Successful Retirement In a Brave New World
The most important factor in a successful retirement, is a successful life -- which is one's baseline health. If that is good, one can do anything one feels like doing; if it is bad, then one will not feel like doing anything at all, and there is no pleasure in it -- but only the constant torment of pain.
So before one considers doing anything else in retirement, first consideration should be given to improving one's health to the highest degree of actualization possible -- because that component of improvement, is the greatest thing one can do for oneself. That should be obvious as the best thing one can do in "retirement" -- which should not mean a slow and steady deterioration, but the opportunity to focus all one's energies, efforts and resources in what is obviously critical to do -- and if one doesn't, then a steady deterioration is the only fate possible.
An unfortunate few will choose that fate -- despite everyone around them telling them they are drinking themselves to death, or allowing themselves by inactivity to become even more morbidly obese and immobile (incapable); they just have given up wanting to do anything more for themselves -- yet expect that others should make them well. The first requirement of a good patient, is that they themselves want to make themselves well, and if they are not willing to do that, they will undermine the efforts of everyone else to improve them -- as their personal contest in life, to overcome all the others, and in that way, assert their superiority.
Healthy people will assume that the objective of all people, is to get better -- and never suspect for a moment, that some people's objective is to get worse -- so they can get all the help (attention) they want, which should be apparent, is not a sustainable, healthy way to be. Even as young people, the overriding objective of life, is to become as independent and self-sustaining as possible, so one doesn't have to be at the mercy of others -- and at the extreme, "dependent on the kindness of strangers," to provide for their every need and desire.
That would be a very inefficient society -- and such a society would produce overly dependent (dysfunctional) people -- predictably. One could say that nothing else would be possible. But that seems to be the cultural expectation up to this point -- that retirement doesn't make a better life possible, but only to sustain life as it gets worse, but every development in the progress and evolution of life, serves to create a critical mass that becomes transformative in itself -- that is, takes on a life of its own greater intelligence than could have been foreseen from the original intentions.
That's obviously what happens, when a senior population increasingly becomes a greater percentage of the entire population -- which is unprecedented in human experience and history. Does that society become dedicated and overwhelmed with "caregiving," or does it become something else entirely different -- because it has to. The most likely manifestation, is that people learn to take far better care of themselves -- in order not to require that everybody else has to take care of them because they cannot take care of themselves -- primarily, which is the efficient and economical way to be -- and to do things.
It is much less efficient, to require an army of "professionals" to do everything for every individual, than it is for each individual to provide for themselves -- to the best that they can, as the world's leading expert on themselves, and what they want, and how they respond specifically to any modalities. That signals the ending of mass (media) society, and the "One size fits all -- or else," model of emerging mass production societies. Now, each individual becomes their own expert and cottage industry -- customized to optimize their own existence -- as the individualization that makes self-actualization meaningful for each individual.
That, obviously, is not possible in the mass (media) culture -- in which everyone has to march to only one tune (decided by?) -- but entirely possible, and healthy, for every individual in their uniquely own way. In fact, the tools of our times, requires it. That is the age of the personal computer. People aren't different because they are forced to be; they are different because they choose to be -- including that critical choice of whether one chooses to be better (healthier), or chooses to be worse -- so they can obtain increasingly more help and resources.
All rich people, are not alike, nor are all poor people. Some rich people, will choose to live as though they are poor, while some poor people, will choose to live as though they are rich -- defying the stereotype that is bane of their classification -- of people invariably with diminished capacities living in delusions, mere shadows of their former vibrant, robust selves.
Most people are the way they think they are expected to be -- rather than as they choose themselves to be. That is true of young people as well, but after a lifetime of living to everyone else's expectations of who one ought to be -- the real successes are invariably those few, who live the life they choose for themselves -- which few can overcome their lifelong conditioning, simply to live the same way everyone else has done before -- and not the brave, new life now possible to create for themselves -- because they actually can.
The Failure of Exercise
While promoting exercise is certainly laudable, every article I've seen also promotes the misinformation and misunderstandings that undermine its credibility.
The expert is quoted as saying that unless one lifts weights, they cannot build bone density -- implying that the work is against gravity, rather than it truly is, against (fluid) pressure.
The bones are not being strengthened (compacted) because of the weight exerted perpendicular to the length of the bone -- but by the compressive forces from the ends of length of the bone -- so that muscle contraction (compression) alone, is what causes the bone compacting (density) effect -- and not the gravitational force on the bones.
For example, one of the archaic ways of thinking about muscle action -- is that muscles act in opposition to one another, rather than collaboratively. In that premise, in order for the biceps to contract, the triceps has to relax -- or lengthen, rather than the more accurate observation -- that the biceps and the triceps have to contract concurrently, and that action, produces the compressive forces longitudinally -- not requiring any weights (resistance) to effect, but in knowing what position the bones must be in to be in contraction -- which is a product of this proper understanding, and not effort, force or gravity.
I think critical to a wider adoption of movement strategies as a lifelong adjunct to every life, is the movement of exercise in the direction of increased understanding -- rather than simply more force, effort and pain, with the poor understanding usually propagated by the physical educators -- which has traditionally been most people's resistance to that kind of imposed conditioning -- by all the authoritarians in their lives.
The Next Big Thing
What the world doesn't need, is another hypercompetitive exercise in
brutality, and movements increasingly more difficult than they have to
be -- which is the problem of exercising muscles in isolation, and
against one another -- because the whole overriding genius of human
evolution, is to make work easier, more efficient, more economical --
rather than go the other way.
Thus, the next big thing, is not
even more brutal than mixed martial arts for the 20-30 year olds, but
what works for all those aging Baby Boomers -- who can remain active and
engaged all their lives, rather than being eliminated by the caveman
That really shouldn't be hard to figure out -- once one
overcomes the primitive notions that the objective in conditioning is
not to make work, movement and activities harder -- but to make
movement(s) easier, more efficient, more economical, in order for people
to maintain that vitality for lengthy lives that could not even be
imagined one hundred years ago.
Robert Heinlein, in Stranger in a
Strange Land, writes of the human returning to earth from a life he only
knew on Mars previously, to imagine the form and function an organism
must be, to optimize for living conditions on earth -- as the space age
model of possibility, and not reverting to its most primitive forms --
as the rediscovered ideal, and next big thing.
we move forward, or do we go backwards -- as the future of human
evolution and progress? What is the future we are conditioning for?
The Paradigm Shift (The Quantum Leap)
major worry, as the Baby Boomers head into the 21st Century, is not
that their hearts will fail, but that their senses will, while their
vital signs of heart beat and breathing, continue
long after -- causing many to expend the rest of their lives and
fortunes, in that nearly persistent vegetative (non-responsive) state --
which surely, is the worst of all possible worlds.
only is it disastrous for those individuals so afflicted, but it will
also impact and drag down all the lives around and associated with them
-- because many lives have to be dedicated and sacrificed to keep a
person in that nonresponsive though "living" condition -- in that
condition, when those individuals are long past being able to do
anything for themselves -- and no chances for improvement. At least
babies grow out of that helpless condition to eventually (hopefully) be
able to take care of themselves -- and others as well, nurturing the next generation.
up to now, there hasn't been any provision for those in hopelessly
deteriorating conditions -- with no possibility of improvement, and only
the guarantee that things will get continuously and progressively worse
-- because medical science has enabled that small measure of life to
continue almost indefinitely, while the greater quality of life, has long since vanished. That
will continue as long as it is possible, and there is someone who will
pay the bills for such continuing care. Present discussions, are almost
exclusively about how we can continue this state of affairs -- and not
that the present solution is wrong and misguided, and that there will
never be enough money nor manpower for "society" (everybody else), to take care of each individual.
obvious (better) solution, is that every individual has to learn to
take better care of themselves -- first and primarily -- as the greatest
responsibility of citizenship and participation in that society. Thus
the measurement of meaningful life, shifts from whether one simply has a
heart beat and still breathes, to a higher standard of total
functioning -- particularly at the critical cognitive and voluntary
organs of the senses (cognition) -- for which humans have long
distinguished and differentiated themselves -- before it became
"politically incorrect" to do so.
critical senses (organs) are at the extremities of the head, hands and
feet -- by which we express fine motor coordination, hand-eye
coordination, hand-feet coordination, ducking a blow to the head, and
all the movements most are not aware of that propel the rest of the
body. The movements at the hips and shoulders, which many instructors
are proud to identify as the core, are virtually meaningless in the
ultimate expression and release of power (to change).
power of change, is always expressed physically at the head, hands and
feet -- as the ability to grip a tool, maintain one's balance, and turn
one's head to be aware of what the world is telling them -- before
initiating the appropriate responses in relationship to it. The
inappropriate response, is to be oblivious to all that is happening
around one -- but to persist in one's actions anyway, thereby requiring
greater assistance and resources to keep one alive in that way.
before one gets to that point, they need to be increasing the
capabilities of the organs of the extremities, by optimizing the
circulation to and from it -- in firing neuromuscular impulses to
improve those responses and control -- all one's life, which means
focusing the movement, at those axes and ranges of movement (expression)
-- as the meaningful indicator of their fitness, and not simply stop at
the heart beat, which may go on long after any cognitive brain
function, hand and foot movement can be expressed.
When those movements are
ensured, enhanced and improved -- throughout the remainder of one's
life, it is then meaningful to say that one continues to improve and get
better -- because that is precisely what they are conditioning
themselves to do, and subsequently, be. Then it can properly be said, that one's doing, is one's being
-- and vice versa, so there is no disintegration and deterioration, but
rather the increasing integration and improvement of that individual --
for as long as they maintain that practice. But it is only perfect practice that makes perfect -- and not just any expenditure of calories and heart beats, that make it so.
is what most of contemporary conditioning programs miss -- or are
entirely unaware of. One does not become better, or world champion, by
simply practicing and doing anything -- as though it doesn't matter. They have to do everything, as though it matters
-- and doing everything in that manner, works in every aspect of their
lives and functioning. And that is not the same thing as just doing
anything, in any ol' way, and wondering why one is not getting the desired results.
notice that there are many videos on YouTube now offering free
instruction and advice on the best exercises to do to get in one's best
condition -- but most are invariably about what they can do, that nobody
else can -- including the 500 lb. bench press, or walking on one's
hands for 100 feet, or more familarly, running a marathon at age 90!
Presumably, if one can do that, one will be in marvelous shape and
condition -- but fully 99.9% of the population will not be able to take
advantage (use) that advice -- invariably offered as a "genius
solution." They may have even bought all the bogus certifications by
whomever is selling them -- and convinced the mainstream media (it is
very easy to), that they are the premier marketer in that respect.
Meanwhile, the health and social crisis continues to ramp out of control on its present course, because eliminating the problem, is very different from exploiting
the present situation -- and hoping it will continue as long as
possible. But there is no future for such a society -- in which
everyone becomes increasingly dependent on others to provide for their
health and well-being. The only viable future that makes perfectly good
sense, is that everyone has to learn to take better care of themselves
-- so there is no need for an army of people to be one's caregivers for
the rest of one's life.
That's how the world changes.
Time Is On Your Side
of the biggest difference makers, is whether one believes time is on
one's side or against them: If the game is long enough, one could still
conceivably, improve and win -- no matter what the score is, and how far
behind one is. If the game never ends, then one has not lost -- but
has all the time in the world to get better. If one lives that way
their entire life, then there is no losing, or winning definitively for
that matter, but simply working on one's game -- always improving.
some get to the point in life, when they think there can be no
improvement -- but only deterioration, decline, decay and ultimately
death -- and they frequently live many of their years preparing for that
eventuality. But if one lives that way, then one will have wasted all
the years they could have been fulfilling their lives instead of waiting
for the end -- and worse.
The usual conditioning is to instill in us that we are always working against time -- rather than that we are working with time, just as people often think that the function of muscles
is to oppose, or work against one another -- rather than to work
collaboratively, for its greatest effect, and effectiveness. That is
similar to the thinking that one muscle works in isolation to every
other -- including the heart, or the brain -- when in fact, they work
best, if at all, together.
therefore, would never want to condition oneself, to merely cancel out
their own efforts by deliberately making any effort any harder than it
has to be. The useful conditioning strategy, is always to make
things as easy as possible, and in that way, many more things become
possible, so more can be accomplished. Otherwise, one is stuck merely
doing and undoing -- and never moving ahead, never moving on, but merely
repeating the same old things unsuccessfully, until one is tired of
continuing in that way.
sounds like a lot of people's conditioning programs -- and so they are
excited to start a new one, every six weeks -- that promises to undo
everything that they didn't like doing, found objectionable, and caused
their worse condition than they began with -- and so they are
recovering, until they realize they can't anymore, and prepare just to
get worse -- and not that they can ever get better again.
one thinks time is against one, then one tries to overcome it by doing
it as quickly and fast as possible -- which may increase the difficulty
to impossible. But if one has all one's life to accomplish that task,
then it simply takes as long as it takes -- and it doesn't matter how
quickly, or fast one accomplishes that, because that doesn't matter, only that one did, or was just about to.
we live our lives, is very much like our conditioning strategy --
because that in effect, is what we are conditioning ourselves ultimately
for -- to live our lives, and not sacrifice it, for the trophy or
moment of glory and triumph, and then wither away the rest/most of our
lives, as many young athletes think to do. But those days are very short
-- in a long life, and most of it still to be lived, because the
fullness is each moment -- and every subsequent moment being the
summation of all the previous ones.
It doesn't matter that one holds on to all the old memories and thoughts -- because the new subsumes the old, and is not just the accumulation of the old. The problem of
this loss of memories, is the letting go and clearing of the memory
banks, in order to create space for the new -- is necessary, and a
proper function in the vital, healthy person.
The enemy of the old, is not the young -- but the new.
That can be embraced by both the old and the young, or rejected by
either as well -- but we only think that the young person doing so is a
tragedy, while the old person doing so, can't help themselves -- that's
just the way they are. But never having to learn anything more new, for
half one's life, or all of it, is the great tragedy of human
Standing the Test of Time
"Old age" is the time when all the problems one has not solved in life, comes home to haunt them.
Increasingly, it becomes apparent that the problems of "aging," are much more the problems of life, than they are of "time."
Because with that same
time, some look and function better, while others do not -- all the way
to the extremes, where some seem prematurely old at 20, while a rare
few (now) at 80, look "ageless," so the concept of age, is not one's
primary quality one would use to describe such a person --
because that would be largely meaningless to do so, and one wants a
better description of such an individual, and not one that could mean
anything, or nothing at all.
that time, can also convey the positive quality of experience and
insight -- and not merely doing the same thing for 50 years, before
being drained dry of all one's vitality and desire for betterment -- as
though one was just a machine that depreciates with each use. That is the materialistic view of humanity, that totally discounts and dismisses the distinctive evolutionary
drive to improve, and change for the better. When one has given up on
that notion, then we observe, that person is getting "old," and usually
there is nothing anyone else can do about it, because it is largely the
fate that individual has decided (accepted) for themselves.
most common exceptions to that rule, are those who still go to gyms
expressly for the purpose of improving -- which is not a bad social
context, although admittedly, some do it better than others, as with all
human endeavors and pastimes. The cultural tendency of the past
century, was to divide and fragment experience, knowledge and life -- in
the (materialistic) thinking that "more" is always better -- without
ever getting to the realization that the least expenditure of time,
energy and attention for the greatest result(s), is the far greater
objective and meaning and purpose in all one's activities. So the
objective is not just to burn as much energy as possible, or as much time, or give it so much attention it becomes its own obsessive-compulsive disorder
-- while those objectives seem to recede farther from one's original
clarity of purpose and intent -- and thus one eventually arrives at the
point, that one feels, what is the use of any of it -- and just
withdraws from every activity and engagement.
