Senescence: Round 3

More reflections, thoughts, perspectives and broodings on being older. You can find earlier and similar posts here and here.

Old age: Current age + 10 years; Youth: Current age – 10 years.

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You  can only break my heart, once.

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The ratio of laughter to tears narrows as one ages.

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2:00 a.m. : (age 18) = 10:00 p.m. : (age 60+)

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The penultimate expression of acquired wisdom is when we value health over wealth.

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The value of what we don’t know > the value of what we do know.

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Britain’s greatest export was The Beatles.

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Baseball is this nation’s passed time.

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Picture by Keegan Houser (Pixels)

Many of our sweetest memories generally have a soundtrack playing in the recesses of our mind.

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Investing today is like playing a game at the carnival fair. You know the odds are stacked against you but the allure of winning a proverbial stuffed animal is too strong.

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I wish I had a penny for each time a person changed the channel or fast forwarded a program on their remote or Roku. Within a day or two, I would be richer than Jeff Bezos.

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Mother’s and Father’s Day is “Memorial Day” for many of us.

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Our portals in time travel include old polaroid pictures, a yearbook and ticket stubs from a decades old concert or sporting event.

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Do we ever really “grow up”?

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Not sure that this applies to many 1960’s era football stars, but Jim Brown definitely could have played into today’s NFL.

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In addition to Medicare and Social Security, one of the unheralded benefits for seniors are naps.

Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To by David A. Sinclair (Review and Notes)

If you are over 50 years old, this book is an excellent resource related to your health, general fitness and quality of life.

I have included some excerpts for the book as my notes and reference:

I believe that aging is a disease. I believe it is treatable. I believe we can treat it within our lifetimes. And in doing so, I believe, everything we know about human health will be fundamentally changed.

There are some simple tests to determine how biologically old you probably are. The number of push-ups you can do is a good indicator. If you are over 45 and can do more than 20, you are doing well. The other test of age is the sitting rising test. Sit on the floor, barefooted, with the legs crossed. Lean forward quickly and see if you can get up in one move. A young person can. A middle-age person typically needs to push off with one of their hands. An elderly person often needs to get onto one knee.

There’s also a difference between extending life and prolonging vitality. We’re capable of both, but simply keeping people alive – – decades after their lives have been defined by pain, disease, frailty, and immobility – – is no virtue.

Multiple “hallmarks” of aging:
Genomic instability caused by DNA damage
Attrition of the protective chromosomal endocaps, the telomeres
Alterations to the epigenome that controls which genes are turned on and off
Loss of healthy protein maintenance, known as proteostatis
Deregulated nutrient sensing caused by metallic changes
Mitochondrial dysfunction
Accumulation of senescent zombielike cells that inflame healthy cells
Exhaustion of stem cells
Altered intercellular communication and the production of inflammatory molecules

Youth—broken DNA genome instability— disruption of DNA packaging and gene regulation (the epigenome)— loss of cell identity —cellular senescence— disease— death

The older we get, the less it takes for an injury or illness to drive us to our deaths. We are pushing closer and closer to the precipice until it takes nothing more than a gentle went to send us over. This is the very definition of frailty.

When we stay healthy and vibrant, as long as we feel young physically and mentally, our age doesn’t matter. That’s true whether you are 32, 52, or 92. Most middle-aged and older adults in the United States report feeling 10 to 20 years younger than their age, because they feel healthy. And feeling younger than your age predicts lower mortality and better cognitive abilities later in life.

After 25 years of researching aging and having read thousands of scientific papers, if there is one piece of advice I can offer, one sure fire way to stay healthy longer, one thing you can do to maximize your lifespan right now, it’s this: eat less often.

The important thing is not just what we eat but the way we eat. Many of the centenarians have spent their lives eschewing a morning meal. They generally eat their first small meal of the day around noon, then share a larger meal with their families at twilight. In this way, they typically spend 16 hours or more of each day without eating.

According to one study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in 2017, individuals who exercise more – – the equivalent of at least a half hour of jogging five days a week – –have telomeres that appear to be nearly a decade younger than those who live a more sedentary life.

