4 Unconventional Truths about Aging

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“I’m just getting older.”

Ok this is a fact – we all age – but I think I’ll go into my 100s still stating I think this is the biggest excuse in the history of human civilization.

Today I want to kick off a new year episode with a little BeAwesome rah rah and just a new angle.  I want you all to have a perspective change.   You need it.   You deserve it.   

I woke up sore today.  My back was tight, my left foot hurt and I just wanted to hit snooze and push back “the zoo crew madness” aka “my day to day life” for 15 minutes.  That’s not a lot to ask.

This morning was a perfect opportunity to tell myself, “I’m just getting older, time to slow down.”  A chance to give myself a little slack for the Christmastime desserts, extra drinks and late nights.   Yep, must be getting older and that’s why I feel so sore today.

But then my 12 year old son woke up exactly the same.   He was beat up and sore. He told me his shoulder and back were all tight and damn man, he woke up an hour after I did.

Is my 12 year old getting older?

 Certainly.  I’m positive that he was only 11 last year at this time.   Now he’s twelve.  Agh man, the 12’s.  “Just wait till you get to your twelves…” he’ll tell my 10’s as he plops his butt down on the couch and cracks open a cold one.  “Sucks getting old girls, you’ll see.”

I want to pause a second here.  Get this point.  Because I hear this “getting old crap from everyone.  All ages.   My 70s, 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s, 20s.   I hear it daily.  

And I don’t believe it.

Point 1

Shit happens

Yep, you can strain a disc, sprain an ankle or tweak your shoulder.  Car Wrecks, Falling off ladders and emergencies happen and the body feels the pain that comes from unnatural movements and injury.   These hurt, they set you back.  These injuries are frustrating.  They take time.  TIME to recover.  Time in pain..   Time missing work.  I get it –  These issues happen to me as well.   

But… they happen to young people too.  The young people also are sore and stiff.   Football Stars miss game due to stupid little ankle sprains just like you miss workouts because of them.

It’s not that you are older that you feel like crap when shit happens.   Young people feel like crap too.   In fact I created an entire career working on stiff and sore kids.   My clinic is BUSY too!    Because it happens.    To all of us.  Not just because we’re older.

“Yeah, but those young kids respond faster.”

Like my son turning 12 this is also true.   My question though is how much of their recovery is age and how much of their recovery is because of other factors.  First example – they have a better drive than you do.  It’s like this – when a varsity, college or pro basketball player sprains his ankle and knows he’s going to miss the big game, his motivation is 10x yours.   Lets face it – your drive often includes an icepack, bud light and your recliner.

Rehab, treatments, home work.  Young athletes tend to do this stuff.  Older athletes tend to not do as much and when they do it’s a kind of half-assed version.   And the really “over the hill gang?”   not much.  Nope.  none.

2nd example:  Young athletes have a better base.  

They are already in shape to begin with which takes me to point #2

Point 2 – 

You don’t practice the same stuff the kids do.

“OH man, my shoulder’s sore after that Christmas backyard football game,   I must be getting old.”  Then your high schooler walks out of his room, “What’s up pop, getting old?  Cuz I feel great!” 

We never even consider the fact that this kid has been involved with sports, hide and seek, riding skateboards, playing backyard football with his friends since he was 6.  Every. Single. Day. If he’s 14 that means about 8 straight years of body practice.  24/7/365.   

Of course he’s going to feel better and heal up quickly.  He’s primed for it.   Your practice?  Your day to day?    Exactly.  And even if you are working out and running like a middle ager champ – You almost assuredly don’t work on long bombs, quick cuts and running at top speed.  

I spoke to my college football coach on this a few years back.  I was telling him I feel better and more athletic 2 decades removed from the game than I did in my 20’s.  He asked me seriously…”Could you take the field right now?”     Fair question.

My response… There’s Yes’ and No’s… 

Yes, In that I lift as much (or close to as much) NOW as I did back then.  I’m nearly 35 pound lighter so pound for pound I may be even stronger.   The science has changed and I’m a nerd about this stuff.  There is a better way to work out and and I live it.

Yes.  I have a much better head for the game.  I think where I just played on instinct as a linebacker and kind of just wanted to be a headbanger I understand the game at such a different level now.  Second to that I miss it.  I didn’t know how special it was when I was playing.  It had lost the element of fun at times and was a lot of work.  I think my drive would be much stronger now.

The No’s…   I DON’T think I could take the hits.  It wasn’t fun bashing heads with Big J back then and 50 car wrecks in an hour would just destroy me now.    There’s actually a sports assessment term for this –  “Impact Tolerance.”   Mine is very very low – not many people in their 40’s keep up with their impact tolerance.