That is familiarly, what we witness as the horrors of aging
-- that can happen even with a few at younger ages, causing a rupture
from the rest of society into antisocial sentiments and actions -- of
which they see no other viable alternatives. In such cases, their
previous conditioning has been so "successful" and "thorough," that
further growth (life) is not necessary, and would even be too painful to
bear -- and so they end it in some melodramatic statement of not caring.
Such developments are usually not foreseen by those close by, choosing to ignore, and even deny -- believing even, that everything is always the opposite of what they seem -- so conditioned (educated) are they, to believe that there is any connection to reality. And so they must make one final, desperate effort to find out -- if anything really matters.
So that is the advantage of continually, and throughout one's life, of staying in touch with one's own unique physical reality -- rather than just accepting the mass media reality, as one's unquestioned own -- because the truth is always subject to this personal testing and results of independent
verifiable reality. Many are surprised and shocked in doing so, to
learn that what "the experts" say, are entirely at variance with the
results of their own experiments (experience), and those who have been socialized well, will always distrust their own judgment and good senses, in preference for what they have been taught to believe (as the unequivocal truth).
that is largely what others "believe" to be true because that's what
they were taught and never allowed to question -- rather than the truth
they discovered for/by themselves, which is actually the truth of their own lives. And that truth, always improves, and improves their condition -- and doesn't make them worse, though that's what all
the experts say is so. That's why we honor the great pioneers -- like
Columbus, Galileo, Paracelsus, and Job(s). They challenged what
everybody, especially the experts, told them must be true -- and
could not even be questioned, because that is what the "gods
"themselves, explicitly told them to pass on to all the others -- as the
we now live in an age in which discovering the truth for oneself, is
what everybody has to do for themselves -- and those who do it well,
reap those benefits far beyond whatever generalizations could
apply to everyone else -- because they have so custom-designed their
world to work marvelously well, and not the one-size-fits-all, that
serves everybody so inadequately. But that is the reason the better get better, while the worse get worse -- because they want to get better, and do those things that make them so -- rather than engage in more random activity, thinking it is the same. That is why it doesn't work.
Survival of the Fitness
recent passing of "fitness" luminaries Joe Weider and Sergio Oliva,
brings home to all involved during the heyday of their years since the
1960s, that we all succumb to time -- even though there'll always be
some new rising star impressing us with what is now possible -- for
those in their competitive prime of roughly 20-40.
that period in their lives, results are a lot more uncertain -- and then
by age 60 and beyond, there are the unmistakable markers of decline --
often even very rapid, and sometimes even premature, for those who
previously were the very picture of health and well-being.
rare few still hang around to enter the over 60, or masters contests
beginning at age 40! -- which seems to be way too young to be considered
over the hill -- or past one's
prime at something so essential as our individual health and
well-being. But I would suggest that the competitive bodybuilding ideal
is not one of true health and well-being, but mainly the illusion of it
-- as we all recognize, those very champions have peaked for that
purpose -- even at the cost of their health and well-being! -- in their
extreme dieting and training, that may actually be hazardous to one's health under any other real world conditions.
that is what a conditioning regimen should convey -- real world
fitness, especially now, for lives of unprecedented longevity, but often
of a questionable quality of health and life, that daunts even the
fearless at younger times in their lives. This eventual decline, we've
always been heretofore in denial of -- thinking there is nothing we can
do about it -- even though we still try to train as we did in our prime,
with previous great success.
would be an easy matter, if all we had to do would be to sustain those
workouts and obtain that same success -- but diminishes in time so that
it is merely "All pain and no gain," which certainly diminishes any
rationale for continuing in that manner. At that point, many just stop,
or maybe just dawdle on the less demanding cardio machines, or if
they're really in bad shape, sign up for a "senior fitness course" and
watch the instructor do all the work -- while expecting very little from
her trainees, except that they still show up.
