Does “Low T” Cause Depression [or is aging a nightmare no matter how you look at it?]

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Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for the development of many ‘masculine’ traits.

It encourages fat loss and muscle development, as well as sex drive, aggression, and energy levels.

In other words, the more testosterone, the more “Alpha.”

“Low T” has the opposite effect: Use your imagination. It’s bad.

Numerous health problems, including depression are heavily linked.

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However, the relationship between depression and testosterone is very confusing because they are very similar.

If your “T” levels are low you’ll will suffer low energy, zero sex drive, crappy mood, endless irritability and difficulty sleeping – all of which characterize depression.

Some guys I know attack the problem with hormone replacement therapy.

In fact, most do…with varying degrees of success.

It cheaper than psychotherapy, and with faster results.

Nonetheless, “Low T” is not always the cause of depression, though it might be responsible.

For men who aren’t depressed and have lots of time and money on their hands, increasing testosterone might be an effective way to boost mood to even higher levels, improving drive, libido and motivation.

There’s always a higher high, after all.

But like other indulgences, it can become a one way street.

In other words, once you start, there’s no going back because eventually, the body stops producing it, not that you give a crap.

Most older men don’t care about anything but now, because there isn’t anything else.

Oh God, am I depressed?

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CLEARING UP THE CONFUSION

If you’re depressed but don’t know why, you might start by asking yourself why someone with so much feels like he has so little?

This is a therapy question, by the way.

On the other hand, if you also have difficulty gaining muscle, losing fat, keeping your blood pressure in check, or losing your ‘morning glory,’ “Low T” may be the culprit.

Three other factors may play a role in depression:

1] Vegetarian diets low in protein.

2] Dark offices low in sunlight.

3] Physical inactivity.

~~~

Okay, so let’s say you aren’t a fan of hormone replacement therapy, and want a natural way to achieve similar results.

Exercise – Compound movements, like squats and bench press, and HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Sleep – This is where your testosterone is produced and why rest and recovery are so important. Make sleep a priority in your life. Keep your room dark and cool, and avoid caffeine before bed.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is responsible for helping your body to regulate numerous other hormonal processes. The easiest way to get it is sunlight. If there is no sunlight where you live – or you’re stuck in an office for 12 hours a day –  supplement. It’s no surprise that all those existentialists came from countries bereft of sunlight.

Magnesium and Zinc – Magnesium and zinc support healthy testosterone production and prevent testosterone from being converted into zinc. You can Google it.

Saturated Fat – As shocking as this may sound, the most important ingredient in terms of your diet is saturated fat. It’s no longer believed to cause heart problems, but it will increase your levels of good ‘HDL’ cholesterol, which also happens to be what your body uses to make testosterone and other sex hormones. Try a glass or two of full fat milk if your stomach can handle it. It might improve your mood.

Protein – Protein is the building block of muscle. Now you know why vegetarians look like crap. Protein produces anabolic hormones [like testosterone] that encourage muscle growth, among other benefits.

ONE VARIANT

Avoid Plastic – Random, perhaps, research on ‘xenoestrogens’ isn’t pretty. These are substances act like estrogen in the body and significantly lower testosterone.

Along with our more sedentary and indoor lifestyles, this is thought to be one of the big reasons that men today have lower testosterone on average.

To avoid xenoestrogens, don’t eat out of plastic containers, and definitely don’t microwave anything in plastic.

ON A FINAL NOTE

The Stones famously lamented “it’s a drag getting old,” and it’s no surprise that Baby Boomer do struggle with aging more than the generation preceding it.

Boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — are the generation most likely to report being in treatment for depression, at 14 percent, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. That compares to 11 percent among Generation X (born 1965-1979), “traditionalists” born before 1945, and Millennials (born 1980-1996).

This makes complete sense to me because Traditionalists lived their lives in throes of World Wars and Millennials aren’t old enough to feel their age.

Note: Baby Boomers are more likely to have been diagnosed with depression (21 percent) than any other generation (Gen X: 18 percent, Millennials: 16 percent, traditionalists: 15 percent).

This aside, Boomers are also more open to discussing their mental health issues than older Americans who refused to admit to having any psychiatric problems at all – a key reason Boomers need therapy in the first place.

Why Older Men Tend to “Go It Alone”

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When I was a kid, my guy friends were everywhere, though I’m not sure “friends” back then had much in common with friends of today.

As I’ve gotten older, I notice that friendships are something I have to pursue and nurture or they will fall off the face of the planet.

To wit, I received a phone call from a guy I know fairly well who was dismayed that after an 8-month hiatus from town, no one bothered to check in on him.

I got it.

Older men tend to fall away into their own lives like Mad Max in a desert with a dog and a shotgun.

We don’t bond well…or at all.

Why is this?

The following article sets up this discussion pretty well, and I will follow up with comments and a summary.

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/08/american_mens_hidden_crisis_they_need_more_friends/

