Challenges of an aging carcass

AT 73, I FIND myself faced with challenges.

bodyGetting older is an interesting process. I do not recommend it, but it is interesting. It only recently began to pummel me. That began at 73. It will, of course, vary with other individuals.

Up until 73, there were physical changes, but they were almost entirely a reduction in energy, nothing extreme but noticeable. I passed my 73rd in August, and that’s when things racheted up a few nasty notches.

First the foot problem, which I wrote about last September. That appears to be permanent. It’s only an issue for about a minute after I stand up after being seated a spell, but I’ll never again be able to flee from someone or something chasing me. With an ax or an appetite.

I am easily nabbed now.

Then there was the back issue, which I wrote about last month. Not the first time I’ve suffered that problem, but it’s never lasted so long, a tad over two weeks of Hell. Usually, it self-cures in four to five days. Big difference.

It was the back issue that knocked me upside the head.

I had been getting lazier by the day, and that needed to change.

For decades, I’ve done regular, moderate exercise, and I eat healthy. For these reasons I have been svelte for almost 40 years. But my regular, moderate exercise had been very gradually diminishing. I knew I had to change my habits.

Old routine: 20-minute, brisk, morning walk around the neighborhood plaza Monday-Friday. I often cheated on the frequency. And I have a home gym set, a big fancy one I bought about decade ago. I was doing a 10-minute weight routine three mornings a week. Again, cheating was not unknown.

New routine: 20-minute, brisk, morning walk around the neighborhood plaza Monday-Friday with no more cheating on the frequency. A second brisk walk around the big plaza downtown following my afternoon coffee. Weight routine on the gym set every weekday morning. No cheating allowed. Yoga. Well, that’s what I call it, but it’s actually two sets of stretching, one in the morning, one in the late afternoon. Weekends off.

I was losing my flexibility to a notable degree. Thus the stretching, which helps a lot.

I’ll close now with the following words from Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The “good night” being, well, you know …

Possibilities

I’VE BEEN SINGLE — and I’ve been married. A lot.

Three times.

Being single doesn’t hold much appeal, and now that I’m considerably older, it holds even less.

Actually, I loathe being single. Maybe I subconsciously married someone 16 years my junior to virtually guarantee that I’ll sail off into the ether before she does.

She goes to the gym three evenings a week. During those times, when I walk through the bedroom, the above is what I see, and I imagine it as a permanent scene. Grim.

I prefer the photo below.

Late in the day

STANDING IN the darkening bedroom between the king bed and the huge window, I watch it raining.

Late afternoon.

Between me and that window is a love-seat equipal and its matching single seat, both dark green, the first furniture I bought in Mexico years back.

The green is cloth, which differs from the more common cowhide you see on most equipal furniture. I had the set special made in Guadalajara, and it took ages to get here.

It’s fading now, the back, due to abutting that open window. I’m fading too but for other reasons. Time.

The rain bounces off the monster aloe vera just to the left and the leaves of the golden datura straight ahead.

My child bride is at the gym, so I’m standing solo, waiting for her, which I do many evenings. If she’s not at the gym, she’s swapping family tales with her sister.

She’ll be home before 8.

I’ll have two big salads made, our supper we enjoy on lounge chairs upstairs while watching something on Netflix.

Dull old people in the mountains of Mexico.

This has been going on for years. Sometimes it’s raining and cool. Other times it’s dry and cold. And yet other times — springtime — it’s dry and stuffy.

But now it’s raining and cool. I stare out the window and wonder, how did this happen? It’s good.

When I get up in the middle of the night for a wizz, I often pause at the bathroom window to see the streetlight and the mountains if the moon is out.

How did this happen?

It’s said that life is what happens while you’re making other plans. This is usually understood to be negative, but sometimes plans pale in the face of sweet, accidental reality.

The Ironman

weightsI AM TRIM and, to all appearances, quite healthy for an old fart.

I attribute this to years of steady, light exercise, salads and a child bride. Don’t discount the latter.

In 1980, I weighed 60 pounds more than I weigh today. Oddly, I was not so much fat as formidable.

It was in that distant year in New Orleans — where I often would eat French fry po’ boys — that I decided to get trim and svelte.

Being fat is not an issue of hunger. It’s about habits and emotions. Services like Weight Watchers can address your bad habits, but they do little with your emotions, which is why 99 percent of overweight people get fat again soon after ending a weight-loss program.*

Of the two — habits and emotions — it’s emotions that play the primary role. They form the habits, after all.

Here’s how I took and kept off 60 pounds, and you can do it too. Well, except for those sneaky emotions.

I quit eating crap, and you know what the crap is: cakes, pies, burgers, Snickers, deep-fried anything, etc. You don’t need to buy a book that spells it out. It’s common sense.

And I started exercising. Twenty minutes of brisk walking five days weekly does it.  Thirty-five years later, I’m still at it.

Most folks start brutal exercise routines, weary of it within two weeks, and that’s the end of that. Don’t overreach.

In addition to walking, I do what my wife considers a laughable series of weight-lifting. That’s my weight machine in the photo. Three times a week, and it takes about 10 minutes.

I weigh what I weighed at age 21, half a century ago.

Before buying the weight apparatus, I visited a gym here three mornings a week, but the gym went out of business about five years back, so I purchased my setup at Liverpool in the capital city for the peso equivalent of about $600.

So there you have Felipe’s Foolproof Weight Loss System. Don’t eat crap, do light exercise five days a week (forever!) and marry a child bride, preferably Mexican.

You womenfolk can adjust that last element to your liking, but know that folks will gossip behind your back.

* * * *

*Don’t ever start a “diet” because they never work. The concept of a diet implies a beginning and — when you reach your “goal weight” — an end. When you end your diet, you start eating like you did before. And you get fat again. Never go on a diet. Instead, change your habits permanently.