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Tuesday, 17 January 2023


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I saw myself almost completely in this text and in the steps I need to take!
Thank you, Mike.

“Nobody gets out of here alive.“

Yep. That’s the one thing everyone can count on.

Found in the churchyard, his grave is marked with a simple headstone with the inscription, "cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by." This was Yeats' self penned epitaph together with the instructions that the grave consist of "no marble, no conventional phrase".

I would love to know what you think ‘horsemen pass by’ means or refers to.

I wouldn't recommend any teenagers live like the guy you know. Those sorts of activities and habits seem bad for anyone to me, young or old.

Nice post! I think alcohol is the first big piece as it also tends to impact diet and exercise. I drank quite a bit in my 20's but now probably average a couple drinks per month. I don't try not to drink - I just hate the way I feel the next day.

The other reality of maturing for me is the nature of meals. I am an anti-extremist so while I probably eat better than most, I am not a strict adherent to any particular diet or plan. What I can say is that a meal very rarely goes by without sacrificing something. I do like soda, but haven't really drank it in 20 years. I would love a full dessert after every meal but sort of limit it down to a couple bites or a piece of dark chocolate instead. When I go to the ice cream shop with my kids I get a kiddie size. Etc, etc, etc, etc. It's. constantly evolving process.

Sorry, meant to add… complaining is a nutrient deficient but calorie rich commodity.

Mike - You don't need to publish this, but I wanted to make sure you were aware of all the options available for CPAP machines. They can make a huge difference. The main differences involve the masks. There are several types: Nasal Masks, Full Face Masks, Nasal Pillows, and Nasal Cushions. Nasal Cushions in particular are quite unobtrusive. They will accommodate glasses if you want to read while wearing them, and since the air enters through your nose, they will keep your nostrils open. There are also sizeable variations among masks of the same type. I have had patients go from hating CPAP to absolutely loving it just by changing the equipment. So, if you are not happy with the experience, try something different. (Of course, your particular situation may dictate some of this). I would be happy to discuss this further.

Further thoughts: Your story of your hard living friend… While it’s easy to sit in judgement of others and their choices, I personally find it to be a fruitless activity, in that it profits me not. Provided that individuals choices do not negatively impact my life directly, why should I care what choices they make. Sure, they might not be choices I would make, but so what?

Each of us is gifted a life. We then (ideally) get to live it as we see fit. Some may take a conservative path, adhering to a lifestyle that will (we fervently hope) make it as long as possible. Others may take a path that lives on the edge, taking every day with gusto and passion - and if it ends in demise, well, so be it.

I use the restaurant analogy. Say you and a group of friends are getting together to share time and a meal at a local eatery. It has a wide and varied menu with many yummy choices, which is why you all like the place. Each of you gives the waitperson your order, all as wide and varied as the group. Some go with a healthy salad. Others want the all American meat and potatoes. Another wants food from the Mediterranean diet. And so on. Some order wine, others tea, another water. The food arrives and everyone digs in. The conversation is lively, the food is delicious, and a great time is had by all. But each person ordered what they wanted. And one persons order did not affect or alter the choice of anyone else.

To me, that’s life. Order what you want, for whatever er reason you want. Live your life to your own accord. None of us knows how long we’re here. There are no guarantees, other than your own mortality.

“The future is uncertain, and the end is always near.” -Jim Morrison

Or as our wonderful host put it so eloquently, no one gets out of here alive.

I am 68 and have gone heavily plant based with the exception of a few free range eggs now and then. Am down to one cup of coffee in the AM and switch to green tea afterwards. I admit to a bottle of Guinness now and then but my weight is in check and at this point take zero medications. There are a lot of things I wish I could do over but then again maybe they were needed learning. I dunno 🤷‍♂️.

Trying to go without anything is going to be difficult no matter what you do. Somehow if we are denied something we end up craving it. I'm violently lactose intolerant, but I LOVE ice cream (what would life be without ice cream????), so I learned that if I dose myself with lots of Lactase I can have an occasional small amount of ice cream without any upset.

As to "complaining" ... I discovered what seems to me an easier route than trying to NOT complain. Learn to accept each moment as if you had invited it and work with it, not against it (read complain); make it your fiend and ally, not your enemy. Works for me ... YMMV.

We all have problems; my gift is arthritis in my fingers which make them stiff and unable to fully bend. Well, ok you say, not so bad. Well, I say, for 58 years I have played guitar (recreationally). I love playing guitar. I play for relaxation; I play for the challenge; I play to socialize with other players. I love the buzz of standing in a corner of a bar with my band and rocking out.

