There are a lot of things that change and become harder at 50 years old: parents and older relatives can become sick: kids grow up and spread their wings, having the occasional memory issue, i.e., I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday (but, can quote Caddyshack or Pulp Fiction verbatim.) The biggest change, however, is physically. Our muscles and bodies simply won’t function like they did in our 20s or 30s.
As we get older, it’s critical to be active, to stay in shape, and to watch what we eat and drink. OK, so I may fail on the drink part as I consider vodka and coffee to be two of the essential food groups for a balanced diet, but I try.
What I mean is that as we all get older, it becomes more difficult to stay in shape, but also more important. I am 52 years old and consider myself to be very active and pretty physically fit. Love handles notwithstanding, I’m in fairly decent shape.
But, it is a struggle. I have run 8 Boston Marathons, finished a triathlon and numerous half marathons. I play basketball and softball regularly. I kayak, box, go for hikes, hit the gym 6 days a week, lift weights, and do push-ups every morning. I am one of those people that actually enjoys working out. Even with all that, I realize that I can’t do the same things I used to do. Keeping the weight off is still a chore.
We all know its important to exercise and eat as healthy as possible, as everyone wants to live a long healthy life, but, there are other reasons why as well.
The main reason for me for trying to stay in shape is to be around as long as possible for my two teenage boys. There is family history of diabetes and heart disease. My Dad passed away at age 70 after being confined to a wheelchair for the last 15 years of his life. I workout to avoid my Dad’s fate, but, I also want to look my best. Why is it, that I don’t care about the selfie the way my female friends do?
My guy friends and I don’t feel the need to take 47 versions of a selfie in a bathroom stall (or while driving) before we will authorize/allow it to be posted online. We don’t ask to hold the camera’s shutter button down to take 100 shots just for one Instagram post. We don’t care who is in the middle if there are three of us. Guys also don’t insist on effects, photo enhancers, filters or retouching of a picture before it ever sees Facebook or Instagram. (Truth be told, if there was a software that automatically airbrushed in some hair on my head, I would be down for trying it for one shot.)
I have never thought about angles or lighting or which is my good side. I am aware that nobody takes a great picture in fluorescent lights, but I also don’t care. What I care about more these days is that my back gets sore after a few swings at softball, or that my first steps out of bed in the morning looks like a cross between Frankenstein and Night of the Living Dead.
As long as I’m venting, I’d like to understand why women want to post pictures using Snapchat filters. I love Snapchat, to see my friends and family but I don’t need to send a picture of myself with flowers in my hair, or dog ears or a fake tongue hanging out.
Another ugly truth about staying in shape over the age of 50 for guys or at least this guy is that, like women, I do have different-sized clothing. I have old jeans, no, not the acid-washed Guess jeans with leather on the pockets, but jeans that I used to wear that now fit me like a small hotel – not enough ballroom. Yet I optimistically hang onto them.
So, at the ripe old age of 52, I continue to try to find my six pack, even though it’s probably just a four pack and it continues to be under a layer of fat. I will always go to the gym for my cardio, and then wait in the car to get the closest possible space to the door. Now, sadly, an all-nighter is not having to get up to pee.
Even with all of that, I enjoy the quest of staying in shape as my metabolism decreases along with my testosterone levels. Whether its running five miles, still being the guy to slide while wearing shorts in softball, or just losing to my son in one-on-one hoop. I may not be able to do all the things that I once did without popping a few Advil, but, I’m still out there doing it all and will continue to do so for as long as possible, to be healthy and live a robust life, but I won’t do it for 100 versions of a selfie.
Scott lives in Needham, just a few miles from where he grew up in Newton, and is the proud father of teenage boys. When not working, Scott can be found doing something to do with sports, either playing basketball or softball, watching a game on TV or in the past, coaching his kids. He also enjoys lifting weights and running, having finished 8 Boston Marathons. Scott enjoys a well chilled extra dry martini, and likes to cook, considering himself a nacho connoisseur.