~~~

5 reasons why older successful men I know don’t have close friendships with other men:

1] Men are viciously competitive

As I state in my new book, Urban Dystrophy [@Amazon], “older men are fully assembled entities, no longer young men of endless promise,” and therefore, disparities in life achievement can – and do – drive a wedge between relationships.

In my own life, I still feel tremendous competitiveness from my close friends, particularly those in similar lines of work.

If, however, we’re both equally successful [or close enough], we cheer lead each other.

The truth is I have yet to meet a man who applauds the success of another when his career is in the toilet. It just doesn’t happen.

Both must be on top in order to maintain balance…and applause.

This is why men who tout their success on social media often get likes from everyone but their “closest friends.”

2] Intimacy avoidance

If an older man’s greatest fear is loss of control, the last thing he wants to do is talk about his issues with his mother.

This is why men can spend 5 hours on a golf course and recall nothing more than sports statistics.

In this sense, Freud’s “Madonna-Whore” model is just as applicable to male-male friendships as it is to men and their wives.

If the guy’s too damn close, he’s cast aside.

If he’s too distant, it’s time for a fishing trip and 3 strippers.

3] Too many demands on our time

With all of the demands on our time, why attempt a communication campaign with other men when we have no idea how to do it?

Most guys I know are always busy with something, even if it’s nothing at all, which is why it’s never a good idea to cross examine them on this.

This is defense mechanism, of course, designed to maintain mystery – and distance.

Again, we’re back to competitiveness.

TYPICAL MALE-MALE INTERRACTION

Mike:

“Hey, Tom, how’s everything?”

Tom:

“It’s all good. How about you?”

Mike:

“The same. How are the wife and kids?”

Tom:

“They’re all good. Back to school after our vacation in Aspen.”

Mike:

“That’s great. We’ll all be up there in December.”

Tom:

“No place like it. Great catching up with you!”

Mike:

Yea, you too. Take care.”

~~~

So that’s it, a full-on man conversation. They both keep the narrative short and sweet, while conveying certain key points:

a] We’re both happily married, highly successful [think Ritz-Carlton, Aspen], and run in similar circles [think Aspen…again].

Slam-dunk. Now we can applaud each other.

No wonder women outlive us.

Megyn Kelly Needs a “Wife”

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I don’t want to make this personal as I don’t know Megyn Kelly outside of her nightly broadcasts.

But something has changed in her over the past 6 months.

Maybe it’s that she’s harder than usual.

It reminds me of the psychological shifts in older men after starting a regimen of weekly testosterone injections.

They’re overall demeanor becomes more aggressive, engaging and intense.

With this as a backdrop, I wasn’t entirely shocked when Kelly blitz-attacked Donald Trump in the first of the Republican presidential debates.

Her approach was not that of an honest journalist seeking answers to complex questions, as much as it was blatant grand-standing on behalf of Megyn Kelly.

I don’t care what her political views happen to be.

What I do care about is having to deal with another out-of-control narcissist commanding the airwaves when we already have Donald Trump.

Pathological narcissists on the level of Ms. Kelly view people like Trump as “competitors” who steal focus from them.

So she acted out in order to seal a position of equal footing.

That’s the pathology at work, and it’s gender-neutral if it makes you feel any better.

It’s also how she got to where she is in life [think Wolf of Wall Street] and why she needs a house-husband, not another Type-A personality like her 1st husband.

“I wanted a wife and she wanted a wife — we both needed someone to cook and clean and support us. She has very much a Type A personality. I couldn’t imagine her staying at home. She needed more of a Type B husband.” Dr. Dan Kendall, her 1st husband.