Having fingers that won’t bend makes playing guitar difficult; some positions or change of positions are impossible now. For two or three years I didn’t play; it was just too frustrating as I mourned my loss. But sitting in my rheumatologist’s waiting room one day, I looked around at the other sufferers and decided I preferred my particular affliction to theirs. Since then I’ve struggled to re-learn to do what once was easy, but I play again. Not as well as I did, or as gracefully, or with as much physical and emotional joy, but I play.

A propos, I saw a caption on a tee shirt today that sums (some of) this up:
"it's weird being the same age as old people"

The DER to living longer makes a lot of sense.

D = Diet. You are what you eat. Home in on unmodified foods.

E = Exercise. Also an immune booster.

R = Rest & Recreation. Get enough sleep. Previously thought to be relatively insignificant but increasingly becoming very significant factors.

On his death bed, one of my wife's uncles uttered, "If I knew I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself.

Thought of two related things:

Pretty sure that a recent video I watched on a certain nutrition facts website indicated that coffee had been shown to not have any effect on afib. Could be mistaken, though.

With regards to your CPAP device, make sure that it's registered and you're up on the fact that they're replacing a lot, if not all, of them.

Ah, Yeats's headstone. "I Told You I Wasn't Feeling Well." He was never more droll.

60 is the new 50
70 is the new 60
80 is still 80

Perhaps Woody Allen said it best: "I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

I have a simple saying, "To stay in the world, you have to give it up"
As I age, it's meaning has progressed from moderation to abstinence.

At 70 I have a quartet of ailments. Asthma, arthrosis, diabetes and sleep apnea. Treatment of the last one is by far the most influential for my fitness. When I got the diagnose 16 years ago the physician told me I had an average of 45 cessations in my breathing per hour. “It’s like drinking half a bottle of scotch every night.” I joked that this was a lot cheaper than the real thing, but his face told me I had a very serious problem. He ordered a CPAP for me right away. A week later it felt as if I was reborn, which was also visible because of a much healthier skin color.
Sleep apnea causes two severe problems. Because of the irregular breathing you wil never get the deep sleep that is necessary for fully resting your brain. The major effect is loss of concentration. Also you won’t get enough oxygen in your blood. As an early bird I always felt fit when I got up, but already in the early afternoon my energy vanished.
If you don’t treat apnea you will be probably a lousier car driver than someone who has been drinking a lot or hasn’t slept for two days. You are a danger, not only to yourself.

...or as Neil Young so eloquently put it.

"Rust never sleeps"

Ah, age...

I gave up on alcohol before my second marriage which is decades ago. Gave up on smoking in 2017 when I was diagnosed with atherosclerosis. Gave up on smoking pot much earlier at around 25 or so, I just felt it somehow wasn't good for me.

But for the upcoming Burns Night, I'd so much crave some Haggis (and smoked salmon), a glass of Glenlivet, and maybe also some spliff just for the occasion...

i've had a "mild" cancer for nearly thirty years
if i did nothing i would fairly quickly die

so i do something

one of the things i do is go to the clinic when i'm told

those visits are not as bad as you'd think

the patients are generally upbeat and positive
even the ones you never see again

so for an hour or two a year and a bucket of nasty tasting meds i get to hang around a bit longer

i'd say it was worth it

an aside: my father was a functioning alcoholic, the family wanted him to stop drinking...he did not

a dui gave him a choice
so no booze for a year

the last day of probation saw a trip to the liquor store

that christmas i had had it
i told him that the past year was best i had ever spent with him...he said it was the worst year of his life

considering being orphaned at eight, going to war at fifteen, working a brutal (though well paying) job, that said a lot

the trick to living with addicts seems to be love them but never let them take you down with them

With respect to drinking alcohol, for those who like beer (and can drink some alcohol) there are now very good "non-alcoholic" beers.
For coffee, can you not even tolerate decaf? Is that still too much caffeine? Is it another coffee component that is responsible for atrial fibrillation? Decaf is my "go to" for my coffee fix.
On a side note, I trail you by about a decade in age. In many ways I see you as a mentor. Your discussions about "mid-life crisis" were invaluable for me. I was able to recognize, acknowledge and deal appropriately with the onset in my own life because of your discussions.
Thank you!

On his death bed, one of my wife's uncles uttered, "If I knew I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself.

