“You know, you don’t have to suck when you get older.”
I read that statement recently and it made me laugh out loud. It also made me think about aging and how I’m doing everything I can to keep Father Time at bay and it made me feel good that I have a fighting chance. Not to stop or reverse the process, but to slow it down at least. And to age gracefully.
So who uttered that statement? None other than Tom Brady.
Brady will turn 37 before the start of the NFL season. He’s accomplished pretty much everything a quarterback could accomplish in his career, especially a 7th round pick: 5 Super Bowl appearances, 3 Super Bowl wins, two Super Bowl MVPs . . . oh and he’s married to one of the hottest women in the world. Not bad for a guy who was drafted with the #199th pick. But he’s motivated to win that last elusive title (which could stamp him in many people’s opinion as the greatest quarterback ever). Plus he feels his own team is preparing for “Life After Tom” (The Patriots used a second round pick this year to draft Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who immediately becomes the heir apparent).
So what does Brady do? He says, “it’s hard to explain this to people, but the commitment I make, in terms of keeping my body in shape and my nutrition right, should make me healthy. I feel better today than when I was 25. I work at it.”
The shelf life of an NFL quarterback is short. Shorter than your average Mobile DJ. But we both fight the same battles. Staying healthy will keep us on the field (doing gigs) and it’ll keep the younger DJs from taking our jobs. And like Brady points out, it’s all about how much we want to work at it.
There are two ways to focus on health and fitness and they go hand in hand. One is our activity level and the second is what we consume. Notice Brady mentions both: “keeping my body in shape and my nutrition.” We need to as well. As performers (and make no mistake, if you’re a DJ you’re a performer) we need to do some exercise to stay in shape and be limber enough to get through events. Plus we need to think hard about what we consume, especially since we are surrounded by bad choices (most of the food in cocktail hour is very fattening plus the only options for a post-gig bite is usually fast-food, a big No-No!)
Our health and fitness matters for a number of reasons:
1- It’ll keep us alive. I’ve seen too many people die recently way too young. It sounds like a scare tactic I’m sure but staying healthy will improve your chances of NOT having a heart attack and NOT contracting certain forms of cancer.
2- It’ll keep us feeling better. 10 years ago I weighed 40 pounds more than I do today. After every event my knees hurt and my back hurt and my feet hurt. I was resigned to this being the new normal. I thought, well, I’m approaching 40 so this is just the way it’s going to be. But I got myself in shape and guess what? Now as I’m approaching 50 I can do an event and not feel my aching back or knees or feet during or after. Plus feeling better keeps me more active at the party so instead leaning against the back table trying to take a load off, I’m dancing around more.
3- It’ll keep us relevant and bookable. Like it or not, some clients make their decision based on aesthetics. And while no client will ever say to you, “we didn’t go with you because you’re out of shape” or “we booked a DJ who isn’t as fat” some have that thought, even if it’s subconscious. And unlike Tom Brady (who someday will lose his starting job to a younger quarterback and then eventually be cut from the team) it’s not as abrupt for us. We as Mobile DJs will stay in the game, but it’ll become harder and harder for us to book gigs. We’ll blame it on other DJs undercutting us or on the economy or on whatever. But for many DJs, it’ll be because we’ve neglected ourselves. And at the end of the day what we’re selling is ourselves.
I’m not a Patriots fan but I root for Tom Brady. I root for him because he’s a class act and I like the rags to riches story that he’s written throughout his career. And now I have one more reason to root for him. He’s handed me a new mantra: “You don’t have to suck when you get older.”