Noonday Demon on a Rampage

For those of you who have yet to hit your 60’s, this may fly right over your heads.

For the rest of you, welcome to Purgatory.

“Okay Jay, your life looks great to me. What the problem?”

I hear this whenever I’m willing to share one of my “moments” with a friend.

I could ask the same of any number of older men and women who, for all intents and purposes, have it all.

Celebrities, CEO’s, retired athletes, artists, et al.

But the simple – and honest – answer is very complicated, which is why I rarely delve into it unless I’m paying someone to listen to me.

BACKGROUND

It’s important to give some perspective where these things are concerned if only to clarify frames of reference.

First, I have always been athletic.

I played sports in high school and college and then went on to live my life with athletics a big part of it.

I have always been in shape and rarely sick, other than the common cold, peppered with the occasional bout of anxiety and depression, which athletics tended to check.

The aforementioned is particularly germane to this discussion because I have always battled anxiety and depression.

This is probably why athletics became such a large part of my life. It was an effective, albeit fleeting, way to slay the noonday demon when it awakened from its tenuous sleep.

So far so good: We have a man predisposed to depression with a reliable coping mechanism.

Great.

THEN CAME 60 AND ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE

When you’re young – or younger – you can pretty much handle anything life throws at you.

For me, even my early 50’s felt like Teflon for the most part.

But something shifted when I turned 60, and then 61, which was pretty much the beginning of the end as I saw it.

Little shit started to go wrong. For one thing, I developed arthritis in both thumbs, probably from power lifting.

In the old days it was referred to as tendinitis, which tends to heal over a relatively short period of time.

Now it’s a permanent resident.

Then there was the chronic shoulder pain, foot pain, hamstring pain, nose bleeds from NSAID overuse…and finally, depression that no amount of exercise could slay.

It came on like a fucking tidal wave washing away all reason, crushing my defenses.

I started sleeping longer, getting up later, popping antacids to keep the stomach acids quiet…and wondering when the other shoe was going to drop.

It does, at some point, drop.

No one disputes this, not even therapists who are paid to relieve the suffering.

Do one tends to live in a low-level existential nightmare that burns, but doesn’t exactly kill.

It just sort of drains your energy like leaving the pool light on for a month until it burns out and you have to pay a professional a fortune to change it.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ANTIBODIES

When I go to the gym I train with people half my age because the other half of the population is either dead or in Florida.

This helps.

I am no longer reminded of where I’m headed, but rather, where I am, which is a lot better, believe me.

Kids don’t talk about pocket catheters, hip surgery, arthritis or death.

They talk about the here and now, which is fine with me because anything beyond that is a crap shoot.

So I guess you could say I’m in a state of denial, but in psychiatric parlance – healthy, all things considered.

But while this keeps me psychologically young, the specter of my age is never far off the radar.

Denial is porous at this stage point.

You can pull it off for a while, but it’s rife with reinforcements.

You have to keep fighting, like warding a bedroom from werewolves, or beating back feral hogs in the dead of night.

Lots of older folks take SSRI’s for depression.

Others just settle for anti-inflammatory medications, intense workouts, Netflix marathons, sex with strangers…and gin.

But there’s only so far you can wander from where you are after enough time has passed.

It’s not like you’re happy just hanging out with a bunch of friends at some shitty little apartment with a TV and refrigerator full of beer.

All of us need so much more no matter what people say about how less is more.

Less is only more when it involves all the comforts of life without all the hassles.

STEROIDS

The pressure to supplement your daily vitamin regimen with steroids is overwhelming.

The reason for this is two fold: First, you feel better immediately. Your spirits lift, you libido rises, and you inflammation goes away.

What’s not to love?

And second, you look better. Much better. Preternaturally better. The love handles disappear, muscles sharpen up, veins wrap your arms in what feels like an impenetrable barrier.

So why isn’t everyone on them?

Well, they pretty much are, at least all the men I know who want to stay active – and, in this minds – relevant.

Are there any downsides?

Ummm, yep.

Abuse of testosterone, usually at doses higher than those typically prescribed and usually in conjunction with other AAS, is associated with serious safety risks affecting the heart, brain, liver, mental health and endocrine system.

Serious adverse outcomes include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, hostility, aggression, liver toxicity and male infertility.

Individuals abusing high doses of testosterone have also reported withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, decreased libido and insomnia.

…but who’s counting?

You look better, feel better, have more sex drive…and tomorrow’s another day.

Now you know why the sales are through he roof.

CONCLUSIONS

The conclusion is that we have just a few good years left in us before the whole fucking world comes crashing down on our heads.