No…  Speed wise…I’m still fast, I can still beat my kids in a foot race however, I rarely practice speed.  I’m NOT as fast as I was.  That’s exactly point 2 in a nut shell.   “But Coach, if I’m going to go out for a run today I’m going for a 3-5 miler, I’m not going to run a bunch of 40’s at top speed.   I practice different stuff because I’m into different stuff.

That’s point 2 – we practice different stuff so we recover differently.   In my 20’s I sprinted.  Fast.  A 2 miler would have been damn near impossible for me.  I would have needed a sack lunch and a canteen.    Now I bust out 6 milers for lunch.  Because I’ve spent years practicing that.   

You get great at whatever you practice.  You get efficient.   So get this point-  because if you are asking your body to sit for 13-14 hours a day you will get really efficient at that.  That takes shutting off certain muscles that make sitting sort of uncomfortable.  If you are world class at sitting on your duff when you actually start to move quickly -you are deconditioned in this aspect and your pain, discomfort and opportunity for injury goes up.  Recovery follows.

Point 3

What about that guy?

This is my other big beef with age.  The outliers.  The guys in their 60’s with abs and the girls in their 50s that are still smoking hot.   What about them?  They are the lucky ones?  Outliers?  

Or could the actual question be, “Are they been playing a different game than you?”

My point is, I want to be one of those guys.  I have no hair, I see that.  But I’d shave it anyways, I did when I was young.   I have wrinkles now but I have 4 kids and a crazy fun wife and life – I laugh a lot.    Maybe it’s not age.   Maybe the lifestyle is the WHY.  Those guys and girls that seem to defy age are most likely doing something or a lot of somethings, You ARE NOT..  

And I hate to be this guy, especially over the Holidays here but c’mon It’s a new year – you need some motivation and a change.  Better ideas.      The diet.  yeah….It’s like really really important.    It’s not cool, it’s not sexy.  Bench pressing 225 is so much cooler than eating a salad at lunch, but y’all.  It’s less effective.   The diet thing is real.  You just don’t want to hear it.  It’s too painful…Too much to ask.   

Ok then – you’re a grown up adult now – you get to decide.  But as I tell my kids, “You can’t keep complaining about something you won’t attempt to change.   You have to at least experiment.”

It’s Einstein’s meme, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results in a sign of insanity.”     

Just saying.  Change – everyone talks about wanting this year to be different than last year.  Sitting around waiting for the YEAR to just change…is lunacy.  

How are YOU GOING TO CHANGE?

Point 4 

It’s NEVER too late.

Motivated?  I’m trying here buddy, but look, this isn’t the motivation article – this is the “you’re not old, it’s seriously in your head.”  Article.    Maybe you “get it” but feel like you missed the bus?   

 It’s ok.  You did.  It pulled out years ago.  

So now you have a choice.  Wait for the next bus that’s not coming or take a step the right direction and walk there.  The first step is all I ever hear about..rah rah, take the first step but that’s BS – it’s the multiple successful steps in a row the same direction, that’s what gets you away from where you are.  

“Keep the rolling stone rolling, get off the X.  Move sucka! “

(Rage against the machine lyrics really help here!)   

 It’s NOT simply about taking the first step – that’s definitely the most important step but that’s also where we’re failing as a species.  We take a step and then stop.    The real work happens stringing runs together… 3, 4, 10, 30 in a row!     You need to make this whole aging thing about stringing a few successes in a  row. 

The alternative is:  Collecting diagnoses like a 1st grader collects Pokeman cards..

It’s getting old!  

Trade your cards man.   It’ll take some sacrifice however – you may have to give up 12 beers a night.  Sugar may actually really make you feel bad   Maybe you’ll have to expand your vegetable intake!   Maybe your first run is to the mailbox and back.

  I mean how is it that the best ad of the season is the old grandpa training for an entire year just to lift his granddaughter to the top of the Christmas tree so she can put on the star?  You know you got all teary eyed.  You want that type of motivation.   But yet none of us make that work for us! We just won’t give it TIME like the ad shows.

This guy trained for an entire year to get his kid off the ground.  A year, but for the sake of a commercial they clipped that part down to about 23 seconds.  And that’s what we want.   It’s human nature.  I flex my arms in the mirror after each workout.  In private of course but c’mon man, I want to see something.   NOW!    

I understand.  But you have to give it time.  The lie with the ad is that they compressed a year of effort into 23 seconds.  But what if you gave it the actual year.   What could you change about your life in a year?    With time as a component you can change anything!   

Or just crack open another Bud and call it old age.     “Yep, nothing I can do about father time, I’m just getting old.“ 

New Year, New You guys – You’re not getting old, you’re not practicing, You’re not changing, you’re not motivated and you’re not giving it a fair chance.   These 4 points y’all.  It’s real.  It’s your ticket to becoming the outlier.  The wonder woman and super man that defy age and live like a kid their whole lifes – It’s about getting more fun and LIFE out of your life!   Cheers to 2021 – It’s my year to change!

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