As a hiker, one benefit to exercise that I find useful is improved balance. The older we get the less we can afford to fall.

One adaptation I’ve made recently was to buy an ergonomic office chair. For the first week I found it less than comfortable and I assume this was because I could no longer slouch. Now I find I really like it and my back feels better. I’m also taking more frequent breaks during my computer time.

Just keep on bicycling-

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.

I've been a volunteer EMT for 18 years. Probably about 60% of our calls are "old people" calls. The lesson that gets driven home to me over and over is that Mobility Equals Life. Stay active and exercise!

I was sent to a sleep clinic to quanitify my loud snoring and possible sleep apnea.
The appointment was on a summer evening in Phoenix. The clinic had the A/C set at 68ºF, which was so much colder than my customary setting that I tossed and turned for hours. During the night they finally showed some mercy and raised the thermostat. The next morning the staff reported that my snoring disappeared when I was side-sleeping, curled up to stay warm. My doctor concluded that I didn't need a CPAP device. That was fifteen years ago.

If there is a sleep clinic somewhere in the Finger Lakes region you might benefit from an appointment.

We just got a puppy and time has slowed down considerably, so at least the end of life feels farther off. I get more exercise, and my days are full, even if not always on my schedule. I can't recommend it for everyone. The reason time slows down is the constant aggravation!

The biggest enemy is sugar! It causes a lot of health problems when used in excess. Ah but we all love the sweetness ! It’s in most foods and drinks that we consume! Live without it would not be worth living!

I got the news that a college buddy and lifelong friend passed away this morning.

My take on the Yeats epitaph might thus be summarised as follows ... and definitely influenced by my friends passing.

The horsemen passing by never gave a dam if you are a Canon / Nikon shooter, film / digital fan, alcoholic / teetotaller, etc. Life goes on .... until (ahem) ... it doesn't. But then life still goes on for a bunch of other people.

And thanks to the detailed / well researched and knowledgeable response by Mike on this mini topic.

As the great philosopher Red Green repeatedly said: "Gettin' old ain't for sissies."

I had a hospitable-style bed for years. It improved the apnea and the back pain but did not eliminate them. One night I accidentally fell asleep in the recliner with the back reclined only about 10-15 degrees. I woke the next morning clear headed and back-pain free. Tried it again, same result. I've been sleeping that way for 6-7 years now. Changed my life. The nice thing is you can try it out for free if you can find somewhere with a comfortable recliner. I recommend getting a pillow with a groove that will hold your head upright. When my head falls to the side, I wake up with neck pain.


Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.


If I may, I'd like to add a corollary.

"... one day you have to accommodate it, and at that point you just...do it. Whatever it is."

Undoubtedly, you will also realize that it would have been better had you started earlier. "Why didn't I start exercising more at forty instead of fifty-five? Damn, I wasted so much time."

Well yeah. Don't give in to the regret. It's always better to start a better habit now.

1.) Spiritual enlightenment: where a person recognizes his true being as infinite consciousness, not to be confused with “intellectual enlightenment” which is just more mind stuff.

2.) Growth hormone: stimulating natural growth hormone production by fasting every day.

3.) Autophagy: triggering this healing and cleansing state by periodically fasting 24 to 48 hours.

We reach the same conclusion via different paths, Mike.

The great business author, Jim Collins encourages us to "confront the brutal facts", and the old maxim of "Hard decisions, easy life. Easy decisions, hard life." holds pretty true, we have to confront what is difficult in our lives.

You say we must me "hard" about it. Others in the comments have said "cold". We can also go about the same activity with acceptance and compassion — we are, after all, acting out of care for ourselves. We don't need to beat up our egoic self for wanting what it wants to understand that it's not things changing that makes us suffer, it's expecting them not to. You can't embrace what's coming well, without learning to let go of what is.

Good luck!

Why is this a great blog? One reason is that at odd moments, out of nowhere as it were, I can learn something important (to me).
I don't read much poetry, but the work of Yeats has always struck a chord in me. And like many, perhaps, I have struggled to understand his famous epitaph. Until I found the answer here!
Which of course brings us to art in any form, and why people make it; one reason is to help the artist (and their audience) make some sense of the world and enrich their experience.... as happened to me when I read this post. Thanks Mike!

On the other hand, that spiral staircase could be a life-saver assuming it's not the going up part that kills you but the falling down and, in my mind, the narrow spiral could help stop you from tumbling down quite so far (?).

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