~~~

Most affluent older men I know tend to date and marry beautiful young women who are nurturers, not Alphas climbing corporate ladders.

The last thing they want is more competition.

After all, there’s only so much room on stage for a star, and the most successful couples I know keep the spotlight focused.

If you have any problem with this particular arrangement, the door’s over there.

Spouses must understand and accept the fact that narcissists are always and forever number one – no matter how much they love you.

Most women I know get used to this in a hurry, particularly if they want to keep the Range Rovers.

The same with men who marry women like Megyn Kelly.

They are either okay with their role as house-husband to a super-achiever, or they’re wanna-be famous writers looking for an opportunity to exploit their wives’ celebrity so they can become superstars themselves and then marry yoga instructors half their age.

~~~

I’m sorry to say that after her on-air antics the other night, my respect for Megyn Kelly is greatly diminished.

I know that anyone interested in journalistic stardom has to have a shit ton of self-confidence.

But when self-confidence is not the first thing that comes to mind…well, only Donald Trump can pull that off.

Here’s a great article on the subject by Robert Ringer titled “Megyn Kelly, Queen of Narcissism, Gets a Pass.”

http://robertringer.com/megyn-kelly-queen-of-narcissism-gets-a-pass/

FINAL NOTES

Alpha older women like Megyn Kelly are able to attract and marry handsome men their exact age – or younger – who play a subordinate role in their lives.

Alpha older men like Donald trump are able to attract and marry beautiful younger women who play a subordinate role in their lives.

As we age, money and power are always leveraged against youth and beauty in the struggle for balance.

SYMPTOMS OF NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following  symptoms:

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., expects to be recognized as superior)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

5 Physical Signs You’re an “Old Man” [at any age]

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GENERALITIES

1] Rigidity and trembling of head

2] forward tilt of trunk

3] reduced arm swinging

4] shuffling gait with short steps

4] rigidity and trembling of extremities  

Many men are literally falling apart by age 50, and it’s a Double Black Diamond downhill from there.

Everything hurts because everything is weak, particularly self-esteem.

Low self-esteem is then reinforced when people look right through them as though they don’t exist, because in a certain sense, they don’t.

With this in mind, here are 5 MORE SPECIFIC warning signs to look for – and avoid – if you don’t want to avoid stereotype:

SPECIFICS

1] man boobs [Moobs]

2] the “dad butt”

3] pregnant midsection

4] hanging flesh

5] pencil legs

The following link addresses the topic of posture:

https://www.painscience.com/articles/posture.php

~~~

SIDE NOTES

What interesting to me is how many women claim to support a “softer you.”

Of course, this comes from middle -aged matrons in average to poor physical shape, who don’t want the men in their lives to turn the backs on them to moment they do get in shape.

It’s an insecurity tactic that also doubles as a hedge against them having to hit the gym next to 20-something athletes.

People are always balancing their assets to achieve safety and security no matter what it ends up looking like.

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Men my age are particularly concerned with the “SPECIFICS” column, because once they remedy these problems, everything in the first column disappears.

1] man boobs

As men age, they tend to lose testosterone and gain weight. Lower testosterone can lead to enlargement of glands in the breasts. Extra weight adds fatty tissue under the breasts. That can leave a man with bigger glandular tissue and more fat in his breasts. Fat cells make small amounts of estrogen, which can further enlarge men’s breasts.

HOW TO FIX THE PROBLEM

1] Lose Fat

2] Build muscle

3] Fix your posture

4] Exercise regularly

…and if all else fails, have a breast reduction. It’s called “gynecomastia” and it’s about a 90-minute outpatient procedure.

