RUN.

 

Sometimes life gets under my skin, makes it kind of crawl and I want to run … from everything.

I visualize someplace remote, devoid of human life.

It’s just me and the animals, the water, the rocks and endless natural vistas, like sliding into a movie I created for myself to live in forever.

This mindset is not uncommon, and it isn’t insanity, though it can feel a lot like it.

It happens when I get burned out, or spend too much time comparing myself to Nobel laureates.

People at “wellness” clinics diagnose this as low-T  [with or without a blood test] and prescribe 1 CC of testosterone with HGH and 2 or 3 other cocktail items to balance out the side effects while keeping my mood in line with the way it was at age 17.

I could go down this road with you, but you already know the punchline.

The point here is that as I get older, I experience depression directly tied to aging.

Some say it isn’t depression at all, but sadness that life is flying by so quickly at a time where guys like me can afford to do whatever the hell we want [within reason].

But we also have more time to reflect back on my life, which most know isn’t a particularly healthy thing to do when it turns into a kind of comparison.

I was once 21 with the world in front of me.

Now I’m 62 with the best of it – at least physically – behind me.

In other words, my script’s already been written.

It’s not like I can’t still write the Great American novel, or dead-lift 500 pounds. But people tend to pay more attention when you do all of this at 25.

That alone makes it newsworthy because now the future’s a blinding, endless saga into existential bliss.

This aside, at this stage in life that we men have to figure out how to balance the realities of where we are and then come to a place of acceptance and peace.

This is easier said than done because it requires self-actualization, which is kind of like obsessing about actuarial tables.

Think of it as a complex equation where all the data points are separated from one another and placed under a microscope.

If you’ve never done this, I’d advise you find a padded room for your first go round.

Then you can move on to wide open spaces, which is where I am now.

Today, at least. This is, after-all, a kind of waking journal.

 

Reality Robustus […or, a germ stole my thunder]

Since my last post [forever ago in the context of instant and immediate everything], I have been immersed in a new book project that’s drawn most of my available energy, which was already in short supply after coming down with the flu this past December. My particular strain has its own designation, H3N2. Some on the Internet tell me it’s an interstellar bug that escaped government protection, while others claim the government manufactured it to use on millennials. Either way, the shit got loose and found a home in a Baby-Boomer.

The lingering effects are legion: Fatigue, weakness, low appetite, cough, airway irritation that affects how long you can be active, loss of sense of smell [which in rare cases becomes permanent], and, in my case, you can tack on paranoia, depression, nightmares and mild dissociative states…among others.

Anyway, once the worst of it had passed, my idea was to take things slowly, not try to rush back to the gym until my stamina was rebuilt. At this writing, however, I’m still waiting.

When I was 23 the flu was an abstraction. I got sick, hung out at home, healed in three days, and met friends out for celebratory drinks. I won. There were no extenuating circumstances, no complications, nothing I gave much consideration to because none of it was particularly relevant. Nobody died back then, at least not until they were too old to live, which was fine since we all agreed that growing that old was like experiencing death in slow motion.

Now I see the extenuating circumstances, the potential for complications, and the shorter life expectancy in real time.

Having run down all of this down with you, I’m not dying. I didn’t contract cancer or have a stroke or brain aneurism or spinal injury. I got the flu and developed psychiatric problems from extended exposure to Webmd.com.

The point in all of this is that at this stage of life you’re in a steady state of low-level paranoia, coupled with reflection and denial. Put another way, what’s reflected is usually denied. So you have to come to a place of acceptance, which requires decades of therapy.

You’re no longer physically beautiful, unless of course, you’re Robert Plant, which you’re not. And death is closer than ever, virus or no virus. Your sense of relevance is constantly under siege no matter what you did to become the person you are which, like I said, is closer to death. For many of you this is the end of mental health, especially you guys on the precipice of 50 squeezing out that last hurrah before staring down the barrel of aesthetic annihilation. One steroid shot after the next, week after week, in tandem with the endless runs, swims, bike rides and weight training sessions that collectively earn one that bronzed wrap, star white teeth and endless string of broken marriages, all in favor of the drug of self. Your time is around the corner. Buckle up.

