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Age is Just a Number

By Gregg Losinski

Published online: Sep 11, 2023 Articles
Viewed 330 time(s)

The older I get, the more often I look at myself in the mirror and think that I really need to get serious about taking care of myself and getting into better shape. Then I remember I have some tater tots reheating in the microwave and move on.

I’ve never been a fitness fanatic, but when I was younger my genetics allowed me to stay in pretty fair shape without a lot of effort. I never ran a marathon, but I could hike and cross-country ski better than most. My body always obliged me by pretty much doing whatever I asked of it. Then time sped up and my metabolism slowed down. Jumping into the mosh pit at a concert this summer was something a 63-year-old man probably shouldn’t do. Until the day after that experience, age was just a number.

In a place like Idaho Falls, where we have so many intellectual types at places like the Site, it is easy to try and reduce health and fitness down to simple numbers that can be tracked and manipulated. While there certainly is a whole lot of science and data out there to consider, there are also so many human emotions and external factors that simply can’t be calculated or quantified.

Sometimes you just can’t know all the numbers.

I’ve always enjoyed my food and drink. I enjoy exercising at Apple, but I also enjoy doing my 16-ounce curls down at Bardozas or Tap-in-Fill. Quantity and quality used to seem synonymous to me. If it tasted good, I would consume as much as I could. Why just savor a tasty morsel? Why just eat one drumstick when you could wolf down an entire bucket of KFC? Chuck-A-Rama epitomizes the American Dream. All-you-can-eat seems to be a challenge, not a friendly invitation. Portion sizes always struck me as suggestions, numbers that always seemed ridiculously way too small.

Back when I was attending college, there was a brand of cheap alcohol that was simply vodka colored and flavored to simulate all types of spirits. It came in large one-gallon bottles that were extremely inexpensive. The sad joke was that all the bottles bore the motto “Enjoy in Moderation.” Moderation is the last thing that a college student buying a gallon of booze for five bucks is thinking about! Sometimes I.Q. numbers are just numbers.

For most of my life, I was blessed with perfect eyesight. Near or far it didn’t matter, I could read it! Then as I entered my 50s my up-close vision started to falter. It seems ironic that my eyes would start to have trouble seeing something so close as the watch on my wrist when I could still see a deer on a hillside a mile away when I was driving 80 mph. “Old Man Eyes” or presbyopia, as my optician said. Hello cheaters and goodbye 20/20. It hurts to lose some numbers.

Thanks to a variety of reasons, people now say that 60 is the new 40. I certainly wouldn’t argue with that observation for those of us that are lucky enough to be able to work jobs that don’t destroy our bodies and souls. Others just can’t be happy to live the simple life and instead follow the directions of the old Schlitz Beer commercial and try to “Grab All the Gusto That You Can!”

Nothing wrong with a little fun, but some recreational pursuits can have serious implications if something goes wrong. Six feet under is a number none of us should rush to embrace.

Life is what you make of it after fate and chance have their go at you. There are lots of good decisions that we can make about our health in life and even more poor ones. The trick is doing the best that you individually can. Back in the ’50s, comedian Joe E. Lewis expanded the classic phrase, “You only live once,” by adding “If you work it right, once is enough!” In true Millennial fashion, Drake resurrected the phrase and abbreviated it to YOLO. Use your time wisely because life is a set of finite numbers.

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