Final note: Get rid of those long, wiry hairs sprouting out randomly around the nipples. You can opt for laser hair removal available on every street corner in cities like Houston, or you can but a pair of tweezers at CVS.

How-to-Lose-Man-Boobs-Fast2“Boobilicious”

2] the dad butt

There is so much wrong with this condition I don’t even know where to start.

Suffice to say, when you get older and your butt starts looking like a hole in a 2 x 4, it’s time to start squatting.

Flat butts should be classified as a class-3 felony [at least] – in both men and women. 

dadjeans11

“Manbutteruptus in dad jeans”

3] distended midsection

Some otherwise thin older men appear to be walking around with a perfectly round “basketball” in their stomachs.

You might also notice that these same men have small arms and legs.

If it’s not a serious condition known as Cushing’s Disease [where the body over-produces cortisol], it’ poor diet, lack of resistance training, and usually, depression.

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“Pooch in pouch in dad jeans”

4] hanging arm flesh

Flesh is not supposed to hang. It’s supposed to coat the muscles like house paint.

But as aging progresses, skin sags as collagen production slows, leaving your skin less elastic than in younger years.

“Hanging out loud.”

What to do about it:

a] Drink eight to ten glasses of water per day to keep your skin properly hydrated and plumped.

b] Speak with your dermatologist regarding laser skin rejuvenation.

c] Exercise regularly to strengthen your triceps.

d] Eat a healthy diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low fat dairy [and don’t forget the good fats].

e] Apply an over-the-counter cream containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids, vitamin C or retinoids.

2B81843500000578-3203743-image-m-164_1440022337649“Hanging out loud.”

5] pencil legs

This is a particularly egregious condition for men of all ages, but horrendous in older men who can’t fill out a pair of slacks to save their lives.

No wonder designer labels are irrelevant. They’d be better off leaving the slacks on a coat hangar.

For the rest of you, just know that 60-70% of your total muscle mass is in your lower body.

If you don’t train your lower body, your entire body will not grow as quickly and will lack proportion.

If this is irrelevant to you, see your primary care physician for blood work to check your testosterone levels.

If they’re on the floor, you know why you don’t care.

For those with normal “T” levels, perform the following compound leg exercises at least once a week:

1] squats

2] leg presses

3] deadlifts

If you can’t even imagine yourself doing any of these, find a good personal trainer who will show you 50 different ways to achieve the same results.

Intense [and consistent] leg training is one of the true “secrets” to a muscular [and proportionate] upper body!

skinny_manWhile I’m pretty sure there’s someone for everyone, I’m not entirely sure…

 

The New Normal and Well-Adjusted

2B9D9ED900000578-3208404-image-a-129_1440389509192As I’ve said before, what you see these days is rarely what you get.

Take Mel Gibson, 59 and Rosalind Ross, 24.

To most, they probably look like father and daughter out for lunch.

To me, it’s gotta be his wife or lover.

How do I know this?

For one thing, I’m used to seeing vast age differences in relationships, so there’s that.

But it’s also his presence: confidence, worldliness, wealth.

He’s also handsome, and obviously wears whatever the hell he wants in the middle of the day on a Tuesday afternoon or whatever.

If he were random tool in golfing attire and by all appearances, scoliosis, I might be of a different opinion.

Some things just tell a story all by themselves.

On a related note, I’m thrilled to report that you front desk guys at the better hotels are finally getting the hang of it.

The last thing a man wants to hear when bringing his girlfriend to a Ritz-Carlton for a weekend getaway is “would you and your daughter like 2 Queens?”

As for Mr. Gibson the man, no comment.

Are Scalpels, Silicone and Sex Parties a Necessity for “Good Marriage?”

