Confessions of a Recovering Middle-Age Exercise Addict

6c261afc-e516-11e5-9142-f1bda08aded3Yea, I was there.

Thankfully, I lived to tell the tale.

The following is a true story and the world I describe is an accurate portrayal of addiction in motion.

~~~

While not a standalone DSM-5 disorder, exercise dependence is closely associated with individuals who struggle with eating disorders, for example.

Many use exercise as a way to compensate for binge eating (bulimia nervosa) by tacking on extra activity to compensate for all the empty calories. It’s not like they’re gorging themselves on chicken breasts and broccoli for God’s sake.

Those with anorexia [extreme caloric limitation] use exercise in a compulsive way to control their weight.

Medical complications from exercise dependence are legion: Cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes, absence of menstration, stress fractures, osteoporosis and other overuse injuries.

While some don’t suffering clinical eating disorders, they may still engage in compulsive exercise, spending excessive time engaged in physical activity in the name of health – or to ward off uncomfortable feelings – clinical depression high up on the list of usual suspects.

Typically, these individuals feel guilty when they miss a workout and experience signs of withdrawal, like irritability, anxiety, or depression when their exercise schedules are compromised.

In my world [successful middle-aged urban men], this is considered normal and healthy.

I’m joking of course.

The following are the most common signatures of exercise addiction among older men:

1] If I don’t work out all the time I’m going to fall apart like everyone else my age.

2] If I skip a day, I feel like crap…both physically and psychologically.

3] Though I’m in denial, existential pain is a bitch, and working out 5 hours a day is healthier than heroin.

4] I want people to be proud of me, respect me, give me something I can no longer find within myself, like youth. 

5] My marriage is falling apart. What do you expect?

6] I may be gay after all…at 40 or 50 or 60 or 70…

7] When people ask me why I’m always at the gym, I tell them “what else do I have to do?” In addiction-speak: My world is devoid of balance.

Okay, you get the point. 

So which exercises are most closely associated with addiction?

ANYTHING INVOLVING EXTREME ENDURANCE, LIKE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNING, SWIMMING AND CYCLING.

As everyone in their right mind knows, strength training in combination with flexibility work, cardiovascular conditioning for no more than an hour at a time, combined with a weekly recovery schedule is the healthy way forward for all aging athletes, not 10k runs in 90 degree heat…week after week after week.

And people wonder why most top athletes drop out of Hell Week of SEAL training – and these people are already top athletes in their early 20’s.

I know. Reality is a bitch.

~~~

I used to be one of those people, training 3 hours a day, 7 days a week, and nothing whatsoever to talk about but diet and exercise.

We tend to feed the addiction through camaraderie with other addicts.

In psych circles it’s known as codependency.

But whatever you call it, my little party was about to end.

One week after my 49th birthday, I awoke from a fitful night’s sleep with a raging fever of 102 with extreme inflammation from head to toe.

I knew right away that Tylenol wasn’t going to cut whatever this was,  so I dragged myself to a nearby emergency room where I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis [extreme muscle tissue breakdown that results in the release of a protein (myoglobin) into the blood], which can and will damage the kidneys if not contained.

Fortunately for me, I caught it just in time.

After I was stabilized, my personal physician and I had a heart to heart. he told me in no uncertain terms that I had to stay out of the gym for 30 days, get a personal trainer…and, if necessary, see a psychiatrist before it was too late.

I didn’t ask him to elaborate. I didn’t need to.

After a couple of weeks, the inflammation began to subside, but now depression took it’s place.

I felt like I was climbing out of my skin.

In drug addiction parlance, it’s referred to as the DT’s [drug withdrawal tremors].

While the actual symptoms are different, the downward spiral isn’t.

~~~

When I started with my trainer, the first lesson I had to learn was moderation.

This didn’t mean that my training wouldn’t be tough, but that it would take into account every aspect of what it means to be human.

1] I’m no longer 21.

2] Recovery is a critical component of performance. 

3] A balanced life is a life well lived. 

4] I will never be perfect, nor will anyone else. 

5] Life gives and takes, but mostly takes when you don’t respect its boundaries.