One recent study found that those who ran 4-5 miles a week – – for most people, that’s an amount of exercise that can be done in less than 15 minutes per day – – reduce the chance of death from a heart attack by 45% and all cause mortality by 30%.

It’s high intensity interval training (HIIT) the sort that significantly raises your heart and respiration rates— that engages the greatest number of health promoting genes and more of them in older exercisers.

A study of more than 41,000 metformin users between the ages of 68 and 81 concluded that metformin reduced the likelihood of dementia, cardiovascular disease, cancer, frailty, and depression, and not by a small amount.

People taking metformin were living notably healthier lives – – independent, it seemed, of its affects on diabetes.

The beauty of metformin is that it impacts many diseases. Through the power of AMPK activation, it makes more NAD and turns on sirtuins and other defenses against aging as a whole -– engaging the survival circuit upstream of these conditions, ostensibly slowing the loss of epi-genetic information and keeping metabolism in check, so all organs stay younger and healthier.

Like most people, I don’t want unlimited years, just ones filled with less sickness and more love. And for most of those I know who are engaged in this work, the fight against aging is not about ending death; it’s about prolonging healthy life and giving more people the chance to meet death on far better terms – – indeed, on their own terms. Quickly and painlessly. When they are ready.

Either by refusing the treatments and therapies at all for a prolong healthy life or accepting those interventions and then deciding to leave whenever the time is right, no one who has returned what they have been given should have to stay on this planet if he or she does not wish to do so. And we need to begin the process of developing the cultural, ethical, and legal principles that will allow that to happen.

Thoughts on the Fly

Close friends, family and even spouses may know 60-80% of who we really are. No one knows 100% of us, not even ourselves.

Emotionally it is easier to give help than to accept it. Giving is an expression of the heart;  accepting often requires the surrender of ego and pride.

The endings of most friendships and relationships are not mutual decisions decided concurrently. Often one of the parties finds it an unpleasant surprise…

Strangely enough in retirement, what I miss most are not the paychecks or the benefits but the memories of the joys and anticipations of a two week vacation from work.

A very useful and unique skill I possess is the ability to quickly retrieve my wife’s train of thought, without prompt, from a conversation or point she was making from a day, weeks or months before.

Does anybody remember the excitement and feeling of accomplishment from the first time they were able to ride a two wheeled bike? Does anyone remember their first bike like they remember their first car?

A great coach teaches not only how his team should win with class but also to lose with dignity.

After one retires, does one really need a watch? It’s like a prison ankle bracelet that serves little purpose once one escapes the confines of working 8 to 5.

Sage wisdom from a New York Times Article 7 Questions 75 Artists 1 Bad Year

I’ve made peace with myself. I chose to no longer stress over the things I have no control over.

Tiwa Savage, musician

I have to have a thousand bad ideas before I can get to a good one.

Aaron Sorkin, writer and director

I’m writing a book, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started over from scratch. But the bad ideas lead to the best ones. Sometimes you have to break down to break through.

Amanda Gorman, poet

Miscellanea: Ruminations on a Dreary and Somber Day

Sandra Lynn Burleigh (Donahue) 2/28/1956 – 1/5/1995

I have lived 25,080 days. My sister Sandra who would have been 65 today died at age 38 in 1995, lived 14,191 days. She embodied the adage that it’s the quality of life in your years that matter not the years in your life.

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While it’s important at any time, the value of having good friends and family is far greater in our senior years than the value of one’s investments and assets.

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There are people who have hundreds or thousands of “friends” or followers on social media that may influence their lives. In my life, there are or were five people who influenced me by their thoughts and examples to be a better person. For them, I am grateful.

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We receive 86,400 “presents” daily so everyday is Christmas.

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According to the book, Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality by physicist Frank Wilczek, we can have a billion thoughts in our lifetime. I think that as we get older many of our thoughts are re-runs like old Gunsmoke or MASH episodes.

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Based on normal actuary tables, I have probably lived between 87-89% of my expected life. If I was a car, I would probably be replaced for a new model. Regrettably my trade-in value would be relatively low. My tires are worn, my headlights are dim and my engine is not as powerful as it once was.