Most of life as we want to know it is in the past no matter how many more years we have to live.

And yes, it’s possible to live another 40.

If this makes you feel any better, God bless you.

I’ll just keep trying to deflect the blows while focusing on the tasks at hand.

I’ve gotten used to the fight and know that there are good and bad days that, each playing an integral role in balancing the scales.

In conclusion, the thing that really chaps me is how much you have to accomplish to get here, and after you are [here], you spend the rest of your life trying to be somewhere else.

The Hysteria of Irrelevance

The hysterical woman in this video reaches far beyond its political framework.

Yes, it is a political rant, but much more importantly, it’s a statement about what it feels like to live as an obese and unattractive middle-age female in the throes of an existential meltdown over feelings of irrelevance and invisibility.

To some this is quite sad.

To people like me, it’s a chapter in my next book about the stratospheric value of youth and beauty.

As you watch, ask yourself why else anyone would ever acknowledge her?

In deference to what’s left of her sanity, one can certainly understand the motivation to assert her existence to the world, a place that otherwise sees right through her.

In this sense, her rant is an assertion of her existence.

I have to admit it’s been a while since I last witnessed such a bizarre manifestation of self-loathing.

Most of the time it’s just a bridge jump and an obscure Obituary notice someplace you can’t even Google.

Nonetheless, it was entertaining, and therefore, accomplished its end no matter how pitiful or embarrassing to her constituency.

Rich Men Choose Younger Women the Way They Choose Automobiles

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 23: Actor Harrison Ford and actress Calista Flockhart attend the Premiere of Universal Pictures “Cowboys & Aliens” during Comic-Con 2011 at San Diego Civic Theatre on July 23, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

http://www.yourtango.com/experts/marina-margulis/over-hill-step-aside

I’m going to say some things here that are going to seriously piss off a lot of people.

Not that you aren’t used to it by now, but I’m really going in on this one.