So here I am, starting the New Year with a bang. In truth, I have nothing to bitch about that doesn’t embarrass me. I have financial security, a family of animals…and a wonderful, loving and reasonably sane woman half my age that puts up with me. What’s not to love?

In this spirit, my blog posts begin anew for 2018.

MORALS OF THE STORY

1] Money does, in fact, buy happiness as long as you’re physically healthy, which money enables you to maintain.

2] Psychiatry is a noble profession.

3] Looks fade, but not heart. In this sense, relevance is eternal.

Can a 61-Year-Old Man Get Big and Ripped Without STEROIDS?

jk-simmons-steroids JK Simmons, 61. Yea I know. It’s tough to recognize him.

 

jk-simmons-whiplash-650x325

This is the guy you’re probably familiar with, a bit younger, and before all the steroids. Still very fit, but not totally insane!

~~~

So what in god’s name does JK Simmons eat for breakfast? Steroids.

What does JK Simmons eat for lunch? Steroids.

What does JK Simmons eat for dinner? Steroids. 

And in case you’re wondering what in the hell JK Simmons is getting so jacked for, apparently it’s for his new “Justice League” role.

~~~

Most of you are familiar with the concept of reincarnation, but at my gym, it’s taken quite literally for good reason.

Average guys you’ve seen around the gym for years – decades in some cases – suddenly reappear, almost unrecognizable, with muscle chiseled like Italian marble, and attitudes to match.

No longer are they just some office guy with a wife, two children and a chronic headache.

Now they’re a Marvel Comics character, performing enormous feats of strength overnight, while shedding bodyfat and building huge mass at the same time.

How does this happen? How does such tremendous transformation in size and attitude occur at such an alarming rate?

How do you think?

How does a distance athlete, for example, maintain so much mass and leanness burning tens of thousands of calories a week — without any strength training?!?

S T E R O I D S

There is NO OTHER WAY to accomplish this feat of preternatural transformation without help from big pharma.

Am I knocking steroid use? Hell no. I’m just calling bullshit on those who refuse to admit the obvious.

Older men of means, and particularly the more vain among us, do not wish to fade out slowly.

They want to run hard, play hard, and look good at any and all cost – cost being the operative word because nothing in life is free, and I’m not talking about the cost of medication.

~~~

What’s fueling all of this is a loophole in the medical industry that allows physicians to deal steroids under the auspices of hormone replacement therapy.

It’s been going on for many, many years, and finally, the advertising has paid off.

Now any Internist with an average practice can become a multi-millionaire dealing testosterone, HGH and a litany of other related drugs to affluent older patients who want another shot at youth.

This is considered normal in many circles, mine included.

~~~

I bring all this up because most everything you ever read on the Internet about older men achieving these super-human physiques through hard training, diet and rest is absurd.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be fit and strong at 60.

What it does mean, however, is that without drugs, you’ll have to lower the baseline if you’re interested in getting anywhere close to reality without blowing your brains over a goal no human can otherwise achieve. 

~~~

PHYSICIANS CATCH ON TO THE GRAVY TRAIN

I remember just a few years ago when money started drying up for physicians that alternative income sources started popping up all over town.

Most of them were Botox and Juvederm parties where Internists, for example, would invite 100 of their friends over for injections over cocktails at $500 a pop.

If the parties were big enough, they would offer greater discounts.

This went on for a while until a new breed of doctors started offering testosterone to their patients with “low-testosterone.”

The market for testosterone was ten times more lucrative because it required weekly injections, rather than injections once every two years.

Making things even better for them is the fact that patients don’t have to take blood tests, just have a conversation with the physician about how you don’t feel at 60 the way you did at 25.

Slam dunk.

Too Much Rumination Is Costly, Believe Me

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Okay, so I’ve been on the road a while –– business meetings, photo-shoots, family gatherings and such, so posting to this blog has not been my first priority, though I’m told by mental health professionals that it should be.

They always tell you this because thinking too little is bad for their business model.

Thus, ruminate as little as possible if you want to avoid therapy bills.

I’ll leave it at that. Like I said, I’m on the road.

Back shortly…

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.

How to Combat Aging: Real World Strategies

how-to-slow-aging-process-1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-krauss-whitbourne/combat-ageism_b_9720708.html

Coming from someone who has handled the aging process about as well as a chicken about to be thrown into a jet turbine to test its ability to vaporize it without stalling, you will disintegrate to one degree or another no matter how much you spend, how much you do, or how much genetics are in your camp.

Live the perfect stress-free life, visit Aspen every 5 minutes, get daily massages, mud packs, holistic body treatments, facial fillers, Botox injections, face lifts, collagen, but no matter what you do, you can’t beat the shit out of time.

The best you can do is look better than your neighbors, which is something you can always count on at HOA meetings no matter how depressed you are about everything else.

Aside from the aforementioned obvious, there is a deeply psychological consequence of aging in we men that involves our primal role as protectors.

In short [because I know you don’t want to read a psych lecture], when men begin to feel physically challenged, their self-esteem hits the floor. And even when we are in exemplary condition for our age, we are always and forever looking back at where we once were. It’s inevitable. We all do it. And we all feel like crap about it no matter how much we are still able to do.

But there are a few things we can do to put an end to the misery, or, at least, hold it in abeyance while we get back into therapy.

Here they are:

1] Try to feel optimistic about aging.

Yea, right. There is nothing to look forward to about aging. Nothing. You’re just here. The best you can do is make the most of what’s left. So no, I’m not a fan of being older.

Is there any good news?

There is some:

      a] You get into fewer fistfights because younger men don’t consider you an equal match anymore than they do women.

      b] You have more money, so you can buy women who would not otherwise date you.

      c] People hold the door for you unlike the old days when they let it slam you in the face.

     d] There are planned communities filled with people your age, and with beach views.

      e] You get prescription drug discounts.

     f] People tell you how great you look when it’s not true.

      g] Young people look at you like you’re completely insane when you talk to them, but they still allow you to do it because they’re no longer afraid of you.

     h] The first person police question are the young adults. 

      i] Nobody expects much of you in the gym, so when you are reasonably competitive you get more kudos than you can count.

      j] Forgetting your own phone number is considered normal, and therefore, will not affect you job prospects since you’re not applying.

2] Avoid “senior moment” traps at all cost.

Never discuss your minor health issues to anyone but your physician or personal trainer. No one else your age wants to be reminded of where they are, and younger people dismiss you as irrelevant. It’s their way of squashing what they consider to be an existential threat, mainly because it is.

Instead, allude to what you’ve accomplished in your life and what your next adventure will be.

3] Have your affairs in order, but don’t bring this up in casual conversation under any circumstances, including all of them. 

One guy in my gym started talking about his living will and suddenly he had no one to talk to. Still doesn’t.

4] Understand and embrace technology.

Frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t understand technology other than people in their 80’s. This is an even greater reason to make sure you are still of this world.

5] Ignore people will call you out on your age.

You’re going to get this at some point or another — the ribbing about where you are versus where you once were. Ignore it. Move on.

Getting upset about it will validate everything they just said.

Their time is coming.

6] There’s a “fountain of youth” clinic on every street corner [you best avoid]. 

You’re vulnerable, too hopeful for your own good. And for every soft target there are predators waiting to pounce on your insecurities.

My advice is to find a great Internist, stay in the best shape of your life, and keep your expectations in check.

If you check too many boxes you’ll start experiencing life through the eyes of a once great athlete who thinks he has another season in him, even if no one else thinks so, including his coaches and physicians.

~~~

when i allow it to be
there’s no control over me
i have my fears
but they do not have me

Peter Gabriel, Darkness

Baby Boomer Suicide Rate Rising [as funds for concubines dries up]

ymi_two_girls_one_security_guard

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/baby-boomer-suicide-rate-rising-031515

The recent Great Recession was hard on almost everyone, but especially baby boomers [generation born between 1946-1964] who had decades of savings to invest.

Side note: Money is supposed to fill in all the existential angst after life exacts its pound of flesh and leaves us with less physical relevance. 

Thus, it’s no surprise that a rising number of middle-aged people of that generation resorted to suicide as the weight of economic problems overwhelmed them.

Since that time baby boomers have had the highest rate of suicide of any age group in the United States, which is interesting given the fact that people between the ages of 40 and 64 have historically had one of the lowest rates.

Add to this conundrum the fact that baby boomers are now sliding head long into the over-65 demographic, which is ground zero for historically high suicide rates.

Put another way, if you don’t have money at this writing, you’re pretty much screwed.

According to the article, since the beginning of the Great Recession, 8.8 million jobs were lost, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Middle-aged people were disproportionately affected in terms of lost property value, household finances, and lost retirement savings.

Twenty-seven percent of those aged 50 to 64 experienced reduction in salaries, higher than any other age group.

On a related note, of those baby boomers who committed suicide from 2005 to 2010, 81 percent had prior mental health or substance abuse problems.

Although suicides for baby boomers could level out as the economy improves, experts say the fact this generation is entering older age is worrisome.

So now even if you have money, you’re too old to really enjoy it.

The key is not to let things get to a point of escalation. When people are suicidal, they’re rigid and not thinking clearly.

Dr. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says, “The key is not to let things get to a point of escalation. When people are suicidal, they’re rigid and not thinking clearly.”

But she is wrong. They are thinking very clearly, which is the problem.

How do you talk an 80-year-old man without money out of hanging himself?

It doesn’t make sense. The man is thinking quite rationally, in my view. What’s the point of going on if you’re broke, and, for all intents and purposes, broken physically?

Is there any hope?

Not really.

From personal experience, I can give you 10 things older men [those over 65] can do to dramatically improve their mental health –– but we’re talking about older men who don’t have to worry about their next meal.

For such men, hope is everywhere because they can afford it.

More specifically, here are 10 ways to insure that it sticks around a long time:

1] Hit the gym on a daily basis, interact with people, and reduce stress. Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria without heroin. It also boosts self-esteem by providing a sense of physical relevance and self-possession that other older men lose along the way.

2] Check your testosterone levels. At this stage of the game “normal” levels probably aren’t enough. So boost them. Even if it leads to premature death, what the hell difference does it make is all you’re doing is dying in slow motion?

3] Be sexually active. If you’re bored with your wife, figure out how not to be bored with her. If she’s not interested, hire a surrogate wife. Many women I know provide “girlfriend experiences” with a full rate schedule they keep on Ipads. Many keep them in their gym bags. And for God’s sake, get a scrip for ED medication if you think you need it. Most 25-year-olds are using it, so why not you?

 4] Don’t shy away from cosmetic improvements. If your teeth look like crap, fix them. If your jaws are hanging like liver from the sides of your face…facelift! Then there are fillers, micro-dermabrasion…I could go on. Just do it.

5] If you drive a Buick la Sabre, I can’t help you. 

2005-Buick-LeSabre_14745

 

6] Do something you’ve always wanted to do, but for whatever reason haven’t. Nobody’s going to care if you decide to go back-packing in Yosemite after spending 40 years behind a desk. 

 7] When was the last time you went clothes shopping? Seriously. Most older men look old because they dress like people who should already be dead. Thus, I suggest you let your “girlfriend” decide what to buy. Pink pleated pants and golfing shirts are now customary attire for the dead at wakes, fyi.

8] Spend time around younger people whenever possible. It has been demonstrated time and time again that people become conditioned to their surroundings, which should not include graveyards and hospitals.

9] Stop talking about your aches and pains, and for God’s sake avoid the obituaries. Nobody wants to hear about your aging joints because only old people have aching joints no matter how ridiculous this sounds. And talking about the death of anyone but, for example, an otherwise youthful and healthy downhill skier is a buzzkill.  

10] If you take yourself way too seriously and can’t remember the last time you laughed, you’re like the guy with the Buick.

I’ll give you 10 more in upcoming blogs…

The 60’s All Over Again

ariot66

Flash-back to a time in history where members of the counterculture movement expressed their beliefs about property ownership by destroying others ’ property, building fences around said property, and living in communes with shared possessions.

Yea, that went well.

Today the same dynamic exists.

The human food chain marches on, fueled by those who proclaim solidarity with “duh people” only to steal it by using them as leverage and then consolidating personal power at their expense.

People fall for this crap all the time, which begs the question, why have they not been bred out of the human gene pool?

Back in the the day, the ones who survived all the street riots and general unrest went on to make fortunes, built mansions with walls and security cameras, and kick everyone out but hired help and mistresses.

So basically, nothing’s changed.

How Gold-Diggers Parse Love

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The following account is real.

I bring this to you not because it news, but because it’s not:

~~~

Man:

Did you ever really love me?

GD:

Honestly, the first year of our relationship I was very much in love with you. We traveled all over the world, stayed in beautiful hotels, dined at great restaurants. It was wonderful. Then your business went downhill and we stopped doing things.

Man:

We stopped traveling but we still did things. 

GD:

What things? We mostly stayed at home and watched movies.

Man:

So you were in love with the lifestyle.

GD:

You were the lifestyle.

~~~

Understand that many men are simply incapable of falling in love with any woman who doesn’t satisfy an exacting set of physical standards.

The problem is that gold-diggers have those standards etched into the fabric of their DNA, so they hold all the cards.

And people wonder why so many affluent older men become trapped in vicious cycles of defeated expectations, as they try to get “perfect” women to love them for who they are.

In my world, fortunes come and go every day, mostly under these circumstances.

Aging is a weird thing. We learn more about a lot of things, but the basics never change: love, lust, money, but in the reverse order.

 

The “Old Man” and the Motorcycle

Memorial-Day3-580x464Nothing quite says midlife crisis like the Harley Davidson Motorcycle, right?

Another day, another stereotype.

I’m accused of being in the midst of one for many reasons, not least of which being that I have a young girlfriend.

1] It’s all about money.

2] He’s intimidated by women his own age.

3] He’s a narcissist who can stomach his own reflection.

yada yada …

It never ends.

Not to bury the lead, I don’t own a motorcycle – but I find it interesting on many levels.

For one thing, I like it’s group nature. It’s an activity – and for many, lifestyle – that people of all socioeconomic backgrounds can share.

And it’s also damn manly in the traditional sense most men think of it. Think Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.

I think of it as an antidote to the PC virus.

I’m also drawn to the sense of adventure, hanging out with a bunch of guys who, after decades of work, family and Little league, are finally able to bond once again over beer and broads.

It’s an adult rite of passage where the holy “hog” unlocks the key to death with dignity for all, the penultimate send-off into oblivion, finger in the wind at the Devil’s Crossroads.

Come on, tell me you’re not intrigued.

One last shot at youthful defiance.

Don’t tell me you don’t watch those old Zeppelin videos on YouTube in the dead of night.

A 2010 market study by J. D. Power & Associates discovered that the average motorcyclist in the United States is a man who is about 50 years old, and Forbes Magazine confirms that the “sweet spot” for motorcycle buyers is the mid 40s to the early 50s. The problem is especially acute for Harley Davidson, as the 109 year-old company has a customer base that is almost as old as it is. It may just be an urban legend that Harley handlebars are now designed to comfortably support a beer belly during a ride, but it makes sense, given the fact that most older men [not to mention younger men] are out of shape.

Nonetheless, “Google” searches turn up ad after ad of sexily clad young women and handsome, fit young men to fuel the fantasies of middle-aged guys. Motorcycle manufacturers lure older buyers with a promise of a return to their youth and vitality: Male bystanders watch with a mixture of respect and envy, as the women of the town are smitten by the eye candy rolling into town. The riders wink at the ladies and act like the masters of all that they beheld, since they could now afford the luxury of motoring slowly through town.

Yea, and everything else in the universe is also reduced to a cultural stereotype.

My point in all of this is, WHO CARES?

If a guy wants to ride a motorcycle after spending his life chasing the dollar let him have his 2nd Summer.

I agree that Harley’ are loud and obnoxious. So is my stereo system.

Getting older is a drag, folks. We’re gonna act out.

This is because there’s not a damn thing we can do about universal absolutes, so we will absolutely, positively garnish the journey to make the ride smoother.

I might add that many guys ride for charities, raising lots of money for good causes. Others just for the hell of it. So what?

These guys are tough enough to deflect your punchlines, ageist stereotypes, and general ridicule.

Time Magazine in June of 2014, wrote “It’s bike night at the Harley-Davidson Museum near downtown Milwaukee . . . bike night in Milwaukee sure looks like Old White Guy’s Night.”

Green with envy.

~~~

Life is supposed to have a beginning, a middle and an end. The same ones, usually.

But for many, myself included, the story arcs are backwards.