This month, I thought I’d write one about how to keep growing up. On our free TV the other night, I caught the old movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland. The novel originally came out in 1955 and there was a movie the following year. That was before my time, but the remake with Donald Sutherland came out in 1978, the year of my marriage.
If you’ve never seen the movie, well these aliens deliver some big giant flower pods that shoot out thin streams of something that looks like thin floating bicycle streamers. The bicycle streamers then infect the humans. Once the human falls asleep, the pod generates a replacement body that looks exactly like the human. When the new pod body arrives, the human body turns to dust.
As I was watching, I got to thinking….isn’t this effectively what happens to all of us the longer we sit in our chairs at night, watching the television? Over the years, don’t our bodies get slowly eaten up by time? Our joints get more and more stiff, less and less flexible. Our muscles slowly atrophy due to lack of exercise. Before you know it, you’re 70 years old, turning to dust. And what if that’s what also happens to our minds if we’re not constantly exercising it too, you know, learning something new like a foreign language or some other skill?
Did you know that in most metropolitan US cities, you can receive television digital signals for free? Here in the Phoenix area, we receive more than 50 stations. Of course 20 of them are in Spanish and another half dozen are shopping channels, but we get all the major networks, a few movie channels and several retro b/w tv channels. If you didn’t know that or if you are tired of being held hostage by your provider, you should look into this.
I’ve always been active. I’ve written about this many times, but in addition to the whole ‘getting hit by a school bus thing’, I grew up in a non video game, non microwave, non smart phone age. We kids either sat in front of the TV watching Uncle Al, Wendy and Captain Kangaroo or we got our asses outside on our bikes or in a game at the park. I’ve always chosen the latter. Even my choice in a mate was built around the desire to be active with someone all our lives. I found her at the tender age of 14 (link), but didn’t hook her until several years later.
My left leg, the one I damaged many years ago while playing softball, (the injury that killed all running sports for me in 1997), has slightly bowed over time. In addition to the bowing, I’m losing cartilage in the knee. I bike a good 40-50 miles per week and that’s really helping to alleviate knee pain and to strengthen the leg muscles. Last night, (as I’m writing this), I decided that if there’s something non surgical to be done to correct this bowing business, I’m going to hop off my butt and put out the effort. If for nothing else, maybe I will slow down the bowing process.
So I jumped onto the Internet and to YouTube last night, looking for sure fire cures; exercises that would correct a bowed leg. I even consulted with the resident house expert – my wife, Nurse Ratched. Naturally, I found dozens of ads stating to be the best thing since the invention of the Walkman and as I read through the numerous articles, I was trying to compare against my own severity, (which is minimal, just beginning). Based on my extensive study, my takeaway was that I likely had a weakened left side hip adductor muscle due to favoring my right side knee. The other thing I’m sure doesn’t help is that I lost a lot of circulation in this same leg as a result of developing DVT after surgery in 1998.
My wife shared several exercises with me, things she’s picked up from her various fitness classes. I also watched several YouTube videos focused on helpful yoga stretches. The video I enjoyed most is quite advanced but moves slowly enough that I think it will help me if I stick with it, (although it’s likely going to be a few decades before I can get a leg over my shoulder).
I have tinnitus in my left ear, I got hit by a school bus as a 7 year old, I’ve been hit head on by a drunk driver, I’ve slid a couple hundred yards in a car on ice, broken my left leg and tore up that same knee while playing softball, developed DVT, am losing cartilage and now it’s slowly bowing. I’m 59 years old and statistically speaking, will live into my 80’s.
I don’t plan to do this in a walker or with Alzheimer’s in a nursing home. Getting old is NOT for the WEAK!
Since ‘retirement’, I’ve been practicing technical equity chart analysis. I read lots of financial and economic articles and practice my current trade inside of my IRA. Occasionally, I also tune in to my Spanish foreign language program, (not enough though, I need to improve). Additionally, I’ve recently taken on a part time role as a bookkeeper at an animal wellness center. Hopefully these steps will help prevent my brain from turning to pod dust.
Between the biking, hiking, golf, yoga and household strengthening exercises, maybe, just maybe I’ll stall the pods long enough to enjoy another couple thousand rounds of golf, (note – non running, unless being chased by a bobcat), with my wife of nearly 40 years now.
Based on my blog stats, I know several hundred people from all over the world will read this story. That’s amazing to me but since I have your attention – stay active, don’t let the Snatchers get your mind or your body!