October this year marks more than just a changing of the year's seasons for me. Yes, the leaves are changing their hue, some becoming brilliant reds or yellows, while some just go brown, either way helping their hosts prepare for new vibrancy in the spring.
But turning 60 in September, caused me to reflect more than I thought I would. During the year, my wife Lesley would ask "What I wanted to do for my 60th?" I responded, it’s just another day, no big deal. "But what can I get you?" she would ask. Again, I wasn't helpful, saying there was really nothing I needed. Okay maybe I need coaching on better responding to Lesley's considerate questions!
So for my 60th, it was off to the Big Apple to help our 19 year old move into an East Village apartment - while he played intramural basketball! Hey, if you can delegate to parents, why not? But it was just another day, no big deal, right? As the evening drew near, our duties were done and we hailed a cab (they seem to be cheaper and easier than Uber in NYC) to Cafe Sabarsky, so I could enjoy a Viennese style schnitzel dinner, and yes, chocolate cake (it was after all still a birthday). After dinner we strolled through Central Park and stopped for a video call with three of our boys (it was middle of the night for our oldest). The boys shared that they ordered new wheels and tires for my 1990 convertible, a car that they all learned to drive manual on. I was blown away - it was truly the perfect gift, one to mark the occasion way better than I had imagined. The context was I hadn't been able to find quality tires for the car's old alloy rims. We all love the car, and given its age, thanks to periodic maintenance, it still runs great, although the top is a little less flexible folding down than when the car was younger. Kind of like old knees without SierraSil! (I promise the only commercial in this post!!). Anyway, it was a great way to wrap up my 60th!
Seasons come and go, and it’s a lovely thing although they seem to move along a little faster as we age, at any age it seems! Earlier this month, Lesley and I were visiting the Stanford campus for my re-union. We took friends of our youngest son to dinner - and even these college boys were lamenting how time flies! Anyway, the re-union seemed to melt away twenty-five plus years as relationships with classmates were re-kindled in a flash.
As I reflect on not only the change of season from summer to autumn, I also reflect on the change of season with turning 60. I still feel pretty good despite recent injuries (see below). Like I want my pre-COVID floor-hockey group to return to action and be seeking new 10 KM middle age personal bests. And I feel like I have a long time to plan big trips with Lesley. But with the reality of a significant injury at the start of summer, which followed a nagging foot tendon injury (caused by bare foot sprint cross training on grass) I need to admit I'm not as young as I used to be. That I do need to plan for transition.
I looked for some articles on this time of life – and found a well written article by Katrina Kenison, "this is 60" who noted 'so much is over, there's no going back'. Which is true, but I still have much to look forward to, not the least of which are some big trips with Lesley, enjoying our grand-children, more time with those "old" classmates and so much more, including the dream of helping a million people be healthier and more active with the SierraSil® minerals.
So staying in shape and not taking unnecessary risks is as important as ever for me. We all know the recipe.
- Exercise, both aerobic (that is cardio, getting the oxygen flowing) and anaerobic (that is building/retaining strength without significantly elevating your heart rate) are valuable. Please note, as we get older - don't waste opportunities to be active. Do that after dinner walk or at the airport or mall, take the stairs instead of the escalator. Do a few squats or core exercises here and there (like when you wake up or brew coffee) and use your loaded grocery bags for a few arm reps before unpacking those bags. And stick to those dedicated exercise sessions. Dr. Lori Shemek PhD noted in a Twitter post this week a recent meta-analysis suggests that resistance training is associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality.
- Eating healthy, yes reducing the junk food and deserts is part of that and being mindful of snacking or 'grazing' at a social event - a couple of things I really need to focus on!
- Maintaining a reasonable weight or battling to get there (because that's what it is, to get there).
- Getting good sleep every day if you can.
- Challenge our minds and read a variety of content (fiction and non-fiction)
I like to add give your best energy to your most important relationships and cultivate your friendships. Yet also balance that with quiet reflective time, including alone for prayer or meditation and be consciously grateful. I’m reading John Foley’s book, Fearless Success and the former lead solo pilot of the Blue Angels (and classmate of yours truly at Stanford) encourages us to start our day, even before rising, by articulating in our minds who and what we are grateful for (and say thank you)!
So whether it's just a change of annual season for you or perhaps a life change season on the horizon, be purposeful - that's a message for me as much or more than it is for you. It's by being purposeful that we can maintain vibrancy and be like those dramatic red leaves of fall instead of just fading to brown way earlier than we need to.
Finally, as some of you have asked, a quick update on my recovery from numerous broken ribs (and a collapsed lung) on the Canada Day long weekend. The specialist said given my age I'd need 3 months to return to full normal activity, but my ribs healed surprisingly quickly (tempting another product mention, but I'll resist!). At less than 4 weeks, I cautiously did the BCMC (BC Mountain Club) trail up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver with the encouragement and guidance of my friend and trainer, Jerome Bertrand (thank you Jerome). At 5 weeks, I was carefully doing lengths in a 25 metre swimming pool, at 6 weeks I was hitting golf balls, but could still feel the tenderness of the rib injuries and at 7 weeks Lesley and I did a nearly 50 km farm to farm bike ride in the Pemberton Valley. By 8 weeks I felt fully healed but certain actions could remind me of the injury, like the first overhead press of a free weight. Then almost 11 weeks after the injury, I got COVID for the first time, while travelling for business. I'm fortunate I didn't get it early in the recovery. I've since experienced a lingering occasional cough so have not returned to aerobic exercise, but have continued anaerobic exercise at home and the ribs feel fine.
Thank you for reading this and I hope it inspires you to keep focusing on health and personal connections.