Seat belts please…

~~~

The article above from www.yourtango.com appeared earlier this year, but brings up certain realities that mirror my own world.

It was penned by a matchmaker who refuses to handle female clients because, as she puts it, “successful older men prefer to date younger women is because THEY CAN.”

“In this tough singles market, if a man pays top dollar for a matchmaker, he expects nothing less than a 29-year-old model.”

And since women are attracted to confidence and power, they embrace older men who are in possession of both…in abundance.

This is not to say that some younger men aren’t filthy rich.

But if a woman is also looking for security, get in line.

Odds are young men have youth and beauty and nothing more, which is why they don’t need matchmakers. They need bodyguards.

Around Houston, it’s commonplace to see drop-dead beautiful young women in the arms of wealthy older men.

In fact, it’s kind of weird not to, unless the couple have been together a long time and she still looks great courtesy of surgeons and cash.

Is any of this fair? In a certain sense, no.

But in the context of commodities in a world of demand and supply, it’s as fair as it gets.

SNAPSHOT

One guy I know has a list of attributes all women he dates must be in possession of…or the “relationship” will last about an hour.

1] Straight white teeth and healthy gums.

2] Clear complexion.

3] Height/weight proportionate [like a fitness model].

4] Fit [like a fitness model].

5] Breasts and butt perky and proportionate [like a fitness model].

6] Stylish

7] Articulate

8] Sexy

9] Funny

10] Trustworthy

Now, as everyone knows, this woman does no exist. So what many men do is divvy up the attributes to see if whatever is missing can be improved upon.

For example, if a given candidate is small chested, breast augmentation is a slam dunk.

If she needs a little toning up, a personal trainer can get right on that.

If her teeth aren’t perfectly straight – or white – there’s a cosmetic dentist on every street corner.

But not everything can be fixed, so he throws the dice and hope she changes.

But most men of true means don’t have to hope for change because they can afford to purchase love like Gucci handbags.

It’s the guys who don’t have quite enough juice to keep the dice from bouncing of the walls every which way who sleep with one eye open.

Understand that the more money and power a man has, the more line items he can check.

As for these young women, did you know that most Americans haven’t been to Rome?

I know. It’s hard to believe.

The same applies to Aspen, Monaco, Paris and the Amalfi Coast.

Did you know that most young women do not own a Hermes handbag?

I’m serious!

So let’s say you’re a 29-year-old woman with looks to burn for the next 3 or 4 years, in a dead-end job, and dating a hot guy who’s sleeping with your best friend, but only when he’s on furlough from prison?

The guy is a derelict. He’s going nowhere but down, and you with him.

Enter a 55-year-old investment banker with class and charm and wit – and yes, money – and the derelict is a very distant memory.

These older men know their positions in the human food chain. They know what they can and cannot do, can and cannot have, and the women are no different.

In the absence of a prominent background and trust fund, the culturally average woman must leverage what she does have in order to acquire what she otherwise never will.

This does not mean that young women who choose to date older men are in it purely for the money. In fact, many fall deeply in love with their daddies.

This is the ideal scenario and it’s more common than you might imagine.

Remember the old expression: “Men fall in love with their eyes, women with their ears.”

So what happens to divorced women in their mid-40’s with kids and a heavy mortgage?

SCREWED.

What rich, powerful, handsome 45-year old guy wants a 45-year-old woman with kids?

He wants a 25-year-old fitness model with no kids and a penchant for travel.

The matchmaker offers these three alternatives:

1] Find a matchmaker who accepts women as clients

2] Join hobby groups

3] Get out of the house

I’ll add three more:

1] Get in the best shape of your life.

2] Make damn sure your teeth are straight and white

3] Find the best plastic surgeon in town for the necessary maintenance.

FINAL REMARKS

As I have said a millions times before, wealthy older women can always hire houseboys.

In fact, I have noticed an extraordinary rise in older women/younger men couplings due to lackluster economic conditions over the past 8 years.

Sir Mick Does It…Again

http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/mick-jaggers-very-unconventional-love-9419607

Mick Jagger, 73, is now on his 8th child with 29-year-old ballerina Melanie Hamrick.

As you might imagine, people have lots to say about this, mostly negative.

“He’s too old to have a child.”

“Their 44-year age difference is outrageous.”

“She’s a gold-digger.”

“He’s a lech.”

“The whole situation is perverted.”

It’s very easy to criticize people for their unconventional lifestyles.

But last time I checked, nobody put a bullet to Melanie’s head, and I’m sure the children will do just fine…

According to New Study, We Need to Ditch the Jeans…WHEN?!?

scarf-1146798_960_720

But according to a new study by British company CollectPlus, there’s an age at which we should find a new way to be stylish.

And that age … is 53.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/fashion/are-you-ever-too-old-to-wear-jeans-study-says-yes-and-the-age-is/ar-AAjMMUM?li=BBnbfcL

Their thesis is that shopping for new pairs past this age isn’t worth the trouble, because one in 10 half-centurions try on six pairs and spend five days looking just to find one pair that fits.

Of course, I know men half my age who try on ten times that number and still come up empty-handed, particularly if they workout.

Nonetheless, the article claims that the process is so traumatic that 6 percent reportedly burst into tears.

To be frank, I don’t know a single woman or man any age who doesn’t experience some degree of trauma when trying on jeans.

Most of it has to do with dressing room lighting.

The rest involves a designer’s idea of exactly who they want to wear their jeans, which may not involve you.

The key to a successful shopping experience is to rule out body dysmorphia and/or a lack of self-actualization, which most therapists are capable of addressing.

Once you get past that you can wear whatever the hell you want.

But you’ll still have to deal with the crappy overhead fluorescent lighting…even at high end retailers.

Why they do this is beyond me.

Physical Strength and Dexterity the Key To Good Mental Health [in Boomers]

maxresdefaultSylvester Stallone, 70.

Ever read a story along the lines of … “61 year old man knocked to the ground by two teenage girls?”

When you’re in that chronological ballpark, the story becomes more about you than it does what happened to someone in some small town far, far away.