~~~

How did this happen to me?

It happened to me the same way it happens to everyone else: Over time exercise becomes a reliable escape from existential pain. 

You don’t have to take a pill or go to a therapist or even engage in discussions that lead to that rabbit hole of self awareness.

All you have to do is run, swim, bike, lift…crawl if you have to.

But nothing about extreme athletics is normal for anyone not involved in professional sports; particularly hitting the middle years and beyond.

After pulling through this nightmare myself, while at the same time losing close friends to exercise anorexia, I guess you could say I’m a bit resentful of the denial.

~~~

ARTICLES WORTH READING:

http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/treatment-for-eating-disorders/special-issues/athletes/long-distance-runners-high-risk-to-develop-eating-disorder

http://breakingmuscle.com/endurance-sports/endurance-training-is-bad-for-your-heart

http://www.businessinsider.com/is-short-intensity-exercise-better-than-endurance-training-2015-1

I could go on and on and on and on.

But I’ve known junkies who’ve wanted to kill me over a conversation, so for many, this is an exercise in futility.

Why Rich Older Guys Can’t Find the “Right” Women

sugar-baby-travel

The reasons men of means have difficulty finding true love has everything to do with them, and nothing whatsoever to do with the relative health of their investment portfolios.

~~~

The following is a conversation between yours truly and one of these men.

By the time you’re half way through it, you’ll understand the dilemma.

“John” is a nom de plume.

JOHN

“I just met this woman who is perfect! Perfect body, nice skin, teeth…and she has a perfect ass. A little flat on top, but I can fix that.”

ME

“Where did you meet her?

JOHN

At a really nice steakhouse. She was at the bar having drinks with a girlfriend.

ME

Is she from here?

JOHN

I think so. She’s in school.

ME

How old is she?

JOHN

33

ME

So she’s getting a graduate degree or something?

JOHN

I don’t know all of that, but she is really into fitness and wants to workout with me at the club.

ME

I’m sure she does. What does she do for a living? Does she have a job?

JOHN

Yea, she’s in medical sales or something like that. She’s really smart.

ME

I bet.

~~~

So this is how it all starts.

There’s a checklist that runs in the blood.

You’ll notice the same list in 22-year-old men who don’t have resources and children that must withstand their poor life choices.

Such men can ebb and flow with the tides, relatively unscathed.

But when an older man of means gets caught up in what feels like a rip current, it can drag his entire life straight to hell before he has time to repair the damage.

The point is older men of means have a tendency to forget their age and financial station relative to the women they choose to date.

In their minds, they’re still at Stanford, and the women are on a field in front of them carrying lacrosse rackets.

This is the delusion that settles in like virus and hides out in their spinal columns for the duration of their lives.

It’s incurable, but it can be contained.

Unfortunately, containing it is akin to death to many, so it just does what the hell it wants until there’s nothing left to do.

I can’t tell an older man that his choices are ass-backwards. He doesn’t want to hear it.

What he wants to hear is that a beautiful young woman of unknown origin and lifestyle will love him for who he is.

He wants it to all the be same way things were 30 years ago.

This is the psychopathology.

This is also why these men rarely – if ever – find the “right” women.

They don’t exist anymore than the person they were 30 years ago exists.

Now they’re standing at a steakhouse bar in the middle of a massive metropolis, hallucinating.

And who takes advantage of their hallucinations?

You guessed it.

5 Bullet Points of Note

1] Never choose a woman based solely upon her appearance thinking you can fix the rest of it. In her mind, the rest is not broken. You are.

2] If a woman in a steakhouse says she’s in school at 33, she is in class where you’re standing.

3] Your fantasies are public knowledge, which means that the women you meet have your number.

4] Line items are fine, but not particularly practical.

5] Imagine your world without money and then place that template over the women in your sights.

“Lyin’ Eyes” Reinterpreted

Don Henley was 28 when he and 27-year-old Glenn Frey wrote Lyin’Eyes.

The year was 1975.

The story goes that they were in their favorite LA restaurant/bar Dan Tana’s where they watched beautiful young women hitting on rich, older married men and decided to write about it.

From the vantage point of men in their 20’s, I can certainly understand their passionate disdain, as they felt entitled to the attention by virtue of youth alone.

Nonetheless, fast-forward to today’s urban world and I will comment on each verse from the perspective of an older man:

Henley/Frey

City girls just seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile
A rich old man
And she won’t have to worry
She’ll dress up all in lace and go in style

Comments:

City girls know exactly what they doing, which is why many of them are among the 1% without so much as a G.E.D., or discernible profession. 

Late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
And it breaks her heart to think her love is only
Given to a man with hands as cold as ice

Comments:

I have yet to meet a gold-digger who was unhappy in a 10 million dollar home. Not one. Furthermore, most don’t care what’s in a John’s heart, or even that he has one, as long as she gets to travel. Put another way, it’s a symbiotic relationship.

So she tells him she must go out for the evening
To comfort an old friend who’s feelin’ down
But he knows where she’s goin’ as she’s leavin’
She is headed for the cheatin’ side of town

Comments:

Most gold-diggers cheat. So what? As long as the John doesn’t find out what difference does it make? She’s still faithful to the arrangement.

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin eyes

Comments:

Most men I know set specific parameters like anyone running a successful enterprise. Applicants sign employment contracts and live within the parameters. 

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
With fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
‘Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel

Comments:

There will always be a boy somewhere waiting for pretty much anyone, anytime. It’s obviously not enough, so she parses.

She rushes to his arms; they fall together
She whispers that it’s only for awhile
She swears that soon she’ll be comin’ back forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile

Comments:

Unless he figures out how to make a bundle, he’ll only be a fleeting screw. Of course, most young guys who make a fortune when they’re young tend to go through women like water, so now who’s crying?

She gets up and pours herself a strong one,
And stares out at the stars up in the sky.
Another night, it’s gonna be a long one.
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry.

Comments:

This is the funniest thing I have ever read. Her head is sitting in a $20,000 french armchair with a glass of champagne. Nice try, though. 

She wonders how it ever got this crazy.
She thinks about a boy she knew in school.
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She’s so far gone she feels just like a fool.

Comments:

Lazy? Are you insane? Women like this work their butt’s off to live like this. What? You think money just falls from trees?

My oh my, you sure know how to arrange things.
You set it up so well, so carefully.
Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things?
You’re still the same old girl you used to be.

Comments:

Most insightful verse in the song. I’ve never known a gold-digger to change his or her stripes. 

As young men, even they could see that people are what they do.

Hair Loss Triggers Depression in Older Men [and women]