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Louise Van Der Velde, 44, actively encourages her relationship therapy clients – mostly in their 40’s and 50’s – to turn to the scalpel and silicone to keep their husbands from cheating.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2814399/Women-forty-need-knife-stop-men-cheating-Expert-claims-surgery-way-stop-wandering-eyes.html

Ms. Van Der Velde also hosts some of London’s most exclusive sex parties, which she claims also save marriages…as if the silicone wasn’t enough.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3202497/Can-sex-parties-REALLY-save-marriages-Woman-arranges-raunchy-shindigs-frequented-huge-celebrity-names-says-deceit-wanting-sexually.html

As if this wasn’t enough, here’s a beat down on Courtney Cox for undergoing cosmetic enhancements that ms. Van Der Velde says is necessary for older women to maintain their appeal.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3206106/Courteney-Cox-51-unrecognizable-puffy-face-LA-event-making-appear-work-done.html

Apparently, once women enter their 40’s, they have to begin an aggressive plastic surgery regimen, workout 3 hours a day, and then attend sex parties in the evenings [with their husbands] if they want to keep their marriages in tact…

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Comments on the first link:

As an older man who runs in circles where 40-year-old women look 25 [for reasons that have little to do with genetics and everything to do with money], I can assure you that all of them know the stakes for non-compliance. If they aren’t exemplary, they’re traded.

Why is this?

Answer: CONDITIONING.

Wherever they go, whatever they do, they see other successful men in th company of beautiful young women. It’s often referred to as “living life to the fullest,” to which they feel entitled.

For older women who use the same phraseology on dating profiles, it means I expect to be taken to Monaco on your dime.

Most of them are smoking hot for a reason. the rest are deluded and deleted.

Not long ago I attended a cocktail party/fundraiser hosted by a wealthy couple I don’t know.

When I was introduced to the man’s wife, i assumed she was 20 years younger than she was. Her skin was flawless, her body taut and perfectly proportioned and her teeth the stuff of cosmetic dental ads on TV.

How could a 48-year-old woman possibly look like this?

Money and the complete absence of stress.

In other words, she set herself up for a certain lifestyle in exchange for maintaining a specific physical aesthetic.

A small price to pay, indeed.

One look at her lifestyle, including framed photos of she and her husband at their Aspen “compound” was all most people need to see.

Comments on the second link:

People get bored, even with older women who manage to look half their age, and sometimes, especially.

The reason for this is that women who are willing to do pretty anything for money are also perceived to be morally and ethically malleable.

If lifestyle is the sole focus of one’s existence, then sex is just another lateral move in an otherwise relative universe.

Put another way, if men expect women to be beautiful at their expense, they also expect them to be sexual at their expense.

Thus, the sex parties attended by attractive and very affluent couples who deserve to “live life to its fullest.”

Why in Hell would anyone want to have sex with the same woman all the time? It’s ridiculous, right?

So now they have sex with ten times that number and it improves their marriage – marriage [again] being relative.

The women are willing to do what’s necessary, while the men do what they feel entitled to with women who are little more than objects, anyway.

No wonder they order them around like slaves.

When women have the money, they order young men around like slaves. Money doesn’t care. It’s an equal opportunity destroyer in this context.

Comments on the third link:

Courtney Cox has been through hell and back.

This aside, celebrities have it the toughest because people are always comparing them today with photographs taken 30 years ago and then wondering what happened?

Age happened.

I know how difficult this is to grasp, but as we age, celebrities age as well.

Courtney Cox in a vacuum looks great.

But none of us look great next to our college graduation pics.

Sorry.

2 Exercises and 1 Diet that CAUSE AGING!

human-aging-process-maleAccording to findings cited in the following article – and backed up by lots of clinical research – the following exercises and dietary practice are guaranteed age-enhancers.

http://www.maxworkouts.com/lp/3-worst-exercises-that-cause-aging-p1/?e=1

1] Steady State Cardio

Cardio is great for heart health, but hardly the answer to weight-loss and fat-loss.  As the article points out,  “doing long frequent cardio sessions will break down your muscles and increase the production of free radicals.  These free radicals damage the cells in your body and accelerate aging.”

2] Low-Fat Diets

“Science has proven that fat is not the cause of weight gain or heart disease. In fact, since the introduction of the fat-free diet, the world has gotten more fat and sick than it has ever been before.”