Could I have defended myself in that situation?

Would the teens have even dared approach me, given my physical condition and size?

What would happen if I somehow lost my ability to defend myself in a situation like this?

Would life even be worth living?

Would I have to move to some gated retirement community with 24-hopur armed security to protect me?

As weird as this may sound, the right answers to these questions are at the core of good mental health for men my age.

I have always been very athletic.

To this day I hold the USAPL Texas State record in the Power lift.

I can still run, jump, climb, swim, bike, throw a football…all the things I could do 30 years ago.

But it isn’t 30 years ago. Now I have to warm up, stretch, prepare for battle.

No longer are the days when I went from idle to full bore without missing a beat.

See, no matter what you do to maintain yourself, there’s always a price to pay.

This is why so many older men do stupid shit.

You can fill in the blanks here. I don’t need to reiterate what I’ve said a thousand times before.

In the end, what all older men fear most is Indignity.

Once you understand that, you begin to understand older men.

Child-Free and Deluded

img_4007

As a 60-year-old man, I’m the first to admit that I’m neither comfortable with, nor accepting of, my age.

But I’m also not so out of touch with reality that I think I can do a damn thing about it.

This awareness, however, doesn’t make things any better.

I look in the mirror and i see someone who bears only a vague resemblance to the handsome young man who relied on his appearance and charm to open doors.

Now such cavalier behavior comes across as creepy and deluded.

This “old guy” just flirted with me!

Wow. That might have been me.

See, I feel trapped in a body that no longer feels like my own. I’m inside of it bouncing around, unhinged and spiraling.

Who is this person I’ve become?

My 84-year-old mother confessed to me the other day that she still feels like a kid, but knows it’s just life’s way of  doing what it does to maintain our instinct for survival.

As many of you who read my blog and know me personally are already aware, I live with a woman half my age.

In another reality, she might very well be my daughter. She is also child-free and rebellious like I was at her age.

Together, we live in a kind of cocoon of art, entertainment and fitness, the later of which being the primary outlet for our interaction with others.

Other men my age have children in the workforce with wives and children of their own. A few are married to the same women they met back in college.

This is normal.

The reason I bring this up is because the only way that men like me mature properly is to deny ourselves introspection through chaos [i.e., distraction].

But because there is no chaos in the form of “a boss,” “children,” an “age-relevant wife” and a culture group built on conformity, I’m like a wild animal that that digs deeper with every step, making my journey more conscious, more aware, and less resilient where acceptance is concerned.

The truth is most people don’t think about any of this to the point of distraction bordering on preoccupation.

They live vicariously through their children, and allow themselves to be swept up into the mindset of friends, wives, country clubs and common vacation destinations.

They throw up their hands, get into the hospital system, and disappear into enclaves populated by others of their kind until they fall ill and die.

This is also normal.

But guess what?

There are others of my kind who fight this every step of the way. Not that it gets us anywhere, but we do it anyway.

God did this to us.

He put us here to do a couple of things and then die.

But many of us refuse to die under any circumstances, so we’re forced to suffer through a kind of extended Purgatory of the mind.

There are books and drugs to calm the mind, both natural and otherwise, but in the end we’re stuck here in these distraction-free zones cannibalizing our innards.

Here are the only ways I know to fight back with a reasonable expectation of success:

1] Travel constantly, or at least every other weekend. While it is nerve-wracking, it usually doesn’t kill us, which makes us stronger, psychologically.

2] Go to the damn gym no matter how crappy you feel because after a workout, you will again find yourself full of enough endorphin high to get you through the next 12 hours. For extra endorphins, lift very heavy weight. There’s nothing like it to get your head back to ground level.

3] Laugh as much as possible. Even if you’re depressed, laughter is a sure-fire way of exorcising noonday demons without the help of a Catholic priest.

4] Retail therapy is an integral part of happiness as we age. Yesterday I bought some new Bose Noise Reduction headphones and it did me good all through last night.

5] Have passionate interests. I’m never bored because I love to play musical instruments, write, read, take photographs go to the gym and watch commercial-free television shows on my Macbook Pro. If you’re not passionate about anything, you’re toast. 

6] Spend time each day around normal people so you can appreciate just how wonderful abnormality really is…no matter how bad it can often seem. 

7] Spend a lot of time in water. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a shower, bathtub, ocean or swimming pool. There’s something about it that feels cathartic. Yesterday I took three showers, one whirlpool and 20 laps in the swimming pool.

8] Go back to your music collection and play something you really love as loud as possible for 10 minutes, preferably after a glass of wine or a joint if you happen to live in Colorado.

9] Find a massage therapist who actually performs massage, not trigger point. The idea is to feel good, and therefore, escape. this usually works for a good 24 hours.

10] Have erotic sex as often as possible no matter how much it may irritate your lower back. The absence of depression will more than make up for it and keep you feeling relevant and alive.

and last, but not least…

11] Nurture those closest to you. The rest are irrelevant at this point.

You’re welcome.

Final Comment

If you still wonder if or why people don’t see the same young man they saw when you were a young man, please reread this.

 

The Relevance Demon at Retirement

non-comformity

Relevance is simply the noun form of the adjective “relevant,” which means “important to the matter at hand.” Artists and politicians are always worried about their relevance. If they are no longer relevant, they may not keep their job. Someone without relevance might be called “irrelevant.” https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/relevance

To most people, is kind of like an escape from Purgatory. No more work. Spending time on your own terms.

But for others it’s more like death in slow motion, where everything you accomplished, everything you were in the eyes of the world, fades into oblivion.

