him, my love for weddings will be everlasting. I smile when I rack my brain for memories of weddings past. My body, while tired, should be at its physical peak rather than shutting down. My spirit, while currently low, will have a change in tune once the adrenaline for next weekend’s soiree goes into effect. And my spirit, while bruised, will surely be raised simultaneously with the glasses at the end of a father’s toast to his daughter.
Often, athletes don’t know how they do what they do. They see their end goal and strive towards it, day in and day out. They train, they perform, they succeed, and once they finally reach that goal, their body shuts down and they finally rest at season’s end. For me, I know it’s too early to complain about the notches on my belt. I’m too young, too inexperienced, and have too long of a road still to travel.
The only way to dig out of this hole is to prepare myself for the grind ahead – the suits must go to the cleaners, the shoes need to be shined, and a drinking pace needs to be well-established before I sloppily tell the country club bartender, “You know what? Make it a double.”
It’s been said, “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.” So as those save the dates and invitations keep coming in, I simply have to keep on keepin’ on. I have to pinch my pennies for flights, and I have to fake a smile even when I still haven’t shook the hangover from the rehearsal dinner. Hell, I’ll even have to force myself to spend some time at the carving station getting a base rather than fetching drinks for the bridesmaids. But that’s what the greats do – they rise to the occasion and they keep their heads held high.
Now where’d I put my glass? Lord knows I can’t dance sober. .
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