older-man-with-hair-loss-data

Fact: 75% of all men will suffer some degree of hair loss by age 60.

Fact: 50% of all women will experience some hair thinning by the age of 40, three-quarters by the time they are 65.

This is particularly bad news for Baby Boomers who make up the 51-70 demographic [1946-1964].

According to Dr Asim Shahmalak, Britain’s most respected and best-known hair transplant surgeons, hair loss can have devastating psychological consequences.

“Men and women alike, although it is mainly men who suffer, go through a series of psychological stages when their hair thins, he says. Broadly speaking these can be characterized thus: Shock – Denial – Anger – Depression – Acceptance, not dissimilar to any other life-changing episode.”

He goes on to tell the story of Mark Oaten, then a rising political star, who became mired in a sex scandal.

“Mr Oaten did not condemn the media, nor point to the pressures of life in the Westminister bubble, as he might reasonably have done and many before him have.
Instead, in an unusual and highly thought provoking response, he laid the blame for his behavior squarely at the door of a mid-life crisis occasioned, he said, by the loss of his hair.”

I’m not making this up.

Writing at the time in a compelling dispatch for the Sunday Times, Mr Oaten identified the loss of his hair as the trigger behind the increasing anxiety in his personal and professional life as an MP.

“Any television appearance would result in a barrage of emails, not about the issues I’d raised but about my lack of hair,” he admitted.

“Whether supportive or not, they all asked what had happened to my hair.”

He went on, “It’s perhaps not surprising that I became more and more obsessed by its disappearance. For me it was a public sign that my youth had ended.”

The loss of hair for men and women can be deeply traumatic. And trauma, however hard to gauge, can influence both happiness and behavior. No one should underestimate the affect hair loss can have.

‘Baldy’, ‘slaphead’, ‘bone dome’, all harmless banter, right? Hardly. The language of the schoolyard extends well beyond the boardroom.

I’m hardly one to argue in favor of political correctness, but people need to get a grip on the essential vulnerabilities human beings carry, especially things like hair loss, over which they have no control.

Self-confidence is of paramount important to well being. And once that confidence goes, it can be hard to regain, leaving both professional and personal life badly exposed.

According to Dr. Shahmalak, patients readily admit to worrying constantly about their thinning hair and tell him about the impact on their social lives:

“Innocent comments can be misinterpreted, the eyes of their friends seem drawn to their temples, everyone else has a full head of hair. Why not them? I don’t exaggerate.”

In a society where image has become so important, hair is crucial.

It also can be tougher for modern men than for previous generations because of the high number of mid-life relationship break-ups and divorce. This coupled with greater independence for women, and men are now under pressure to keep looking younger in later life.

This scenario isn’t without crosscurrents, however.

Having very short hair is often seen as more masculine – and there are some suggestions that baldness is linked with heightened virility.

There are plenty of poster-boy role models for the nervously-thinning male.

But if people fear the worst about getting bald, it can become part of a wider mid-life crisis, says business and social psychologist, Michael Gutteridge.

If a man has strongly identified with his appearance, then losing his hair can feel like a threat to his identity­ as it means he stops looking like the person he thought he was. This is more than just vanity.

 Dr Gutteridge says that it’s becoming increasingly common for business leaders to have cosmetic surgery, reflecting their need to send a visual message that they are still young and energetic.

Politics comes to mind.

Did you know that in the United Kingdom, no bald headed party leaders have won a general election since the television era began, perhaps reflecting the potent cocktail of associations that connects hair with power, attractiveness and vitality?

Even businessman and presidential candidate, Donald Trump, made reference to it when he stated, “it’s extremely important for all men to maintain a good head of hair.”

As for his hair, I’ll abstain from further comment.

 The Future Looks Good

Barry Stevens, general secretary of the Trichological Society, says in the foreseeable future there will be an effective way of preventing baldness using “tissue engineering” and cloning technology.

This would mean cultivating hair-growing skin from an original sample, which would be grafted back onto the scalp.

“This isn’t pie in the sky, there are tens of millions being pumped into research into this,” says Mr. Stevens. But once an effective technique is developed, he forecasts that this will become a massive industry.

I could have guessed that myself.

Mr. Stevens has been working in the hair industry for four decades and he is strongly dismissive of much of the hair loss merchandising on the market, particular products that claim to “re-grow” vanished hair.

Hairr transplants work for some people, he says, but little else is worth the money.

 “People are getting conned every day, charged thousands they can’t afford, going to hair clinics where they’re sold magic pills and creams that don’t work. I’m sickened by much of the industry, it is corrupt, full of charlatans.”

“If there were a safe and effective drug for re-growing hair it would be available from doctors, rather than adverts in the backs of newspapers,” he says.

