Age for Real

So Forty is the new thirty. etc., etc. Don’t believe it.

As one get’s older one’s systems are competing to do one in. Your arterial vessels become less elastic as does your skin. Those wrinkles in your skin show you daily how one system is aging. All the surgical stretching in the world won’t change the skins desire to deteriorate.

Other systems are diminishing. The kidneys age and filter less readily. The brain loses cognition that may start as early as forty. The lung function diminishes. The discs in the spine begin to age at about twenty one.

Knowing this is true I monitor at the allowed Medicare frequency the condition of those systems. The more slowly one’s systems can possibly age the better. I do all I can with diet and moderate exercise to stem the tide. Nonetheless the resistance training can injure the musculoskeletal system with repetition. In other words it is a balance of risks and benefits, generally.

Everything I can think of I apply to diminishing my intensity: reading, writing, word games, travel, stretching, etc. At a minimum it increases the quality of the life that remains for me at 74.

Loving God and others is central to meaning in my life. It involves emotional growth without which my personality would deteriorate as well.

May God bless all of your efforts to make this life a good and fruitful one.

The Alphabet Soup of Demographics?

From my view, Gen X, Gen Y and the rest of the alphabet soup phrases are, frequently, an attempt to make newsprint, or, gather screen-focused eyeballs. I think the tags are stereotyping.

They seem to be a part of the obsessive need to crunch data. Abdominal crunches might be a better idea until and if one gets too old and just creates hernias.

Age you say?  You are only as old as the number of pills you ingest daily.

We don’t need to be pigeon-holed, or boxed or contained. We are all human, thank God.

The arts take us beyond the stats to a place where truth is found for twenty year olds as well as ninety year olds. Who is not transformed by a great Rembrandt or Vermeer?

At least that was true the last time I looked. I don’t think I have found a generational, personality implant in anyone. Nor have I talked to a drone. Each of us is an individual, thank God. We even become more different as we age, gaining breadth and depth.

May we open our eyes and ears and hearts to each other with love and forgiveness. May we share the beauty of the arts and each other. The arts CAN elicit some of our better ANGELS.

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.

Old Age, the Good Stuff

I don’t need to list the shortcomings of age at 74. They are too well known.

But, to those fortunate enough to be retired, there are a host of benefits. I don’t have the pressure of the question: It is Saturday; should I continue Friday’s workday. I don’t wake up too early in a cold sweat with anywhere near the frequency I did before.

I have three critical questions each day. Can I make the world around me a better place? Are my heart and lungs working? Am I aware of where I am and who I am? If the answer to all three questions is yes, I am content.

My content does not rely, thank God, on outperforming others. It does rely on loving others and being loved. And that, from my perspective, is a good place to be.

H. Robert Rubin, memoirist and Amazon best selling author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available in electronic and paper formats on Amazon

Fitness Centers?

Different aspects of the fitness revolution that started decades ago bother me. In particular it is my experience at the gym or fitness center. For instance sometimes when I quietly try to stretch every part of my body on a mat or bench someone else near me doing likewise is groaning like a wildebeest attacked by a lion.

Then there are the weight or resistence machines that are the most popular in the gym. When I see another member circling me on such a device like a leopard who hasn’t eaten in hours, I let that member know how soon I will be off the machine. I have seen others get lost in the world of their cellphone such that an impending gym fire couldn’t get them off the machine.

I diet and exercise in stark fear that my pre-diabetes of 10 years will become real diabetes with its multitude of risks. It is enough to get me in that gym five to six days a week. Even before that knowing the benefits of exercise I was there three to four times a week. My health was enough to motivate me while carefully assessing the dollar cost.

Nonetheless, I have read about the booming business of high end fitness boutiques that charge 30 to 40 dollars a session for a group fitness class. That is more than I have ever paid for a month at a gym. It seems wasteful and unnecessary to me to pay for motivation and exercise at those prices. But maybe I just live outside the box. How about you?

H. Robert Rubin, memoirist and Amazon best selling author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available in electronic and paper formats on Amazon

Southern California’s Mountains, a Refuge?

