- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Relaxation
- Hits: 842
I am now celebrating my twilight years, a natural stage in one man’s life. This is the time I am done with family responsibilities, also the years I should start taking care of myself. I would like to think I prepared myself for this, in fact, I might have over-prepared myself for this. Or did I? Nevertheless it is both pleasant and sad to get into this stage because all my friends are busy either with their own families or with their own struggles, certain to find no time to spend with me. At the same time, I’m quite glad I can sort of limit my social life (because of that) to focus on what is more important to me, like hobbies and tasks I promised myself to complete once given the time. And I am given the time now. Or… do I?
It is important for me to take a proper view of my twilight years. It is unique. I thought wrongly this would be the age when I could make up for the social life I lost in my younger years or the time I thought I should indulge in more lurid and lustful liaisons or the time to be lazy or the time to be treated like a king. Heck, none of those did happen because I did not really want them. I also thought all my kind acts and honorable efforts and charity to family and friends and work clients earlier in life would finally be repaid back (like karma) either by them of by God, heck, none of those did happen as well. Instead I found myself cutting down my working hours because my body is deteriorating one way or another, and I needed to work to save for my retirement and pay for health insurance. Given the cut on my working hours, I projected I’d have a couple extra hours a day to allow me to indulge in my hobbies. Well, that did not pan out as I expected too because I am so damn tired at the end of each day.
I guess I need to be more realistic with my twilight years. I hear of people who made their millions in their 40s so they retired in their early 50s but they mostly were dealing with financials and probably did not have as much responsibilities as I did when I had to help an entire clan of families back home. Also, I have health reasons that require me to keep working or at least moving. I did not expect to end with diabetes but it is here and there is no treatment for this except medication, exercise and dieting. So there goes my wonderfully lazy inactive twilight years.
What really matters in my twilight years? It is this moment of peace.
I know of a man who stole money from another and shamelessly hid himself. I know of a man who begged that someone else support his family because of an exaggerated illness and later claimed all the credit and even cursed the hand that fed him. Some men moved on with their lives feeding their families with lies, deceit and robbery. These types of evil men entered their twilight years without a single remorse or guilt and in fact walked around with a sneer on their faces, gleeful that they were able to successfully pull their tricks on others, and cockily promoted their ‘goodness’ by simply talking. Some businessmen fooled their clients; some holy men stole money from holy coffers; some hid murders; some cheated on their wives; some committed injustice in their world. The world is full of them and I guess some could sleep well at nights despite that.
If I have done a single wrong to my fellowmen, I would probably be deprived of sleep. It is just in my nature. There is harmony in knowing you kept your world fair and square. There is peace in facing this world with clean conscience and leaving it with the least scar and mark and pain and anger among those left behind.
I think I am happy in my twilight years. Today I can walk out my door to Starbucks and drink coffee while reading a good book. I can walk and run distances with fair health and I have intact memory, I can still comprehend complex ideas and problem-solve situations. I still can see the blue sky and feel the sun and tread the ground with bare feet. I can hear children laugh. I can laugh at myself. I can pray and contemplate the beauty of this world. I am no longer sure achieving wealth, fame, power or love from all people around me. I was born with a duty and I had done that duty. In my twilight years, I am peeling off the many layers of wrappers around me, little by little, I am abandoning the things I accumulated because I am traveling light to the world where eternal peace reigns supreme.
My workouts seem to be quite imbalanced. I spend too much time running and not much resistance training. Too much aerobics and less anaerobics. So I feel it necessary to crank up those weights even when I feel my caloric expenditure is not as ‘dramatic’ as when I run. But I put a big question mark to that claim. Some would say the calorie expenditure may not be big ‘during’ a resistance routine but because it targets muscles and since muscles spend more energy to do their jobs, it’s just logical they will use more calories in the long run. Of course I can experiment on that with my body and my data will maybe prove or disprove any claim(as far as I am concerned). I know for sure the weights are necessary especially when you are over 50. I haven’t really researched much on apps dealing with resistance training or weight lifting or strengthening but I am sure there are millions out there.
As for the meals, I have discovered how accessible vegetables are --- in the frozen section. Seriously, I am one who buys fresh vegetables only to dump them into the garbage bin after a week due to my preference to eat in my workplace cafeteria because I lack the discipline to pack my own lunch. Yeah, shame on me. But this will be a new day. I’ve got brown rice and tuna and brussel sprouts and tomato. Sweet.
As for my relaxation, I was able to assemble a new bookcase in my ‘crib’ (that is so 1980’s word) the whole of Saturday. It took a lot of time and energy and effort but it helped me organize my otherwise cluttered space. Seriously, I am way past my college dorm years. Time for me to act my age.
My best two days so far. They were quiet, restful, goal oriented, disciplined. Ah, having too much responsibilities and being cluttered in one place is such a dysfunctional existence.
There is a biblical message for me today that seems to specifically single me out. Sometimes I tend to overwork for no apparent reason except love of work. Then I follow work with study of anything that takes my fancy. And then I follow that with programming using different languages. And then I blog. I am afraid there’d come a time I’d realize my days will into weeks into months into years and I’ve missed all the fun things-- like the joy of social interaction, travel and simple lounging in a quiet spot while celebrating the full blessing of healthy living.
We don’t want to chase the winds too much, do we?
