In less than a week, you-know-who will turn over the speed limit: 70.
If I have time to complete them, several more books are yet to fall out of these fingers including one that is the extended-play version of this morning’s discussion of: “Retirement Disease.”
The idea is simple enough: You look at most things in nature and very few of them “keep on working” once they fall into disuse. People, from all I’ve read, are in pretty much the same category: Sit down, couch-out, and you’ll be a-goner in no time. That’s on of the key reasons I’ve recommended David Goggins’ book (Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds) to you. I have no illusions about going through a SEAL “Hell Week” at age 70. But,, there’s a lot to be said for keeping the mind calloused and tough regardless of age.
The first time I got serious about aging (and I think it helped immensely) was when a broadcast engineer/mentor, the late Lloyd Jones asked me at age 18: “How many days do you think you have George?”
I think we’d been talking about risk of injury working on a high-powered broadcast transmitter. It’s a setting where the odds of injury are low and death much higher. 5-thousand volts at a couple of amps is not to be trifled with. That’s a Collins 21-E/M transmitter for you. 5-kilowatts on 1460 – The Soul of the City.
“Heck, I dunno.. Never thought about it….”
“I’ll do the math for you: About 18,000 days. And every day when your feet hit the carpet, you burn one of them. Never forget that.”
He went on to explain than most people never “run the numbers” but it’s not hard to do. Take the average of your parent’s ages and subtract your own. then multiply by 365. Sure, you ought to be able to beat the parental average, but that’s when you get down to hard work. And honestly, the aversion to hard work is one of the first symptoms of Retirement Disease’s onset.
Lloyd took up skiing in a serious way in his 60’s – and some would call him driven. I’d call him a genius who taught the young and simple me there’s a “real life” game clock running.
Here’s me on the door step of 70:
Still working and writing 70+ hours per week. A wire range of activities, too. Not just sitting around.
Some of the work on 29-acres of tree farm is tough. Brush hogging is like trying to hang on to a bull for more than an 8-second ride..Four hours later, the “bull” named Kubota has pretty-well kicked your ass.
Other “rancherly chores” in mechanical maintenance that requires manual dexterity. So does working on the ham radio equipment that I enjoy tinkering with. There’s a fair bit of sitting, though, and to combat that risk, there’s a 50-minute timer to remind a certain sedentary fellow that “move your ass or die” isn’t a joke. Serious pop-up.
Back to the math: Mom lived to 93 and Pappy was 87. Making my “target age” 90.
Completing the exercise, that means I should be good to go for 20-more years, but 7,300 days doesn’t seem like quite enough.
Everyone dies, eventually, and there are plenty of things that could interrupt my target. World War, pandemic, mass social breakdowns or uprisings maybe as part of the online revolutionary crap that spreads on social media, the new and devolving spin on older “social diseases” could keep it from happening. We’ve gone from a world where smoking was safe (and sex wasn’t) to one where sex is safe and smoking isn’t. That’s a pretty hefty twist, I tell you.
What we’ve done, both in our 70’s, is to try and set up Uretopia as the best possible place to “take a stand.” Figuratively, unless we’re out on the 100-meter range with the AK’s SKS’s.
We keep talking about moving back to the city, but honestly, due to the state of big city road budgets, there aren’t appreciably more pot holes here in the outback compared with in cities.
We also don’t have to deal with other humans much. We’ve become convinced there are several reasons why Retirement Disease could be spread through the same (and a few different) disease vectors.
A sign a dear old friend had on her wall always made a lot of sense to me “We’re all the same age on the Inside.”
But, no, it just ain’t so. Aging people forget that there’s a spectrum of “inside the head” things that need to be looked after.
Sex, for example, is still a several times per week objective. So is 5-hours a week learning a new skill. And eating most meals scratch-made from unprocessed foods.
Another life interuptus is failure to not only keep up nutrition, but in many cases deliberately over-doing things a bit.
For example, my doctor has me on hydrochlorothiazide (HZTZ) which depletes potassium since it’s a diuretic. Solution? Take additional potassium both in pill and nature forms like bananas. I appreciate the quarterly blood draws are mainly to check for that, but with the right (“I’m engaging and won’t lose”) mindset, I can read the medical books and see how the medical business models work and then navigate intelligently through aging healthcare.
Put a bit differently, one has to look at Aging as the greatest opportunity in Life to act smart.
You and I may choose to be “victors” but at some point it comes where you just won’t be able to go on forever. No one has, at least in the science-based literature. It’s like in an epic struggle movie (like Rocky) at some point he’s going down for the count. The getting back up decision is where the tradeoffs are.
