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Wednesday, 18 January 2023


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Love it! This is fantastic advice!

Working on that next 10 years right now... Roughly two decades behind you Mike and one behind Jeffrey.

Life is pretty amazing, isn't it? We're moving through past, present, and future all at once. Hopefully cultivating a little humility along the way.

My commentary on the anecdote about your father is: Try to avoid unnecessary prejudices... they're hard to get rid of and can trip us up along the way.

Sage advice and valuable food for thought, Mike.
Thank you.

"With luck, in ten years we're going to be ten years older."

Never heard more truth in a single sentence :)

Which suggests I should now visualise myself at 85. The thing is, as you get older, your contemporaries show an ever-widening range of degrees of fitness or decrepitude. So I don’t need to look very far to see what I might be like in 10 years. There are only three guidelines that are universally helpful: take a LOT of exercise; don’t get fat; take up some occupation or pastime that makes some demands of you. Sitting on your ever-broadening backside with no obligation to do anything much is not a prescription for a long and enjoyable later life.

Those stairs remind me of a rental we used for many years in our village in Provence. Three stories of circular stairs. By the second week my outside knee was killing me. A friend had a similar staircase turning the other way and, if we visited more than once a day, my other knee would flare up.

On a side note, I was told, over there, that besides saving space, a circular staircase was much easier to defend. Just stop the first guy coming up.

On canes: I view them as fashion accessories as much as walking aids. Although I have no need yet for a cane, when I accompany my spouse into an antique or thrift store, I look for canes. So far I have four, all quite distinct from one another and none costing more than $30. I'm ready! And willing.
Some of your readers might want to know about the "Magnus MHA-01 Monopod Handle Adapter" which is a cane handle with a 1/4-20 receptacle for your monopod. You go into someplace that won't let you bring a monopod (I'm looking at you, museums) but when you're using yours as a cane... And the fact is, it helps your footing out in the landscapes also.

Ten years more is never a given. Better to enjoy the heck out of life right now, in the moment, than to endlessly prep for an eventuality that may never arrive. And which role model do you choose? The one who as mastered complacency and just survived or the one who is still channeling his adolescent self with great success?

Someone older once told me: Think young to be young.

My wife and I are 71. Two years ago, we embarked on designing and building our dream house, which we finally moved into this week. One of the first and most important requirements we gave the architect: everything we need must be on the main level. Garage, kitchen, bedroom, dining room, living room, office, study. The house has a large finished basement which will be used for storage and grandkids playing, and a second floor with two guest bedrooms and an exercise room. If I can’t walk the stairs, I won’t be using the weights or treadmill anyway. The guest rooms can be used for a live-in caretaker, if it comes to that.

We expect to live here as long as we’re able to live independently.

What horrible advice. In 1923 the life expectancy for an American male was 56.1 years !!!! That one would emulate the lifestyle that led to this painfully early demise would be insane. And yet, the role models were, on average, 56.1 years old WHEN THEY DIED.

Your mother did not see the advances in the science and sociology of longevity we are experiencing and was, perhaps, looking at static measures of "success."

You can do better.

In the 1960s, when I was growing up, I rarely saw any adult over 40 exercise. I never saw 60 year old men doing much more than walk around the block. Now we're seeing 90+ year olds at the Master Swimming National meets and they are performing well. We routinely see normal people, 70 and older finishing 26.1 mile marathon races. My own father was moving on his own steam into his 90s.

Perhaps parts of the country have legacy "old people" thought patterns and ingrained conceptions about aging. But I can't stress enough that you don't have to slow down, curl up and die in your 60s and 70s.

[Are you saying my mother wears army boots? :-)

Who suggested that you have to emulate any particular type of role model? Not my mother and not me. The point is to envision YOUR OWN future and pick the sort of role models who embody YOUR OWN goals. Are you saying you don't do that? You even specify some of your own role models in your brief comment: "...90+ year olds at the Master Swimming National meets and they are performing well. We routinely see normal people, 70 and older finishing 26.1 mile marathon races. My own father was moving on his own steam into his 90s." You're doing exactly what she suggested: picking role models who embody what you aspire to do and be yourself. That's the advice. --Mike]

I was away from home and out of touch. Just catching up, but here is a quote from an earlier post of yours. I don't think you can get stuff like this on other "photo" blogs--just sayin'.

"This shortchanges the transcendental nature of the poem and its mystical allusions, though. For Yeats the "indomitable Irishry" casts back to before Christianity and the ancient pagan times when mountains were the remote homes of gods. Yeats said in his Autobiography, discussing mountains, "Have not all races had their first unity from a mythology, that marries them to rock and hill?" To look into it further than my simple take on it, I'd probably counsel reading some interpretations of "Under Ben Bulben,"

In her advanced years, my mother refused to use a walker. She said that they were for old people. She hobbled around using two canes. Move a cane, move a foot, move the other cane, move the other foot. I think she could have doubled her speed with a walker.

Your post is incredibly timely for me! My stepfather is 90, and he has fairly recently fallen down the stairs (all the way) and just yesterday fell flat on his face on the sidewalk . Both with very few injuries considering the severity of the falls (though he was covered in blood from the face plant, looking somewhat like an old age zombie). I told him that he is incredibly luckily but that’s going to run out some day soon. He has gone from being an incredibly active man to sometimes having a hard time getting across the room. It’s very sad and stressful for all. So thanks for this post Mike. It has really struck home!

About Kirk's comment, "In 1923 the life expectancy for an American male was 56.1 years !!!!" That is life expectancy at birth. Infant and childhood mortality was much higher at that time, and brought the average life expectancy at birth way down. If you made it to, say, 20, your life expectancy was much higher (unless you were involved in one of the century's wars). In 1923, there were no effective treatments for tuberculosis or many other bacterial diseases, nor were there vaccines for anything beyond smallpox. Measuring lifestyle change effects on mortality is way more complicated than just comparing average lifespans from 100 years ago with today's figures.

This thing called 'sudden deafness' happened to me 6 years ago at the age of 66. It was literally sudden. One moment I could hear, next moment I lost hearing in my left ear. Not only that, but als that constant sound in my good ear:tinnitus. As a bonus the loss of balance. 3 for the price of one.
I needed a cane. I was a big fan of New Orleans singer Dr. John. He walks with a cane. Now I had an excuse to walk like Dr. John, though nobody I know, knows the guy.
Anyway, bought a second cane, because bad knees, and a third one, you know just in case, a fourth one for in my car and a fifth for on my bicycle.

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