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Ben Johns: Pickleball = Michael Jordan:Basketball

Johns and Jordan are the best closers in their respective sports.

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Cash Prizes: 2021 Australian Open = $80,000,000; 2021 Pro Pickleball Championships = $100,000

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Mitch McConnell: on Capitol Riot 1/6/21

“The mob was fed lies,”.“They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”…”These criminals were carrying his banners. Hanging his flags. And screaming their loyalty to him,”

Mitch McConnell on 2/25/21:He would “absolutely” support former President Donald Trump if he became the GOP presidential nominee in 2024.

WTF???

Senescence: Round 2

Some additional Pensées on the art of aging and other ruminations…Earlier Pensées found here

The best thing that we can receive are not presents, but simply “presence”.

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While I sadly accept the fate of lost friendships by death, I continually mourn lost friends due to distance, dispute or their disinterest. 

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Young broken hearts quickly recover; older hearts rarely…

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Memory is a funny thing. It vividly remembers the wink of an eye from a pretty girl 50 years ago but can’t remember what it had for lunch yesterday.

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In every real man, a child is hidden who…misses the comfort of hugs and reassurances of parents, siblings, relatives and friends no longer alive.

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As a young child, I treasured a pocket watch as my timepiece, today I just treasure peaceful time.

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One may try so hard to be liked by everyone that one can forget to take the time to like themselves.

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The average older guy’s daily wardrobe often can fit into the locker he had in high school.

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30 minutes of personal or phone conversation > dozens of text and Facebook messages

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On long solo walks, I find myself rarely traveling alone…

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40+years of marriage: Life accomplishment = .400 batting average: baseball. Both achievements deserve recognition in their respective Hall of Fames.

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Linus has his security blanket; older Americans, nostalgia.

Photo by Daniel Frese from Pixels

Muses on a Cold Winter Morning

My writing efforts resemble my pickleball game performances. Brief flashes of brilliance mixed with plenty of unforced errors and faults.

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The experience of watching televised college and pro sports during Covid is like viewing a sitcom without a laugh track.

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Parler: politics = Pornhub: love

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So who stands “in the dock” for the various atrocities and abuses to our democracy and laws committed in the past four years? A number of Trump sycophants, enablers and officials, in a bid to salvage their reputations and careers, finally bailed out from the “Herrenvolk.” Nikki Haley, Bill O’Reilly, Betty DeVos, Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell, John Kelly, John Bolton, Mike Pence and many other Trump supporters are fleeing from Trump like Melania avoids child refugee camps.

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Rush Limbaugh’s receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is as appropriate as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awarding Bonzo its Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Professional sports championships are generally decided off-season and by General Managers and less by players. College championships are generally decided in recruiting, less on the field or court. 

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How Trumpism mimics the coronavirus: (1) Can damage or kill the host (U.S.)  if untreated or unopposed. (2) Moves quickly through the populace through spreader (campaign) events. (3) Spurs denials by naysayers as to its existence and dangers. (4) Adverse after effects continue for many months (years) after initial contagion. (4) Mutates frequently posing additional dangers.  (5) Remedied by inoculation (election results).

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The biggest editors when many write are psychological, concerns for acceptance and approval plus the fear of speaking one’s mind and upsetting a career and reputation. How freeing to be retired and of advanced age when those editors are not as binding! While I still value the opinions of others, it’s more important that I move ideas and thoughts from my brain to screen, while I can.

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Tell me how many books and what you you read on a topic  and I can tell you how seriously I value your opinions on that topic.

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As I get older what has tragically declined faster than my physical and mental capabilities has been my decline in trust for most people to simply do the right things, especially when it comes to acting in the best interests of the nation, community or fellow man. 

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Senescence

My pithy observations on maturity and the art of getting older…

Photo by Trang Pham from Pexels

We open our book of life to see there are not very many pages left.

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A great antidote to depression or melancholy is the comforting smile of a young child.

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As years grow longer, handshakes, hugs and kisses among friends are stronger.

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Those who are truly happy, if offered a chance to enter a time machine and go back to relive their lives, would decline and say, “I would not change a thing.”

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Songs trigger old memories—-some bring a smile, some bring a tear. 