One of my “winter projects” is to update our wills and our “dead letters.” These are tools many people don’t think much about. The wills, of course, get updated periodically, as a matter of course. But, we might make some adjustments to the actually form of passing assets. For example, Investopiedia offers an interesting discussion of Transfer On Death as an alternative to a conventional Will. Now, since Elaine is already on the trading accounts, the case where setting up a Transfer On Death would be if we wanted to move (both nickels) to a designated Party without going through Probate. Believe me, the conversation with the personal lawyer will be deep on this on: Can we TOD a bank account? A Home? Property? Other assets?
There’s a good discussion of “Transfer on Death Deeds” on the NOLO site over here, once you wade through some popups.
We of course don’t make any recommendations, but it can keep things from being ground up by probate (time and money) and with a smaller pot to fight over, people who think they should get more than is in a Will may be a lot more friendly when there’s a very tiny fraction of assets that’s going through probate.
Our Will review also goes through the already existing “F.U.” provisions. Anyone challenging one of our wills will get $10-bucks and be promptly shown the door. The executors are instructed in the “Dead letter” to call the Fox Yankee after them
On the more positive, “keep on winning” side, we are still working out in the gym.
While we considered going to the Y in town and other options, the investment in a good home gym set-up (free weights not shown) is pretty modest. Less than $1.5 kilobucks all new, but you could get the same used on C/L or OfferUp for about half that if you’re patient. (Care to guess who isn’t?)
We’re blessed in that most people figure us to be in our mid-50’s, not a decade and a half further down the tracks.
We credit that to staying active and working out in addition to not becoming involved in other people dramas. OPD, for short, is one of the dumbest time-wasters out there – along with social media. Draws you in, sucks you into taking positions based on incomplete information or historical contexts, and there you go: The new and improved version of “You Life: Dribbling Out Your Modem” that we first saw on chat boards in the 1980’s.
What’s more, digital mob rule (DMR) would have us all become partisans by injecting bad ideas (blackface, for example) into our worlds where it never existed in the first place. Same thing with sexual abuse, abortion, and…oh it’s a long list. Just take the idea to the bank: Getting involved in other people’s drama (OPD) is a potential source of high blood pressure and cancers – which some have opined may be related to suppression of emotions.
That’s about a thumbnail of the intro to the proposed book, “Retirem3net Disease”. Chapters in the outline include:
CH 1. Retirement is for Suckers
- Middle Age at the Smorgasbord
- Facing the “Oh-Oh!” Moment
- Victim or Victor?
- First, You Need a Plan
- Does “Life Just Happen?”
CH 2. The Retirement Battle-Space
- What’s a Battle-Space, Anyway?
- Couches Kill
- Your Personal “Armory”
- Keeping What You Make
- Getting the most from Social Security
CH 3. Yes, You Get to Dream
- Adventuresome Youth
- The Fulfilling Life
- Travel expands your horizons
- Bucket Lists
- Elaine’s Bucket List
- Meeting with Your Maker
Part 2: Understanding the Enemy
CH 4. What is aging
- The chemistry
- The Diseases
CH 5. You: The Chemistry Set
- Vitamins and Supplements
- The Myth of the RDA
- Sometimes, Good is Bad
- Test Plans and Measurements
- What Works for Us
- Elaine’s vitamins and why?
- Georges and why?
CH 5. Before You Get Old Checklist
- Resource Check
- Health check
- Housing check
- Lifestyle Check
- Financial check
- DNA check
- Goal Check
- Activity Check
CH 6. Middle Age Action Plans
- Health improvement plan
- Siting Your Final Stand
- The Kids Really Don’t Care
- Strategic Relocation
- Connecting with Others or Spouse
- Realistic Financial Goals
- DNA Action Plan
- Goals for the Rest of Your Life
- Activity Plans
Part 3: The Retirement “Business Plan”
CH 7. Why a plan?
- Symptoms of Retirement Disease
- Goal Holes
- Indecision, Inactivity
- Leaving old hobbies
- No measurable outcomes
- Living another day is not a goal
- Accomplishments are what matter
- Change of driving habits
- Declining pride in appearance – mojo
- How much “slack” is enough? Too much?
CH 8. Big Disease-Fighting Goals
- Fill Up Your Bucket List (add things here?)
- How Do You Live?
- Quality of Life
- Life on (1) House Level?
- Proximity Effects (stores, healthcare)
- Sedentary risks
Part 4 Retirement Diseases Lurking
CH 9. Family Statistics
- What Killed Mon and Dad?
- Getting out of Those Ruts
CH 10. Coronary Disease
- Main Causes
- Hydrogenated Oils
- Processed Foods
- Vitamin Deficiencies
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Risk Modifiers
- Change Your Diet and Your Life
- Vegetables, K2, and fiber
- Optimized Vitamins
CH 11. Cancer
- Main Causes
- Environmental Exposures
- Vitamin deficiencies
- A Few Cancer Ideas
- The Cancer Personality?
- Use It or Lose It?
