Stuck?

I feel like a 35 year old stuck in a body about twice that age. To those who wonder what it’s like to be “this old,”it depends.

If my physician is eyeball-to-eyeball to me with a very serious look on his face, I feel old. If I am socializing with a bunch of very close friends and the laughter is non-stop, I feel 35. If I’m playing in the dirt with one or both of my grandsons, I feel about ten.

Time seems to move more quickly for me but life seems deeper, richer, and more meaningful than it did when I was younger.

On balance I feel about 35. I didn’t expect that when I was 35.

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Why Did I Retire?

First, Thank God, I could afford to.

The details of my work conflicted with how valuable my waning years had become. Those details seemed like and were a waste of time that was too precious to waste.

There were books to read and books to write. There were places to see and places to miss. There were people to meet and people to avoid.

I needed greater focus on my spiritual growth. I knew that it was more blessed to give than receive. I had to do more giving.

It was time to see family and friends and talk of things that mattered.

It was time to get off the unmerry-go-round.

H.Robert Rubin, memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all published on Amazon.

HEAR My Plea

I tried to see an otolaryngologist yearly to clear my ear canals of cerumen (wax), up to the drum, for years. I have small ear canals that made that a necessity.

As I got older I complained of difficulties communicating in busy, loud restaurants. The physician saw to it I was given hearing tests. Then, one day five years ago it was clear I had lost a substantive amount of hearing at the upper ranges.

He explained to me that the potential for loss was like the potential for losing muscle mass as I grew older. He said, “Use it or lose it.” I heard that loud and clear as the loss would be brain function, something I couldn’t spare. In other words if one doesn’t hear words clearly they are not processed well and one does not function on “all eight hearing cylinders.” Some viable neuronal cells that process can be lost.

Is there anything more important than a well-functioning brain? If a loss of brain function can be prevented, however much, aren’t hearing aids a good idea? Don’t the modern, digital, hearing aids that are barely visible, if at all, diminish the potential embarrassment of wearing an aid?

Forgive the pun but this one is a no-brainer. Whatever your age if noisy restaurants make it hard for you to communicate or you have some other hearing loss in another environment, don’t you think it is time to see at least an audiologist? I have no financial interest in this business and this blog is free. I am trying to help people maintain as much brain function as possible.

According to an FDA webinar in May of 2012 (https://www.fda.gov/downloads/aboutfda/transparency/basics/ucm305102.pdf):

  • 36 million (or 17%) adult population in the US report some degree of hearing loss.
  • Less than 20% of those with hearing loss who might benefit from treatment actually seek help.
  • Most hearing aid users had lived with hearing loss for 10+ years, and waited until it progressed to moderate‐to‐severe levels before seeking professional help for hearing aid fitting.

Please don’t allow a minute of self-destructive delay to stand in your way. Get it done. A brain is an awful thing to waste. Don’t you think?

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling, Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon.

Tony Gwynn, We Remember You

Tony Gwynn died way too early six years ago. San Diegans will never forget him. His loyalty to us was uncommon as he was never “free agented” away from our ball club.

One outstanding San Diegan and one great hitter! Tony was a humble, decent man who read most pitchers like a book in large print. That frustrated group included Greg Maddux and the Yankee pitchers whose team swept us in the 1998 World Series, while Tony batted .500 against them. He faced the Yankees Mariano Rivera once and batted 1.000 driving his great stuff into the outfield for a hit.

David Cone said he knew all he had to know about Tony when the season in which Mr. Padre batted .394 was shortened by history’s only Major League Baseball strike. He said despite losing an excellent chance at being the first .400 hitter in over 50 years Tony NEVER complained.

H. Robert Rubin, lifetime sports fan and memoirist who authored Look Backward Angel, an e-book that has spent time on the Amazon best sellers list in its genre.

Going Deep

Regretfully we lost Anthony Bourdain to suicide at only 61. He has been referred to in various posthumous articles as a “bad boy” and as someone with smarts, wit and cool. Many people find it difficult to understand how a tall, good looking, famous, wealthy man with that trio of qualities would do himself in.

Apparently he was depressed. Four out of five of you will never suffer with depression. In my mid-20s I suffered through several clinical depressions. I can assure you they were, hands down, the worst ordeals in my 73 years. My emotions were flat. My days for weeks were filled with hopelessness. I frequently wanted to be someone else. I considered suicide but never made an attempt to end my life.

I was in medical school at the time. With one exception my friends and professors seemed oblivious to my plight. I recall one prof in the depths of my miseries who actually insulted me publically humiliating me.

Perhaps many of us could be listening more wholeheartedly to our loved ones and friends. Perchance we could get past what glistens on the surface and go deep. Maybe we could risk addressing with some not so inclined the potential benefits of behavioral therapy.

Mine was helpful and my depression lifted after each ordeal. Since my 20s the ailment has not returned. At a minimum to those who struggle with depression there is a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255.

To the lovely family members and close friends who have tried to assuage even “an ounce” of the problem sensitively, thank you regardless of the outcome. Brilliant, sensitive, behavioral therapists with meds available through physicians have their own tragic history of patients lost to suicide. Guilt is the “gift that keeps on giving.” Don’t be burdened with false guilt.

As the great poet/pastor John Donne suggested, we are all connected, No Man is an Island. If nothing else, God willing, this tragedy can encourage many more to sensitively connect with others.

H. Robert Rubin, Amazon best-selling memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon.