“Father, I lied…to my entire army of muscles. I told them they’d be strong forever, to relax. They’ll work when I need them. They liked that. They knew me. Work was years away, if ever.”
“So they stretched out and hung around…over my stomach, under my arms, where my pects used to be. And then they fell asleep.”
FLASH FORWARD: Hey! Soldier cells! Wake up! I’m old! Tighten me up! Anywhere!
Huh? Where’d they go?
“Father, I’m in crisis. I ignored muscle-decline like people dismiss climate change. I am not the man I used to be. I’m softer, wider, eroded, and I feel the shame.”
(Okay…maybe not shame. I’m Jewish. I feel guilt!)
And it all started by denying that GOOD THINGS CAN CHANGE.
And as they did, I told myself (maybe you did too) that change is a very slow natural process and cannot be controlled. Anyway, there will always be enough of whatever I want.
SO STARTED THE DECLINE – of my body, of the rest of the world: a few floods here, wind storms there, and my pants suggested the next size up.
Eventually I was forced to admit Mr. Change had come to town. But he was just a knock on the door and I could still tuck my tummy into trousers. Who needs exercise with tight enough pants?
And THIS my friend, is how the strategy is set: (and I’m quoting M. Jagger here)
“Time, time, time…it’s on my side. Yes it is.”
Never do today what you can put off to tomorrow.
In the meantime, let’s thank the Lord for ice cream, single malt scotch and an occasional downpour of much needed rain. There’s still time to coast. And so we do, until…
The system collapses even more: the weather and my little body.
I look around. Wow! Where did the rain go? Where did my strength go? And my 31 inch waist? And my 155 pounds? I ain’t so little anymore!
I want it all back! Can I get it? Can you? How about a full field of corn or enough heart power to run a mile?
Sure. It’s all doable. We’ll make adjustments…starting tomorrow.
There’s always tomorrow, until there isn’t, when it’s too late to suck in a gut that’s too big to suck back. Smaller belts won’t hold the bulge because your stomach knows where to find relief even if you don’t – ABOVE that belt, which has now dropped to four inches over your groin. And you look pregnant.
Of course, taking responsibility for your global expansion would mean a good look in the mirror. But you don’t do that, except to tie a tie, which now wraps around a sixteen and a half inch collar.
When did this happen?
You know when this happened. Over the past twenty years this happened, with subtle shifts you could ignore because you weren’t ugly yet. You could still hide under clothes, and now you can’t. What’s left of you isn’t pretty.
But thank God for RATIONALIZATION! There’s still some left.
Fat, flab and strength loss is all about getting older, you tell yourself.
Remember Irv, aging is a natural process, and like global warming, it cannot be stopped. We’ll adjust. Older people don’t have to look young, just FEEL young. And our world will also adjust, as entire nations limp from lands of drought to already overpopulated regions. (Think Africa.)
But that’s in the future, right? Might as well enjoy life while it’s still around, and burn lots of coal, pollute more air and eat lots of stuff that tastes really good like bacon, Lucky Charms and ruffled chips. If you die a few years earlier, so what? You had a good run. You left this planet fat and happy. And you drove a hot car. (No, it wasn’t a Prius.)
NEWSFLASH: most overweight people don’t die fat and happy. They get sick first, with a stroke, heart attack or diabetes. Then life REALLY sucks, with no need for a car.
I know all this. I’m WRITING ABOUT IT! So why haven’t I leashed myself to a Pilates coach and gone totally Weight Watchers?
Because…and here’s more confession (maybe yours too)…
When it comes to physical stuff, I’m lazy. When it comes to my body, there’s always tomorrow. I care about the way I look, but not enough.
Why don’t I care enough? Because I have this love and marriage thing going and I know that no matter how many pounds I’m carrying, my dear wife will love me.
My ultimate CONFESSION: She-Loves-Me-No-Matter-What is a total cop out!
Unconditional love is a mask for believing I no longer need to impress my wife or look good for her. And if I get sick she’ll take care of me.
How selfish is that? How misguided?
“Father, I have sinned.”
SEX AND THE SINGLE GUY
When I was in my twenties, I got a gift package to a gym on Hollywood Boulevard. I went there to meet girls. What I met, were lots of single forty-something dudes toning up for another shot at youth and the younger gals that came with it. Back then I felt sorry for those “old guys.” Push-ups for dating seemed fake and phony.
Now, way past forty, I get it. I no longer think keeping fit is narcissist. It can be, but at my age keeping fit is about keeping healthy. And I owe it to the people I love to stay around for whatever reasons there are. And there are many, all with one condition…
I must not be a burden!
The last thing I want is a dependency on others, especially my wife. No one wants that. No one wants to give up basic freedoms and control: like bathing and eating, or walking!
We’re living longer. Where are we going to end up? Need I say more?
TAKING CARE OF MYSELF (and our planet) is not about me. It’s about my responsibility to others.
It’s about being able to serve instead of needing to take.
It’s about the future and not my egocentric now.
But most of all, it’s about maintaining what’s good and healthy, even in the midst of change.
I guess you could call me a Conservative. (I never thought I’d ever say that.)
Now, if I’m good, I’ll reread this post every day and get my butt into a gym!
And for you conservationists out there, check out: THE TRUE COST OF OIL.
First published on Curiosity Quills.