The Santa Monica mountains were once a few blocks west of our home in Woodland Hill, CA. One day in about 1986 I was hiking at the crack of dawn at the foot of the mountains. Just as I entered a trail I was faced with a small but imposing bobcat. I took a U-Turn and fortunately so did the bobcat.

As I recall that range some seven years earlier, it was the winter of ’79. We lived near the crest of one mountain in Topanga Canyon. We loved Joni Mitchell’s music and per one of her albums she had been one of the “Ladies of the Canyon.”

And then the winter rains began to fall and fall and fall. The ancient Indian road that had been Topanga Canyon Blvd. washed out. But near the crest of the hill we had no damage.

I had a slow road down through the other side of the mountain for weeks. But we were lucky that that was the extent of our problems.

The beautiful Getty Museum now sits further south on the crest of these mountains where fire is yet another threat. The museum has incredible technology to avoid art damage or conflagration of the property. Hopefully none of that will ever be needed.

They are a beautiful group of mountains but they have their downsides like any other property. I look back fondly at the peaceful nature of living in or near that range.

The mountains were one of the features that brought us to the golden state 41 years ago. Our arrival seems like yesterday. On the other hand the beauty of all the mountains in this corner of the earth still slow down the clock for us both.

Tennis on Beautiful Green Grass

And so it begins. The lawn tennis season.

In Europe it started in The Netherlands and Germany. Before we can blink twice the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon will open to seated fans and fans on the huge grassy area, once, and perhaps still to some, known as Henman hill.

Tim Henman is 44 now and is a British Wimbledon announcer. He has aristocratic diction that fits this distinguished event.

Many players believe this is the top of the heap. They see a championship here as career changing.

I love the beautiful grass surface and the blinding skids that little ball takes upon arrival on the grass. There is no time for generous, loopy shots. Efficiency is king here given the speed of the surface.

Will the measured, fastest player on court, Novak Djokovic, be victorious? Or will it be the man who puts the most rpm on the ball, Rafa. It might even be the almost 38 legend of the sport, the graceful Roger Federer. He has more shots up his sleeve on grass than any player who ever set foot on the surface. Or will a “next gen” with a Federer like backhand be victorious, a Tsitsipas or Thiem? We avid tennis fans eagerly await the start of play on July 1 to begin to answer this compelling question.

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

Rafa, the Man

He wears a bull icon. He plays with power, grace and conviction. Today he ended his 12th French Open Championship sobbing into his uniform.

He has a beautiful spirit forged in the crucible of a solid, athletic physique breaking down. He is too familiar with the operating table. He has lived with the awful pain of rehabilitation.

But, today at 33 he is a greater man than the teen who first won this tournament years ago. Nadal was emotionally overwhelmed by this victory with all the pain required to get there.

He told Dominic Thiem in the closing ceremonies that he was an example to the young kids. Rafa said, as well, in esence, that Dominic’s wonderful character was more important than his tennis game. Such words are rarely heard in the ethereal air of a huge grand slam win. But that, is Rafa, the man.

Postscript: 8/21/21:

Yesterday, 35 year-old Rafa announced his 2021 tennis season had ended due to a worsening of his ailing foot. He said that foot has been a problem since 2005. He has played with pain, and, he appreciates the pain of others. The last time I heard him give a tournament, victory speech he took time to express his sadness for the world’s tragic, Pandemic. It was pure Rafa.

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

Thiem v Nadal: Tomorrow’s Final

On the 3rd, just five days ago, Rafa Nadal turned 33. He has not lost a step. He plays the net better than ever. Nadal never gives in. Rafa is the reigning king of clay.

Dominic Thiem is his match in many ways but is eight years younger. He played a career changing five setter against Nadal in the last US Open. Thiem lost BUT he proved his metal. Thiem followed it up winning Indian Wells. He is the only man alive who can move well and overpower “the bull” from Mallorca. Finally his current coach Nicolas Massu has done magnificently.

I told my son, who once played fine college tennis, before the Djokovic semifinal I had a hunch Dominic would win the French Open. So far so good.