If you’re following a low-fat diet, you’re depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to slow aging and keep your youth.

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

Monounsaturated fat Polyunsaturated fat
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Peanut butter
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)
  • Soymilk
  • Tofu

3] Yoga

 

Yoga improves inner consciousness, mind-body connection and spiritual health or whatever. But it’s not an effective form of exercise as it “lacks the necessary components to stimulate your body to build lean muscle, burn fat and most importantly… trigger your youth-enhancing hormones to help slow aging. Yoga can improve your flexibility and calm your mind, but it will NOT stimulate your “youth” hormones, according to findings.

Personally, I like yoga pants and the practices’ emphasis on long lean limbs and tight round butts.

To many, this is plenty enough.

But if youth is what you’re after, I have some alternative recommendations that have worked extremely well for me:

1] Circuit Training Workouts using free-weights and body weight.

I know that when I start my 1 hour workout, I’m in for a ball buster. I get my head focused, take a deep breath and go in. I rarely sit down, opting instead to “walk it off” between sets, which are separated by more than 30 seconds, occasionally 45 if I’m really winded. We move from cables to free weights to body weight exercises in rapid succession to keep my heart rate up and my body charged. While this is NOT the best way to put on mass and maximum strength, it is the very best way to burn calories, shed body fat and keep my heart strong. For strength and mass, we do 2 days a week of mass and strength training, focusing 1 day on upper body and the 2nd, lower. At this age, that’s a lot, as it takes several days to recover from each of them.

2. Cardio: High Intensity Interval Training [HIIT]

On the days in between I do High Intensity Interval Training [HIIT], which involves continually switching between low and high intensity ‘intervals’ between 30 and 60 seconds in length. We usually start with rope work for 30 second intervals then super set it with box jumps. Then we’ll do treadmill sprints followed by ladder work. This goes on for an hour where the focus is on driving my heart rate to 90% of maximum, and then dropping it back down to baseline as quickly as possible. The idea is strengthen cardiovascular strength and endurance to a point where the body is capable of dropping heart rate from, say, 155 BPM to 118BPM in under a minute.

Comments

Performing the workouts above also condition the body to handle maximum loads on strength training days, when lots of rest is required between sets.

However, if your only interest is in either just building mass – or running marathons – you can forget about what I just said.

Why Testimonials and/or Memoirs are Inherently Hostile.

 

men-wooden-bridge-6889903I get it.

Feelings are hurt.

People feel exposed, violated.

But memoirs are what they are…inherently hostile.

I’m referring to my latest book Urban Dystrophy [the book], now selling on Amazon.

In it I make the case that personal histories are all relative.

We live and love in our own shoes, including family members living under the same roof.

All of us are composite sketches, fragments of both nature and nurture, colliding in one gene pool.

Some family relationships are seamless, others a series of backfires over and over again.

How each of us turns out is always a crap shoot.

In Urban Dystrophy you’ll find a Preface that goes into some detail about my relationship with my late father.

Apparently, that one small section of the book is the very heart of bedlam, sacrosanct in the minds of some.

Once you read it you can’t help but notice that my father made a monumental impression on my life, both good and bad.

But in the minds of some, I should have stuck to the good and tossed the rest of it in the nearest trash bin where history is buried forever.

“Why air dirty laundry?”

“Why violate anyone else’s subjectivity?”

I certainly didn’t set out to hurt and/or exploit anyone involved for the sake of publicity, fame or money.

That’s not who I am.

Calling things as I see them, however, is.

I can’t please everyone, nor would I try.

But I do have to live with my decisions, which is not easy for anyone who scripts memoirs involving people other than themselves.

Here’s an interesting article on the subject:

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-write-about-family-in-a-memoir

Sue William Silverman offers this advice: “I never allowed concerns to stand in the way of writing. I’ve always felt that as a writer of memoir, I own my truth and I am free to write about it.”