But there is certainly a massive market for such hair revitalization, with an estimated 5.5 million websites dedicated to hair products.

This is because even though men might say they don’t care, losing hair can take the scissors to their self-confidence – and they’ll spend a great deal of money trying to turn back the tide, says Mr. Stevens.

It might not be apparent for many years, but the 100,000 hairs on a youthful male head begin to reduce in number almost as soon as men reach their teenage years.

The rate and extent of the hair loss is governed by genes, and Mr. Stevens says it’s a myth that men should look to their mother’s family for an indication of how their hair might recede.

Like hair color, patterns of balding can be inherited from either side of the family and from several generations back,­ which is why brothers can have completely different amounts of hair.

But what should a balding man say to a hairdresser? Honesty and a good close crop. The comb-over or any other cunning coiffure is not going to fool anyone.

Comments from men around the globe taken from an article published recently in the BBC:

I used to have long hair all my late teens and twenties and early thirties. So to discover it thin on top and receding a little, I have now shaved it with a razor. People are used to it now, but deep down I hate it and am depressed about it. I don’t want long hair for my age, but just a good head of hair so I don’t have to shave all the time. I don’t like any photos with me in, so I guess it’s a major problem with me. I have less confidence and think I’ll remain single.

Andy, Scotland

I used to have long flowing locks a la Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain in the ’90s now at 29 I’m a virtual skin head. I put it down to too much hair dye, late nights and a diet of fags and black coffee in my late teens and early twenties. I used to get far more abuse walking down the street because of having hair than I do now. A bald head makes you look well’ard!

Rob, Norwich

Isn’t hiring rent boys rather an odd way to assert your masculinity?

Chandra, London, England

Had a ponytail for a long time, then my hair began thinning on top. Created my own ‘Millenium Dome’ at the start of 2000, clipping it short all over and bald on top. Raised cash for charity too. It’s much easier to look after, I can trim it myself without small-talking with hairdressers about holidays, and it doesn’t bother me at all, though it gives my mates much amusement. Also it’s something to rub when you need to think hard! But you need a baseball cap when it’s very hot or cold. Anyone going bald – just get over it, it’s no big deal!

Jason Mills, Accrington, UK

I have two sons 20 and 23, both lost almost all their hair in their teens as did their grandfather. It hasn’t affected their attraction to the opposite sex, so I think these precious males have to accept that they just aren’t as attractive in middle age as they were in their youth – with or without hair.

Janet Georghiou, Windsor

As a balding man of 25, the concept of having a’solar panel for a sex machine’ on top of my head certainly appeals!

John Ferguson, Edinburgh

I’ll admit that I am slightly torn about the issue. Although part of me would love to salvage the few strands of hair left on my head and even get a few extra ones, at the end of the day, this ugly mug I was born with is mine, whether I like it or not. And I am not entirely convinced that a full head of hair would magically transform me into any kind of Adonis.

Steven, Shrewsbury

I was bald by the age of 21. Many women find it sexy, I find it convenient to clean-shave once a week rather than pay ridiculous amounts of money to have a hair-cut once a month. Never got me down, since I was never a stud so I have built my confidence based on my brains, not on my looks. Never really liked my hair anyway since it was curly and unmanagable.

Elias Kostopoulos, Athens, Greece

I’ve recently joined the bald gang as I approach 30. I had long hair for over 10 years, something crucial to a fan of heavy metal, but like life, it’s something to accept, deal with and move on. Buy yourself some hair trimmer and get with enjoying life, you ain’t dead yet!

Dave, Southampton

I started to lose my hair when i was in my early 20’s. I used to have a great head of hair and first noticed it thinning at the front when I was 21. By the time I started Uni at 23 it had become noticeable. Friends and family were kind saying it was my imagination. It really upset me and i used to wonder why it had started so young with me. I was always conscious of it and it nearly destroyed me. One day at around 27 years old i shaved it and i felt relieved. I did not have to hide it any more and was out in the open. I do think that it has harmed my chances with girls. I am not bad looking and never had to try too hard. Now I’m bald I have to try ten times harder than I used to. I have to develop all kinds of strategies. Its hard work!

Richard, London

I have two sons. One 48 years with a mass of hair. The other 39 years with a bald head. Their father/uncle/grandfather/grandmother/aunt/myself all have very thick hair so for some reason my youngest son has different genes. I must add that he has not had a problem with his lack of hair, unless he hides it well.

Doreen Whittaker, Surrey

I started losing my hair very early on, in my early 20’s. It did have a depressing affect on me, as I thought that I was no longer as attractive as I had been. Looking back, I can’t believe what an arrogant and vain prat I was. The turning point finally came when I bought some electronic clippers and shaved it all off. I felt better, there was no chance of me resorting to a comb-over and my self-esteem went up again. I’ve never looked back since then. And I’m getting married next year!

