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Sorta Random Sunday: Are You the Old Man in the Pool?

One of my favorite comedians ever is Mike Birbiglia. He’s not the biggest name is comedy. But I think he is the best comedic story teller that I have ever seen. And he recently just came out with a new special on Netflix called, “The Old Man and The Pool.”

old man pool

Some background

If you haven’t ever seen or heard Mike Birbiglia, I recommend you pause here and go watch some clips. Check some out on his site. Or go to YouTube. There’s so much great stuff.

One of the reasons I like him so much is that his comedy has substance. And I don’t mean that in some pretentious, deep way. But there is a purpose to his stories. And he uses comedy to hit some pretty big points.

He even holds a pretty special place in my and Selenid’s history

We’ve always liked Mike Birbiglia. And when we lived in NYC, we saw he was booked at a small comedy club. It was first come, first serve seating and we got there early and waited and ended up getting in and having great seats.

It ends up that he was testing material for a new special which would eventually be released about a year later on Netflix called, “The New One.” This special and the material he tested that night was all about having his first child. How he never really saw himself as a father. His experiences during his wife’s pregnancy. And even how he at first struggled to connect with his daughter. And finally how that relationship grew into something beautiful.

Well, at the time, Selenid was pregnant with Samuel, our first child. And we shared a lot of the same struggles and worries and anxieties. It was really almost therapeutic to hear someone else’s hilarious yet deep (there’s that word again) perspectives.

But this isn’t about that. It’s about…

The old man and the pool

Ok, without giving much away, his latest special, “The Old Man and the Pool,” is really about growing older. It’s about building healthy habits, including…you guessed it, swimming.

Regardless, at one point of the special, he says something that I thought was really interesting. And I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something like:

Sometimes I try to imagine my life as a book with me as the main character

The point was that when he journals and is struggling, he used this strategy. To gain better perspective. To make better choices. And to try and figure out the best path forward. I think this is genius.

Again, in his special, he is talking about this in the context of a doctors recommendation to get more exercise and his struggles to maintain such a habit. He is the old man in the pool.

But we have all been the old man (or woman)

All of us have struggles. All of us have a tough time building healthy habits. Whether that is eating healthier, exercising more, building a growth mindset, developing healthier relationships, and on and on.

And while we often would know what advice to give to a friend, we are somehow blind to ourselves.

And I think that’s where this technique really comes in to help. By looking at our life as a story with us as the main character, we remove ourselves personally from things for a second, we can get a better picture. We get perspective and clarity. We stop rationalizing our situation for a second and see it for what it is…in all its ugly glory.

I am definitely the old man in the pool. In many ways. So I’ve been trying this technique and really loving it. So, if you ever find yourself feeling like this, give it a shot!

And for more help building healthy habits, check out these posts!

What do you think? Have you ever been the old man or woman in the pool? With regards to what? What helped you out? Let me know in the comments below!

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    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected].

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