Monday, December 12, 2011

On Working Out

As the title of my blog implies, I am reluctant to grow older, resisting it every step of the way.  Since I can't actually grow younger like Benjamin Button, I have decided to fake it.  And that, in and of itself, is hard work.  There's the twice daily face cleansing and moisturizing ritual.   There's the parafin hand treatments and nightly lubricating of feet. And there's the denying oneself of some of the most exquisite pleasures in life, the things that help you through the rough times, the delights that make getting up in the morning worthwhile: cream and bacon!

Having made my decision to fake being young, I  had a consultation with a personal trainer.  I went to the appointment with a handful of questions, the most important being, "Is it possible to keep cream and bacon in my diet and still attain a figure like Jennifer Aniston?" and "Can Ashley Judd play me in the movie of my life without first having to binge for months on cheesecake?"

Armed with my delusional questions, I headed to the gym.  Let me tell you, these "fitness centers" have masterful marketing, but the staging within the facility is pure genius:

Staging Strategy #1: At the front desk are the cute, shapely young women.  Young women that all women want to look like and all men want to be with.  They are slender, perky, and very pretty greeters.

Staging Strategy #2: The trainers are muscular, handsome, young men.  Young men that all men want to look like (or beat down) and women want to be with.  They are tall and fit, of course; and they smell of cream soda.  Mmm . . . cream.  At least my personal trainer did.

To add to his mystique, my personal trainer goes by only initials: A.J.  I'm guessing he's Andre or Aubrey or Alexander--some name that is uncommon and masculine.  He walked me through several exercises.  Curiously, they all involved me needing to lean on his biceps for support, or hold his hands for leverage, and look into his big brown eyes to stay focused.  I could have danced, uh . . . I mean "exercised" all night.  And he marked me as a "10" on his consultation sheet--that is the highest rating possible . . . for "motivation to lose those pounds of ugly, bulging fat." 

We never actually got to my questions.  I left expecting  never to see A.J. again.  I was under the impression he was a fictional super-hero that never leaves the holy grounds of the fitness center.  He was a chiseled masterpiece come to life who would dissolve if he stepped outside the gym.  I had finally figured out his name--Adonis.

I did see him again.  And he saw me.  I was shoving a  powdered sugar donette into my mouth in the parking lot of  7/11.  I'm pretty sure he changed my rating after that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Procrastinators

According to Dr. Oz, it can actually be a good thing to procrastinate. Dr. Oz attributed the tendency to procrastinate to immaturity--teens and college students who are notorious for playing when they should be studying, drinking when they should be writing and pranking when they should be figuring.  The reasoning behind the notion that there is an up side is that when the time comes to take action on the delayed matter, adrenaline kicks you into high gear and, voila!, you accomplish your goal just under the wire.  It's wonderful, trust me.  Adrenaline causes a rush that cannot be duplicated by any street drug, except, none that I can think of.  The "procrastinate then take-action-as-fast-as-you-possibly-can-without-suffering-penalties" is a trip, man!  What we Resistant Grays used to call "a natural high."

OK, we never called it that.  I was the only one in my school clique engaging in that risky behavior.  I used to eat when I should be studying, shop when I should be writing and daydream when I should be figuring.  (Visualize Prissy from Gone with the Wind, strolling home at a leisurely pace, sliding a stick across the fence slats, humming a slow dirge.)

Then suddenly that report would be upon me.  (In Prissy's case, Melanie's baby was pushing through and Scarlett was fuming.)  "Report?  I don't know nuthin' about no report, Ms. Shea."  My friends never accidentally played "beat-the-bell" in grade school or "quick, is-the-teacher-watching?" in middle school.  They sure as heck didn't succeed in unseating the girl sitting at the desk nearest the door one particularly rushed morning in the fall of 1977--not easy to do at five-feet-zero, 106 pounds (but where there's a will there's a way.) 