- Sex Dark Sleeping Rooms
- Circadian awareness
- Periodic fasting and hyperbaric answers
CH 12. Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Don’t laugh at Oatmeal
- Environmental factors
- Alzheimer’s – Ideas & Diets
- Reaction and Decision Times
- Reaction speed vs. aging
- Lumosity, reading, and “think quick!”
- Use it or lose it
- Anti amaloyd diets
- Cyclical fasting
- Certain supplements
- Risks of Colerigenics
- What are they
- What are some of the risky meds?
CH 13. The Eyes Have It
- Causes of Eye Disease
- Useful Ideas
- NAC: A preventative?
- Optical dilators
- Cataract Surgeries
- When Surgery goes Bad
- George’s eye story (1)
CH 14. Gallstones, GERD and Reflux
- What they are
- Eat 3-hours before laying down
- Vinegar (pills and liquid)
Part 5: Unconventional Anti-Aging
CH 15. Age-Optimized Life
- Importance of Schedule and Routines
- Personal Measurements
- What gets measured gets done
- Scheduling baseline activities
- The Secret of Nursing Homes
- Does your House own You?
- Shop- and then Stop
- Schedule “Accomplishments”
- 50 percent On Play
- Realization of a Life
CH 16. Housing
- Risks and Needs
- Activity Centers
- Ramps and Railings
- How to reduce housework
- Sit, George
- Problems with House Sitters
- Sometimes you get lucky
CH 17. Fitness
- How much and how long?
- Target heart rates
- Elaine’s free weights
- How to treat a sports injury (2 pages)
- Machines that Hold “Form”
- Weight machine
CH 18. Nutritional Fitness
- Before all: Water!
- Cooking for One or Two
- Cook big and save time and money!
- Foodsaver and freezing
- Dating foods
- Sugar and HFCS is Bad
- Is dead bad enough?
- Alcohol and Drugs
- Decline use of Alcohol
- CBD vs. THC
- Effective dose levels
- When booze “doesn’t like you”
CH 19. “Relationship Tuning”
- What do people talk about?
- What is “Actionable” Information
- News you can use, vs. opinion
- Can you change it?
- Why waste time on what’s not?
- Translating “News” into “Personal Action”
- Work on Sex! Goes on the schedule
CH 20. Learning from Your Dreams
- George’s next book Psychocartography
- Coming to terms with your Life to date
- Goal of co-dreaming
CH 21. Prepared for Impaired?
- Something’s Going to Break?
- Falls and risks
- Ladder caution
- Walking risks
- Proper use of canes
- Ramps and railings
- Safe shitters and showers
- Don’t buy another (paper) book!
- Large type editions of books and mags
- Roll to Electronic with adjustable fonts
- Strategies to deal with cranky partner
CH 22. Leveraging Technology
- Tech Risks to the Aging
- Fraud (do not call registry)
- Hackers (No Edge browser)
- “Alexa: Save Me”
- Alexa features of use to the aging
- Intercom feature
- Calling functions
- Reminders vs. alarms
- ToDo and Shopping Lists
- Different ways to communicate
CH 23. Driving You Older
- Accidents and Reaction Times
- Mental “drift”
- Special risks of medications
- New Car balances
- Big City Combat Driving
- Headlights and Right turns
Part 6: Keeping Up Appearances
CH 24. How Does Elaine Keep Young?
- What gives an “age” impression?
- What makes a woman look “old?:” A long rap on “frumpy”
- Short plan (one or two pages)
- What are “old woman” hairstyles?
- Plan (one page – maybe a checklist?)
- What to “old women” wear vs. young?
- Plan (one page or two)
- Wildlife and Home decorating
CH 25. How To Keep Young?
- Never stop collecting best ideas
- Victim of Victor (iii)
- Two visions of Aging
- The downside case
- The “best case”
- Google is Your Pal
- Lists of Hobbies
- Cruise and Travel Deals
- AARP and Discounts for Seniors
- Other Hacks:
- Elaine’s Favorite Age Hacks
- George Favorite Age Hacks
And so runs this book idea.
Thing is? I don’t know if anyone would buy it. But, I think a lot of us who are now 70-something might have had a smoother ride , or somewhat less stressful, if during our physical when we turned 50 a kindly doctor had handed us a “workbook” that incorporated a lot of the thoughts and research outlined here into a “How To.”
Toss in a series of “Activities”: *(like writing your dead letters) and if would be one of those books that maybe would help a few people live better.
As a writer (such as I pass myself off, lol) there’s a competing book. The title of that one is simple “The After Life School.” Maybe I’ll tell you about that idea Saturday. A science book that wanders to the woo woo line.
For now, feel free to offer up suggestions and criticisms. Though if the later, a fine layer of sweetness, or a rum sauce, is preferred…
Write when you get rich,