About three months ago, I was stepping down into the shower, a place that has quite an echo, and heard a distinctive crunching noise coming from my right kneecap. It made me want to crawl out of my skin. I silently hoped that the crunch was the result of an injury and not the worst culprit of all: aging.
Isn’t that insane?
Like all things that make me uncomfortable, I first wanted to know - is it just me?
A quick post on Facebook yielded a plethora of comments whose advice could be split into one of two philosophies:
- Welcome to your 40′s and the insults of aging
- It’s NOT normal, there are proactive ways to minimize & reverse wear & tear.
I felt like I should do something about my crunchy knee, but I first had to decide what philosophical camp I belonged to.
Behind any human action there is a philosophy that steers those actions.
I asked myself: How do I approach and have a relationship with this body for the second half of my life? Do I age as I saw my grandparents aging? My parents? Then kismet intervened when a girlfriend sent me a book that she had recommended that I read. It’s called Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond, by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge M.D.
I just finished it yesterday. The authors speak about how the advancements in medicine now conclude that the vast majority of aging as we know it can not only be prevented but reversed. I’m intrigued. I didn’t mind at all that it’s a book written for retirement-age men.
This book reflects the new science & philosophy behind aging and fitness. It’s a philosophy that says you can ‘stave off 70% of the normal decay associated with aging (weakness, sore joints, apathy), and…eliminate over 50% of all illness and potential injuries.’ This isn’t wishful thinking, this is science, Big Girl.
If you don’t want to live with crunchy knees or see your health and vitality go down the toilet over the next 50 years; pick up a copy before the New Year and perhaps your philosophy will shift, too. And, no, I’m not going to tell you the author’s prescription to turn back the clock because you won’t want to hear it right now.
It requires a lot of effort and dedication, but that’s the beauty of this book. It wins you over because it explains how our bodies were meant to work in nature-and why modern living is causing so many supposed age-releated problems, that are actually a function of sending our bodies signals to decay, not grow.
Changing your philosophy can change your mind -about everything, including fighting aging.
I think this philosophy is the zeitgeist of the times and I’m willing to bet it will be another way that my generation will maverick our way into aging just as we have been doing all along. We are a generation that grew up with computers, yet had to learn how to use them after formal schooling was finished. I grew up in a time when it was cool to smoke. That changed, too. We were raised on rock n’roll, and became the first to embrace rap and hip-hop music. My generation came of age in the 80′s – a time of wild financial extremes. All that ended – the dot.com bust, 911, and the financial meltdown. Look at our President.
We are so going to rock this aging thing; too.
The author Chris Crowley is in his 70′s and functionally younger than he was in his 50′s. He’s a trailblazer for sure and I’m paying attention. I think the Cross-Fit craze is proof of the greater desire not to settle for shitty aging. Who wants to break down when you can feel great until well into your 80′s? It’s a fitness prescription based on science and how were MADE to live in our physical bodies.
The authors have also written a version for women called Younger Next Year for Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond. I didn’t read this version, and I don’t really think it matters which copy you pick up; the core message is essentially the same. Plus, if you read the men’s version, you might get your boyfriend, husband, brother to actually read it.
So that’s my biggest goal for 2014. Much broader in scope than losing 10 pounds, I’m going to commit to Dr. Lodge’s rules. I’ll post about the good, the bad, and the ugly along the way, and hopefully somewhere along the way in the 2014 I might feel younger next year. The first update is here, if you’d like to follow along. The experiment is to discover whether I can break free of the self-imposed old philosophy of aging that I didn’t even realize that I had incarcerated myself in.