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We wear fatigue like a thin blanket hanging loosely from our slightly stooped shoulders.

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One’s definition of “success’ matures with age. Success becomes not so much what one has but what one did with what one had.

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Past events that seemed so embarrassing and foolish then are accepted with a wry smile and a forgiving heart now.

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Add 20% to the time it usually took you to complete routine duties like taking out the trash, going grocery shopping, finding your keys and climbing the stairs.

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What we miss surpasses what we look forward to…

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Women retain their desirability by their humor, laughter and conversation; men by simply listening.

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Our nightmares are not events that could happen but did happen.

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What often frightens the young, amuses the mature.

12 Things That No Longer Interest Me

As one gets older, one tends to downsize interests, activities and that one pursued or took part in throughout their life. Here is an initial list of things that were important earlier in my life but not so much now…

  1. Advertising: As my need to buy and own things lessen so is my interest in advertising or sales pitches. I hate commercials on TV and ads when I’m watching something on Youtube.
  2. Gossip: I’ve pretty much lost the ability to be shocked even surprised by the behavior of people especially celebrities, athletes and politicians.
  3. Long books and articles: I don’t have the same mental stamina that I had years ago. I tend to avoid books over 300 pages.
  4. Snow since I don’t go to school and I don’t have to drive to go to work, snow has become largely irrelevant except when I have to shovel it
  5. Winning At Contests Or Competition: When I play pickleball, I can’t tell you what my wins and losses were that day. My ultimate criteria is whether I had fun.
  6. Making New Year’s Resolutions While there are things I need to improve, I don’t need to formalize or plan how to do it.
  7. Diets: Too old, too late for me to discipline my taste buds and eating habits.
  8. Local Sports Talk Radio: The dumbest things ever said are mentioned on political social media sites and sports talk radio shows.
  9. Expensive Meals: A great tasting pizza can blow me away more than the priciest lobster. Dining out is the opportunity to socialize and connect with friends. Food is often incidental.
  10. Attending professional sporting events: With the exception of high school sports, I have lost interest in attending pro and college football, baseball and basketball games at the various venues. No interest in paying for parking and squeezing my big butt into an expensive seat when I could be comfortable at home watching the game.
  11. Ego: I no longer feel the need to impress. I don’t need to worry about what people think of me. I feel more authentic, more comfortable with who I am.
  12. Wealth: Health and time are more important than money. One always needs money but if your health is bad and you are not enjoying time due to pain, loneliness, boredom or infirmity, your life is poor.  You can’t buy contentment.

Aphorisms

I am a collector and writer of aphorisms. Aphorisms are short, pithy sayings that express concisely an observation, opinion, wisdom or truth. Aphorisms, like many ideas, come to me when I’m not sitting at a desk or with pen and notebook. They often spring up as I am walking, taking a shower or daydreaming. Listed below are some of my latest aphorisms:

  • Older people are like older cars without gas gauges. Both have traveled many miles and not sure how much gas or life is left in the tank.
  • If you make the same resolution year after year, it’s no longer a resolution but just wishful thinking. 
  • One can spend 15-20 minutes seeking, finding and purchasing an appropriate birthday or Hallmark card that the recipient skims in 5-10 seconds.
  • We’re always one tear away from joy or tragedy. 
  • What turns a woman from attractive to beautiful is her smile.
  • A woman can lose her youth, her beauty and her figure but as long as she can maintain her arts of making pleasant and interesting conversation and being a good listener, she will never lose her attractiveness.
  • Is there a more uncomfortable question than to be asked by someone to guess their age? Is there a more uncomfortable answer to the question of how we are old we are that estimates us much older than we are?
  • At 70, you are in the homestretch of life with the finishing line in sight.
  • When charity begins at home, it rarely leaves it.
  • At most churches, the faithful pray with their ministers; at some churches, the minister preys on the faithful.
  • The books in one’s library or bookshelf represents the portfolio of their intellectual investments.
  • Sitting quietly in an empty church generally is a more moving spiritual experience than sitting through a church service.
  • The worst personal rejection comes from those who mean so much to you when they show how little you meant to them.
  • Marathon running…times that try men’s soles.