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. [this is about laziness]
Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.[this is about enjoying life with little.]--Ecclesiastes 4:4-5
I experienced an uh-oh moment yesterday after I tried to download all my current directories from my cloud via zipping. Guess what - my zipping code was wrong and it managed to zip only the folders and not the smaller files. I was terrified for a bit. My only saving grace was the backup, which (thankfully) I subscribed to last week. I didn't think it would be hopeless since most of my websites utilize drupal and joomla and my databases are still intact in my localhost, but I could not imagine all the time I spent building them going to waste. I was too afraid of spending time to re-do what I did the last couple of weeks. That will disrupt the routine of my life. You see, I can sometimes get so immersed into programming. I am what you call a 'full stack developer' and once I get in front of my monitor, the world disappears. And that is the story of most of us. We just could not switch tasks as quickly as we want to especially when we are immersed in something that we enjoy doing. But, we need to learn how to incorporate different tasks in our daily activities. Like today I had to do a run 5 miles before I sat before my computer to program.
What I have discovered is this:
1. I understand that there is no such thing as a perfect line when it comes to healthysport lifestyle. There is always a kink along the way and we need to accept that. In my case no matter how I'd like to get regular with my daily exercises, certain hassles do come: fatigue from work, family emergencies (or not), an injury or painful spot somewhere, lack of motivation, laziness, bad weather, poor company, and my best excuse is: "I have something better to do." I try to counter these excuses by focusing on the outcomes of my exercises, not the struggles.
2. You can't rely solely on your willpower unless it is a matter of life and death. For many of us, exercise does not occupy the top of our priorities especially when we don't have a compelling reason to do so. I try to utilize as many tools as I can use to motivate me to exercise. I choose to live in a place close to running trails, I read health books and articles, I blog about my exercising(like this), I read about others who exercise, I monitor myself.
3. Speaking of self-monitoring, I am currently using the following iphone apps - Glucosuccess(this is a study for diabetics conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital) , Runkeeper (monitors running pace, distance etc) and Loseit! (monitors daily food intake). If interested, use these terms to search Apple apps. I have been monitoring a lot of my personal data waaay before all these apps came about. I was into Garmin watch in the past for my running; I also used Polar pulse reader which provided me feedback in my heart performance during runs. Whereas before I religiously collected my distances, pace and personal records, nowadays I monitor things like my blood sugar, blood pressure, A1C, cholesterol and overall well being. I am in the process of creating a simple Healthysport app to monitor my runs and exercises.
4. I am still very slooow in moving towards strengthening and weight lifting which is an important (if not the most important) form of exercise for aging and diabetics. In aging, muscle bulk is reduced by a few percent every year hence the need for bulking up and among diabetics, having big muscles means big natural consumption of body sugar. Unfortunately, strengthening of muscles if not done properly leads more to injuries than strength. At my age, I need to be careful in subjecting my body to weights, I always start slowly and no more than 45 minutes each session. I have learned quite a few lessons in the past.
5. Which I need to constantly remind myself about. That joke about 'You know you are getting old when you wake up with pains you don't know where they come from' is true. I recently treated a 94 year old man and asked him about the secret of his long life, he abruptly answered, 'Don't get old.' I think his secret is marrying a woman half his age. My bathroom mirror reminds me of the face of new normal in getting old. There must be a simple formula with our body's response to aging. I guess if you want to feel like 20 years old, your body should do what a 20 year old is capable of. If you want to feel like 30, you should be able to do what a 30 year old could do, etcetera. Guess what, the best I can really do right now is being 40. Trying to act like 20 or 30 when I am 50 may lead to injuries. The other side of the coin is this: If you want to feel like 70 when you are 20, then act like 70. Other than being pathetic, you must be the saddest person in the world if you do that. I guess it is over when you feel like your age after you reach 80.
- Written by MattLopez
- Category: Relaxation
- Hits: 972
I have not been actively blogging on this site and there is a reason for it. I have been busy travelling, working in PT and learning stuff (I think I've mentioned in my past blogs that I am also a computer programming enthusiast). Then I read books. Yes, I sometimes go through this phase of reading lots of fiction belonging to fantasy genre and yeah, I intentionally avoid blogging during those days lest I will deviate significantly from healthysport topics I blog in here. You don't want me to blog something about Game Of Thrones and Robert Jordan's series here, right? Or... you don't care. But enough of explanation.
Now I did not stop my running, strengthening and dieting. I can't stop those due to my diabetes although I stopped sharing them on this blog. But I managed to create a php program to record my exercise routines (my mileage and workouts are still entered manually unfortunately) being far away from the fancy apps developed in iOS or android though I am planning to learn how those apps are created.
I travelled outside the country, joined meetups dealing with programming and coding, updated the many sites I was managing. Here is the exciting part: this blogsite (which is driven by joomla) is now hosted in the cloud via digitalocean. I got a kick out of creating virtual hosts and hosting my own websites through 'droplets' and I went as far as creating java server pages, learning how heroku works, and yeah, I just created an instance in my AWS (Amazon) account as well. I loved the whole learning process.
What I am trying to say is - there is no limit to healthy lifestyle. A person who sees me from afar may find me boring, isolated or too limited in interests. But that is not the case. Some of us find solitary existence necessary to be happy because most of our interests 'require' us to be alone most of the time. Whereas a sociable guy requires the company of many people. Another may enjoy managing people. Another may enjoy living in the woods. Another may enjoy making money. A runner like me wants to run alone. Or whatever. The point is, we all have a different approaches to relaxation, happiness and fulfilment to be healthy. And don't hesitate to follow that path no matter how others judge you. A person may judge you based on what makes 'him' happy. Not on what makes 'you' happy. And only you know what that is.
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