Marc Jones, Chingford, London, UK

I agree that we must be honest about baldness. You can’t really fool anyone. Sure it is great to have a full head of hair, but most men don’t after a certain age. I’ve seen all sorts of silly cures here (Malaysia) and nothing works, snake oils and all sorts. The key is to look at yourself in a positive way … be bold and bald … some find this attractive! It is also far more comfortable, a close crop makes me feel better than a length of locks. There is plenty of successful bald men, just stay away from british politics though.

Bill, Malaysia

It’s perfectly acceptable for a man to lose his hair, whatever his age…. provided he keeps what’s left very short. The men that attempt to cover it up, just highlight the fact and draw attention to it! A lot of men look more attractive with a shaven head.

Rachel, Southampton

What an absolute load of tosh, using losing ones hair as an excuse for insecurity. I started losing my hair in my early 20’s and just accepted is as part of life. It’s caused no crisis the conscious effect it had was it made me go for a shorter hairstyle. Now some 30 years later that I’m almost totally bald I just have my remaining hair cropped every few weeks. People who have ‘issues’ with hair loss are, in my opinion, using the hair loss as an excuse for a deeper insecurity.

Paul Ostermeyer, Milton Keynes, UK

My partner has a bald head and looks better now than he did as a youngster. I find it very attractive in a man. It’s a bold statement and although not always a choice for men, gives them more masculinity to their image. If your bald, don’t cover it up. There are lots of women like myself who adore the look!

Angela Ross, Sandhurst Berkshire

At 49 my hair is still long and thick. I have the most negative comments about it from balding or bald males. Do I care – nah!

Martyn Hlman, York

Summary

 In my world, having a full head of hair pales in comparison to having a full load of cash. Financial security renders the issue moot. And while having both is better, I have never once heard any woman complain about her husband’s hair loss when travelling on a private jet.

Furthermore, when assessing a dating candidate, most women I know look at a man’s financial shape, followed closely by his physical condition, and pretty much ignore the rest.

In the end, they just don’t care enough to make a difference. In fact, a little hair loss may be just what the doctor ordered as it will make whatever the woman feels a bit insecurely about balance the scales.

‘Dad Bod’ Coming to a Store Near You!

30C0BA1000000578-3425007-image-m-39_1454237321408Mattel’s new ‘Dad Bod’ doll…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3425007/Where-s-Dad-Bod-Ken-Twitter-calls-plastic-doll-beer-belly-Mattel-s-curvy-new-Barbie-unveiled.html

One of the many sacrifices we health-oriented older men make is the enjoyment of eating bad things that taste good. 

To us, food is fuel. Nothing more.

I know. Depressing, right?

Not really.

See, the payoff is not looking [and feeling] like a Mattel ‘Dad Bod’ doll.

For those of you who don’t already know, ‘Dad Bod’ is the physical representation of what the typical middle-aged man looks like.

Of course, I don’t know any of these people personally because I live in a big city.

Here, pot bellies constitute Class-A misdemeanors, punishable by hard time at a “wellness” center that specializes in testosterone implants, orals and injectables, coupled with psychiatric counseling for clinical depression.

However, in smaller places where appearance and good health are secondary to gluttony and death in slow motion, being too fit after a certain age is a Class-A felony.

 

Dennis Quaid at 61

0105-dennis-quaid-ripped-hawaii-akmgsi-4http://www.tmz.com/2016/01/05/dennis-quaid-abs-photo/

Dennis Quaid is 6’0″, #175 at what looks to be well below 10% body fat.

By comparison, I’m 6’1″, #230 at 13% body fat, which places me in the top 1% of my age group.

Most people consider this extraordinarily fit.

But I’m not shredded like a slab of turkey jerky, and herein lies the rub.

See, in order to put on – and hold – lean muscle mass at less then 10% body fat [at age 61!], you’ll need help of the preternatural kind.

To wit, Quaid has more lean, angular mass on his shoulders and arms than any man his age can normally produce without “help.”

I’m not accusing him of steroid use because I don’t know him. Maybe he’s a genetic freak. I’ve seen a few in my day.

For everyone else, pulling off tons of lean mass with low body fat is impossible without tinkering with testosterone levels.

What? You think we’re immortal?

Since when do men our age look like Quaid?

Some of you may consider him too lean, too small…kind of ragged, wasted even.

But for men who want this look, it can be acquired at “wellness” clinics and individual physicians operating throughout the United States.

REALITY

1] If you want to perform at levels similar to what you achieved at age 30, you will need a lot more than hard work coupled with a hope and a prayer. 

2] I’m not judging, just exposing the truth.

3] You have to decide if the consequences of steroid use are worth the risks.

4] Denial is the mother of delusion.

5] I don’t care how Dennis Quaid chooses to live his life. His job is to entertain, not inspire.

Just trying to keep it real around here.

Is Youth, In Fact, Wasted on The Young?

1251869-pink-floyd-reunions-617-409Hardly.

Does anyone actually believe that a bunch of rich and entitled Baby Boomer rock stars could create The Dark Side of the Moon?

The following is a list of 10 Boomers who followed a similar fate:

1] David Bowie

2] Mick Jagger

3] Eric Clapton

4] Robert Plant

5] Jimmy Page