We can’t know how family members will react to the exposure of painful secrets or unspoken truths, but most memoirists would agree that you can’t predict what will happen, who will feel good or bad about the revelations in your work, and why. I thought one of my memoirs served as a sort of apology to someone, and that person is one of the people who couldn’t forgive me for writing it. I was terrified about how my mother would respond, and she’s been one of my greatest supporters. We can’t know, or control, what happens. The key, then, is to write. Just write, and prepare for potential responses, good or bad.

Well said.

No Road-Map for the Middle Aged Outlier

proofcopyWhen you’re 20, everyone has an answer.

When you’re 3 times that, no one has the vaguest idea.

~~~

Generally speaking, life is like a TV show.

You start out with a murder, followed by an investigation, followed by a conclusion, where the bad guy is caught and justice is served.

For our purposes here, let’s focus our attention on the investigation, where we try and figure out which direction to turn in the absence of solid leads.

If you’re in that 55-64 demographic, you know exactly what I mean.

It’s a weird place [think Devil’s Crossroads] where the pavement hits the dirt and you’re on your own.

Every decision feels like a skate over thin ice because everything matters 10 times more than it did when youth was like a high-density shock absorber.

EXAMPLES

1] You can eat this, but probably not that.

2] You can exercise, but not so hard that you stroke out.

3] You may need a mini-aspirin every day for life insurance, but it may also give you bleeding ulcers.

4] You should probably take mountains of vitamins, but nobody has any idea whether or not it’s necessary with a disciplined diet.

But what constitutes a ‘disciplined diet’ when your body is constantly under assault from everything that came before?

~~~

When I have a physical, the doctor tells me I’m fine.

What he doesn’t tell me is that I am fine for my age.

He may intimate that my blood work looks like that of someone half my age, but this doesn’t give me license to act like it.

TRANSLATION: “Keep doing what you’re doing, and be happy you’re not facing hip and shoulder replacements, herniated discs or arthritis like most people your age…” 

That’s a tough pill to swallow, but everything’s relative.

Almost everything I do I not supposed to be doing, but because it hasn’t killed me, I keep doing it.

 

With this in mind, here are 3 life tenets I live by.

They’ve helped guide me through thick and thin and I’m still here to tell the tale:

 

1] “To Thine Own Self Be True…”

Yea, Shakespeare got it right.

So did Aristotle“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing.” 

The first thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that burying things you feel strongly about is toxic.

You have to believe in yourself and be willing to place yourself in the line of fire for your convictions.

If no one ever did this, there would be little great art, music or literature, to name just three.

Life is not a popularity contest. It’s about standing for something, and not abandoning it when the blow-back begins.

This is what tests the meddle of a person’s life.

It elicits respect from all people who know that taking strong positions on anything is tough, particularly as a species that seeks safety and security above all else.

Tough decisions are the bane of every winner.

 

2] Athletics are not just for the young.

You think you’re too old to throw a Frisbee, swim 1000 yards in a pool, or perform a box jump?

If so, you probably are.

For everyone else, it’s open season.

Just because you’re no longer 20 doesn’t mean you can’t workout, and, in many cases, dust people half your age.

Life does not come with a manual that tell us what we can and can’t do at certain stages of life.

We do.

Going back to #1, if you don’t have the fire in your belly to take a stand for yourself, life will stand on top of you.

Take what your body will give you, and when it won’t give another inch, find another approach to the same challenge.

There are always work-a rounds.

If one joint is inflamed, find another way to perform an exercise that doesn’t hurt so that it can recover.

This is all academic. But so many older guys I know throw up the white flag.

The moment they do this, life takes twice its toll over the same course of time.

That’s also academic.

You get back what you put in.

 

3] Be good to the people close to you. 

The people who stand by you are the ones you owe your life to.

They deserve your support and your love.

Going back to what I said about human beings seeking safety and security, just know that the entire world can be against you and those closest are enough to withstand the fire.

All we really need in life are people we can count on, who love us, and who have our backs when things get really tough.

Nurture those relationships and you’ll never lose a dime to nature even if it kills you.

~~~

I’ll leave you with this:

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-let-go-of-the-need-for-approval-to-start-thriving/