Sometimes life paints us as a hero, sometimes it paints us as villain. Sometime we are the artist, sometimes we are the canvas.
It’s funny how international adventures are planned. I start with something that has inspired my heart, research the logistics and narrow it down to what is practical and doable.
My Grandfather was born in Poland, and last year doing the DNA tests I found that my DNA was 38% Polish and Eastern European. When I was stationed in the U.K, due to the Iron Curtain, we were not allowed to travel to the U.S.S.R or it’s satellite states and during my other visits I preferred the mediterranean cities. So now, all of sudden I want to visit Central Europe!
I began with planning a 2020 trip to Krakow Poland, the area where my grandfather was born. However, at the request of two of my cousins who also want to go to Krakow, I have rescheduled for June of 2021. We also plan to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau and Schindler’s Factory but in general, we are going to soak up the culture, cuisine and drinks of Poland.
After seven nights in Krakow, I am going to spend a few days in one of these cities, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin or Munich, I have quite a while to decide.
After that, I am headed to Italy, I fancy a couple of weeks around the Amalfi Coast (Positano). I can already smell the lemon trees, can you at Limoncello?
This will be my first solo international trip since I was in my 20s and while I believe that what most of us long for is a soulmate to share adventures with, that the failure to find such a kindred heart and soul, is no reason to stay home!
Because I am home, wherever I am.
Sarcopenia is the scientific name for muscle loss and is the primary cause of a decline in the quality of life as we age!
When it comes to muscles, it is use it or lose it. Muscle loss happens early if you are inactive and sit at a desk most of the day. Muscle loss and general inactivity lead to coordination loss, flexibility ( hips, back, shoulders) loss and balance loss as you age. A lot of young people in their 20s have already lost flexibility and have lower back pain due to lack of activity. The signs of aging (loss of balance, coordination, flexibility and strength) that one expects to see in their 60s and 70s are now being seen much younger.
Have you ever seen natural bodybuilders in their 50s and 60s who look younger and healthier than sedentary folks in their 40s? Ever notice that endurance athletes age much faster than strength athletes? Compare the physique of a 50 year old sprinter to that of a 50 year old marathon runner.
I was a long distance runner in my 20s, I understand the runner’s high. Now that I’m almost 60, I know that our bodies adaptations to long distance running are the opposite adaptations that are required to maintain muscle and there are even studies that suggest that long distance runners could have cardiac issues due to constant inflammation.
I’m not saying that cardio is not important, I do enough cardio to maintain a 55 bps resting heart rate but for health, fitness and quality of life, my time is best spent weight training.
Back to sarcopenia, it leads to osteopenia and osteoporosis and because we are so inactive, this can start in our 20s. Our bodies were not designed to spend hours sitting at a desk or lounging on the sofa.
Women start becoming menopausal in their 40s. The decline of estrogen for women and testosterone productions for men hasten the physical decline as we age. If you don’t take care of yourself earlier on, the decline is even faster. But if you did and do work out, the decline is minimal. If you have never worked out, you can still reverse sarcopenia with a weight lifting program!
How strong should we be?
You should be able to get up from sitting on the floor without using your hands or arms or leaning against anything.
You should be able to do at least one unassisted pull-up.
You should be able to get into and out of a squatting position within assistance.
Steps to improve your quality of life in your 40s and beyond:
- Weight training (twice a week or more)
- Increase protein intake (protein needs increase as you age)
- Increase activity level (track your steps, work up to 10,000 per day)
- Track your sleep (topic for another day)
Invest in your health!
Few will invest time in understanding. Most are so used to buying ready made foods and clothes that we want ready made spouses and ready made friends. Where is the fun in that?
I was invited to enter a NPC contest on short notice and thought why not? I was bored and would only be able to prep for three weeks so what the heck. I placed 3rd in the Classic Physique Open Novice and 2nd in the Classic Physique Masters. In a world of steroid users, I competed as a natural.
It was lots of fun but I realized that to win that elusive 1st Place trophy, I would have to be leaner and add some more muscle to my chest, quads and traps. I don’t think that I want to go there, I want to be lean and muscular but I don’t really want to look like a bodybuilder.
I am excited about my health. I weigh 150 pounds, my BP is 107/59, my resting heart rate is 55 BPM, my waist is 30 inches, my VO2 Max is 45, my free testosterone is great for a 40 year and I’m 60 in April and I have not been sick in 3 1/2 years.
Age well my friends!
My brother, younger than me by a year retired last week under the “55 Year Rule”. He retired early, probably added years to his life as he had a job that was a daily burden. Maybe trading time for less of a payout?
His unexpected retirement got me to ponder, the math and the timeline of my eventual retirement. Next month I’ll be 59 1/2 and I could retire and start taking distributions from my 403K then in 2 1/2 years start social security. I am also a 10% disabled vet and get a little monthly check for that. I would be just fine if I went this route.
However, I’m at the peak of my earning power, and that means more money going into my 403K and every year I work is a year less that my 403K has to last. I’m still supporting my daughter for at least one more year, maybe two. I’m a “Systems Analyst” and I don’t mind going to work.
I have no infertilities, have not been sick in over three years, on zero meds and I am in peak physical condition. I am aging well and hope to live long and strong.
I would say that 62 would be the earliest that I would retire, mathematically 65 would be better.
Living in Italy a little north of Bari would be the dream. I envision that my retirement will be nothing like the life that proceeded it. Surely you don’t work hard all of your life for more of the same?
“I kept my head down for so long that I forgot what it feels like to stand up. It feels damm good!”
You justify the scars you bare and tell yourself life is fair but it’s your lover who twists the knife
You put them first, which makes you last
You exchange your heart for a laugh
Lovers come and go
Leaving pieces of themselves stuck in your soul
Everyone says forever yet few ever stay together
You hope to meet someone who actually means it
Whose every goodbye has a hello on the horizon
You say you always take the road less traveled
But if you don’t know where you’re going
……Any road will do…..