Of all my flaws, procrastination seems to wreak the most havoc for family and friends.  And they are not buying the "I have a gap in my prefrontal cortex" explanation.  Well, I'm here to tell you that some of us are, by nature (due to a gap in our prefrontal cortexes), hardcore, unapologetic, lifelong addicts to procrastination. Here's the problem with being this sort of junkie at age 50:  we can't run as fast as we used to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Forgetfulness

While I tend to be in denial about having turned 50, it's more difficult to deny the forgetfulness that creeps up on you throughout your forties, then becomes a full blown case of empty headedness by
FIVE-O.  I've compared stories with friends and we all seem to have the same propensity for losing keys, books and the like.  I've managed to devise ways of compensating.  For keys multiple sets helps.  For books, commit to reading in only one place.  Recently I had built-ins put in the bathroom.

Admit nothing.  That's my way of compensating for my troubled memory whenever possible.  Recently at breakfast I forgot I am lactose intolerant.  I ate a melted cheese toast and a carton of yogurt, followed by a hot chocolate chaser.  My 30-year-old daughter, an R. N., was on the receiving end of my discomfort.  "Mom, you know you're lactose intolerant.  You could've spared me."

For a denial to be convincing, I recommend clinical terminology and not even a hint of doubt.  "That has been neither proved nor disproved.  I'm still waiting for an official diagnosis.  Today, it seems, there is evidence in support of that theory.  Sorry."

When caught in the act of absentmindedness it's a little more difficult to feign ignorance.  For example, if you forget to take the house keys with you, and can't remember the code to the automatic garage door, it's probably best not to climb up onto the cable TV housing,  scale the adjoining neighbor's wall and dangle from their balcony railing (you forgot, of course, that you no longer possess the upper body strength to actually hoist yourself up onto the balcony floor).  This gives rise to questions by people wearing badges and their syringe-wielding friends.

"What are you doing up there, ma'am?" 
"I forget."

"Do you live there?"

"Where were you going?"
"My house.  It's right there."   You manage to point with one hand, while supporting your weight with the other Pilates-sculpted bicep.

"Why don't you use a key?"
"Forgot it."

"Why don't you use the garage door code?"
"Forgot it."

"How 'bout I call your daughter again?  What's her name?"
"Forget it.  I saw her earlier today.  She's not talking to me."

"Why not?"
"I'm lactose intolerant."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On Turning 50

I've been contemplating writing about growing older for some time now. . .two months, 28 days, 12 hours and 18 minutes.  I would mention the seconds, but that would be going overboard, wouldn't it?  Ever since I turned the big FIVE-O I've been enormously preoccupied with it.  Periods of contemplation on the matter, however, resulted in a number of positive discoveries:
  • There is now a more flattering term for this section of my life.  I don't have to refer to it as "middle age" or "winter" (both of which conjure up visions of darkness, bleakness, DEAD of winter-ness).  It is now called an "encore performance".  I can't remember who coined the phrase, but I want him or her to win a Nobel prize.
  • FIVE-O is popular, as evidenced by the fact that the TV series "Hawaii FIVE-O" has been recreated--with actors who are no where near 50.  (What's up with that?  Jack Lord was the epitome of crime-fighting maturity.  And Dan-O was no spring chicken, either.  No offense to James MacArthur.  The late James MacArthur.)
  • AARP sends you free stuff.  They coax you toward your encore performance with 1,000 free address labels, discounts on dining out, and articles (with photos) of celebrity members encouraging perseverance.  All this implies that a) you aren't going to be moving (you've retired and have nothing better to do than send snail mail; b) your culinary taste has declined to a point where Norm's is your restaurant of choice, and c) you are in the company of beautiful people, like Sting, Stevie Nicks and Betty White.  (Of course, when you die of old age you are in the company of beautiful people.  They conveniently leave out that part.) Very sneaky, those AARP-ers. 
Anyway, I'm going to persevere with this Blog titled, "Resistant Gray", intended to be a comedy of elders, since writing is what I do for my encore performance.