6] Bob Dylan

7] Billy Joel

8] Elton John

9] Alice Cooper

10 Neil Young.

Obviously, there’s something to be said for youth and immortality, in spite of the contradiction in terms.

Louis Vuitton Appeals to Upscale Baby Boomers With Music

Bowie

http://superhypeblog.com/music/how-louis-vuitton-appeals-to-upscale-baby-boomers-with-music

Baby Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964.

If you’re a member, you’re somewhere between the ages of 51 and 69.

So juveniles by today’s standards.

Many of us sit squarely in the middle, which means we’re either in – or fast approaching – our 60’s.

We’re in shape, financially independent, technologically savvy.

What better than to appeal to an affluent demographic that has become increasingly larger and more important as our population ages?

In an historical context, we’ve set new precedents, as people our age were, at one time, either dead or walking billboards for Mr. Rogers.

That was then.

Now, thanks to designers like Louis Vuitton [and others, like John Varvatos], we can finally buy clothing that feels the way clothing felt back in the days when we were young, rebellious and filled with hope and promise.

It was a brilliant move.

Louis Vuitton has strategically positioned itself as a classic, upscale choice for the affluent Baby Boomer generation.

No wonder my wardrobe collection looks a lot like it did back in 1978.

Brace yourself for an Aspen makeover, as people start looking a lot like they did back when when they couldn’t afford it – not to mention good concert tickets to see David Bowie.

Okay, so in addition to Vuitton, here are my top favorite designers for men [in no particular order]:

Vince

Alexander McQueen

Belstaff

Dolce  & Gabbana

Armani

Prada

Gucci

James Perce

John Varvatos

Maison Margiela

Saint Laurent

Hudson Jeans

Ralph Lauren [Black label]

…and of course, Converse.

Why [some] Middle-Aged White Americans Are Dying Before Their Time

BBmLL3U.img© Credit: Peter Hince/Getty Images Man at Sea Side Holding Bottle of Beer, Mid Section Credit: Peter Hince/Getty Images

What you’re looking at is a cliche that massacres every tenet of urban survival.

You know what I’m talking about.

This notwithstanding, I know very few middle-aged men who look like this guy.

Most of us have too much self-respect to allow ourselves to fall into complete ruin.

I might also add that I live in a very small world, given the the preponderance of obesity in America.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/middle-aged-white-americans-are-dying-more-than-they-should-be/ar-BBmLBvP?li=BBgzzfc

In a nutshell, this study [see article] concludes that middle-aged Americans, classified as those between the ages of 45 and 54 – emphasis on those with less education – were more likely to die in middle age due to suicide or alcohol and drug poisoning.

The culprit, according to the study, is the 2008 financial collapse.

But the study also found that black, Hispanic and all other older Americans (65 and up) have continued to see longer lives.

Why is this?

The article doesn’t address it, but I can: Money.

In other words, if you weren’t screwed completely in 2008, you’re probably going to live a long healthy life.

6 KEY ELEMENTS

It’s been my experience that 6 key elements must be in place in order for an older man to stay at the top of his game.

…and all of them are tangentially related to money.

So here goes [surprise surprise]:

1] Financial security

Notes: Money is always thicker than blood. It’s first in line followed closely by everything else.

You’ll need enough to cover the cost of a nice place to live, a reliable car, a health club membership…and, of course, Whole Foods.

The rest of your life can take care of itself if Whole Foods doesn’t break you first.

2] Supportive wife or partner

Notes: If you’ve been married a long time and your wife is out of shape, she will probably want you to be out of shape so she doesn’t have to worry about being dumped.

This is a bigger problem than you might imagine and a bigger hurdle than many of you will even want to consider after seeing #1.

3] Healthy lifestyle

Notes: Wife/partner or not, a healthy lifestyle is the only way to age well. Not aging well is not worth the ride. It’s also 10 times the cost.

4] Culture group that supports and encourages your objectives

Notes: People who live healthy lifestyles tend to hang around others who share their values.

If the group you’re in begins to remind you of your own demise, find another group. 

Remember, life doesn’t give a crap what you do. It only sees the bottom line.

Any psychiatrist will tell you this for $200.00, but you’ll have to be able to fork over $200.00, plus additional therapy if coping with not having enough becomes a problem.

5] Comfort with technology

Notes: Generally speaking, the older men I know are very comfortable with technology.

While this may stand out as incongruous with the previous 4 bullet points, it’s everything but.

While technology helps keep us relevant, being on a first name basis with the people at the Apple store can be as expensive as gambling addiction.

6] Don’t isolate

Interacting with others is crucial to one’s mental health.

Some guys talk about leaving everything behind and heading off into the sunset on a wing and a prayer.

Of course, Icarus tried the same thing and it didn’t end well.

icarus_mcalister1

I guess he couldn’t afford therapy.

John Varvatos Sparks Revolution in Fashion Nostalgia

John-Varvatos-Sunglasses-Bio1

John Varvatos was born February 1, 1966, which means he missed the Baby Boom by 2 years.

Note: Baby Boom lasted from 1946-1964.

This notwithstanding, he captures the spirit of my generation better than any designer in memory. Period.

~~~

As I gotten older I seem to grow closer to my roots.

I guess it’s true what they say about early impressions being the strongest.

Most therapists would be willing to corroborate this for $200.00, by the way.

Anyway, my deepest passions were those rooted in music, specifically, rock ‘n’ roll.

Why this is I don’t know, because while others were off playing soccer, I sat in dark rooms with electric guitars and vinyl records, playing and replaying Clapton licks, among others.

My dorm room was plastered with glossy posters of Ozzy, Zeppelin, The Who, Cream, Hendrix and other musical gods of the day.

Empty packs of guitar strings were scattered all over the place, picks even worse.

I think it’s safe to say my adolescence was experienced through the fulcrum of music.

Then time passed, decades, and here I find myself with the same music, the same string and keyed instruments, and library of music I can’t live without.

So one day I’m walking through The Galleria in Houston when I happen upon the new John Varvatos store.

Feeling transported back to a place where it all started is to grossly understate the experience.

Joplin’s “Down On Me” was in the air, rock biographies neatly stacked on shelves under framed film photographs of rock stars.

and the clothing!

Wow.

Seriously?

Could this really be?

Did I actually find my long lost home in the world of John Varvatos?

At this writing my closet looks like his showroom, with a few exceptions, very few.

Once I got my hands on those threads 90% of my clothing went the way of the wind.

Finally a designer was channeling the same vibe.

Though my career has been spent as a photographer and writer, nothing keeps me more tethered to myself than music.

Obviously, I’m not alone.

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Brilliant ad. Generations merged.