~~~

I grew up in a family where the mantra was something along the lines of…“build a business, make a lot of money, have people know who you are.”

So funny, because nobody has the vaguest idea who you are, but rather [and most importantly], what you do.

They’re supposed to be the same things [but aren’t].

Fast-forward decades and I still struggle with this alongside many of you.

Who are we now that we are no longer at the helm of the world, fully engaged in the mechanics of commerce and life as we knew it before retirement?

Ask most retired pro athletes and you’ll get my point.

The body can only take so much abuse before it surrenders. The shoulders give out, joints ache, tendinitis becomes a reality you can no longer overcome.

Now what?

You retire and suddenly the applause stops because you are no longer playing, no longer relevant….no longer ‘alive.’

Many athletes go into coaching, commentating, consulting…whatever.

But it’s rarely enough to fill the void.

The same is true for millions of other successful men who discover that retirement isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, and, in fact, is more like an existential death sentence.

What’s the point of living of you’re not ‘doing?’

What happens when people forget your contributions…when they assume you held a desk job at some insurance company and are thankful not to have a boss breathing don your neck?

Psychologically healthy people don’t give a crap what you think, what you know. They care about what they think, what they know. If you don’t like it, find another fishing buddy.

But it’s been my experience that such people are either filthy rich, and thus, can afford not to care, or what they have accomplished speaks for them.

[i.e., “Oh, yea. He started Google”]

I bring all of this up because I have decided to go back into the business of photography … because I miss it.

But it’s been over 10 years since I was active in the industry, while I pursued fine art photography and writing.

So imagine trying to get back in the fray after a 10 year absence and you find yourself back in the mail room.

It’s not that people don’t respect what you’ve done, but like they say in the entertainment industry, you’re only as good as your last project and it better damn well have been yesterday, not 10 years ago.

With this in mind, I recently had a meeting with my agent and a prominent magazine publisher to explore the possibility of my getting back into cover and editorial shooting.

This is how it went…

Publisher:

“So tell me a little bit about yourself, about your photography career.”

Me:

“Excuse me? You don’t know anything about my work in the industry?”

“No, I really don’t.”

“Have you performed an Internet search or anything?”

“Of course. But what I found appears to be, for the most part, fine art, which is not what we do.”

“I thought I was finished with commercial photography forever. Now I’m back in the mail room. Wow.”

Agent: [jumping in…]

“Jay has had an extraordinarily successful career, but he chose to let it go years ago in favor of fine art, mostly because he could afford to. But his desire to get back into it is great for you and your publication because he’s willing to offer you a free cover and editorial so you don’t have to bring in someone from New York… right, Jay?”

“Oh, absolutely.”

lol.

Fame, Power, Money and SEX in Entertainment

make-competition-irrelevant

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3754559/Fox-News-host-Andrea-Tantaros-files-suit-claiming-network-operates-like-sex-fueled-Playboy-Mansion-like-cult-Roger-Ailes-Bill-O-Reilly-unwanted-sexual-advances.html

Newsflash: It’s not just Fox, and it’s not just entertainment, but mostly entertainment because people who choose this route are most often dealing with some form of psychiatric disability.

This aside, when I was a budding young actor in NYC [and before i chose photography and writing], this kind of thing was commonplace.

If you wanted something, you have to surrender something – usually your dignity.

I mean, come on! You weren’t just asking for a job as a bagger at Whole Foods for god’s sake.

You wanted fame and fortune and everything that goes with it.

That was then.

The great thing about being older is that you can look back at all the shit you had to swallow to get ahead and know that no one will ever pull that shit on you again, not least of which because you’re no longer a hot 22-year-old model with your hands out.

Aniston Goes Nuclear at Middle Age

Jennifer-Aniston-People-Most-Beautiful-Woman-2016Jennifer Aniston is tired of being judged on her appearance.

I don’t blame her.

At some point we all bend over whether we like it or not.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3688255/PIERS-MORGAN-dear-Jennifer-fed-having-body-judged-stop-trying-make-look-Photoshop-perfect-magazine-covers.html

Bottom line here is you can’t have everything, always.

We get youth and beauty, but no money or experience.

Or we get them all at the same time, and then land in jail or rehab or dead.

But the way it usually works is we acquire money and experience over time, but fall apart physically, even if it just looks that way.

For people [like Ms. Aniston] who leveraged their looks to sell a brand, it’s a battle she will lose no matter how much she bitches about being objectified.

Nobody cares what her reaction to aging happens to be.

They only care about what she looks like, as she knows, hence the attitude.