Many hope to build up vast reserves as the base from which to begin this decline -- still not believing there is an effective way not to be in this decline -- as the unspeakable inevitable.
often experience and recognize this turning point as the midlife crisis
-- when most competitive athletes, have long retired. However,
competitive athletics, is not the be-all and end-all of an active,
meaningful and purposeful life -- especially now, when there is so much
of it remaining past that competitive prime.
In the lore of the great (martial arts) conditioning, there would come that time that every great student,
would retire to become a teacher. passing on their knowledge to the
next generation of competitors -- but alluding throughout, that there
was that step beyond the competitive world to an even greater
understanding of the whole of life. That usually meant "dying" to the
life of that youth -- to be reborn in the next chapter of their
lives, which is not just remaining young all one's life -- but mastering
one's maturity, and eventual seniority -- with the equal grace and
skill one experienced as a youth.
some age well, while many will not -- and not that all who age, must do
it poorly, because that is what that period of life is all about. If
it did not matter what one did, then it would not matter what one does
-- but having observed that process in many for the last 30+ years, I'm
more than convinced one can make that difference in their own lives --
but it means thinking very differently than we've known, and been
conditioned to think is the only thing possible.
is a very distinctive "look" that one has when one begins to decline in
earnest, and rather than that being the paunch and deterioration at the
"core," it is readily obvious and apparent as the deterioration of the
neck muscles and structures -- which many then resort to surgical chin
lifts to remove that sag, double-chin, or whatever it is that indicates
that lack of robustness in people of all ages -- but most distinctively
so as they "age." And that "physical" condition, also impacts one's
cognitive (brain) functioning so critical to everything else.
Noting that, should provoke the immediate question, what can we do about that
-- for surely, if exercise unquestionably works for developing every
other muscle (structure) in the body, why not make that infrastructure
to the brain, one's highest priority? -- and failing to do so, is the
limit on the rest of the body -- because the design and evolution of the
body, does not allow for any other part than the brain, to be its
"best" functioning organ.
that is addressed and achieved first and foremost, then gains for other
parts of the body, can be resumed -- because those resources are not
being diverted from the brain, at the expense of the brain, but the
brain serviced as the highest priority, will allow other prolific
development to manifest.
people don't do any exercise to explicitly increase the flow to the
extremities of the body -- where it makes the most difference to do so,
and ensure that it is functioning at its highest level -- in the
distinctly and manifestly human expressions of the head, hands and feet
-- which are the sites of deterioration in even the normal, healthy
individual. That is its weakness, its Achilles tendon, as it were --
and no amount of situps, pushups, or running -- directly addresses that
diversion of the flow of resources -- to the critical health and
functioning of the expressions and articulations of the head, hands and
feet, that are regarded in most conventional exercises -- as merely
stubs and stumps not capable of movement at all -- except to go along
for the ride!
in fact, one is often ill-advised by "physical education" instructors
that one should never move their head, hands and feet -- but only move
at the core, instead of realizing that the distinctly human movements,
occur at the head, hands and feet, which are the organs of critical
decline -- or prodigy.
Yet in most gyms, there are no machines or apparatus for expressly and effectively
developing the neck muscles (which implies its cardiovascular
development, support, health and appearance) -- except in realizing, the
range of motion, produces its own resistance. That is to say, that one
cannot turn their heads 180 degrees -- without encountering
increasingly greater resistance, which is also true for the hands and
feet -- and that resistance, is the greatest muscular contraction,
capable of being obtained (expressed). Such contractions, beginning at
the extremities, activate the supporting muscle structures -- towards the core, but that doesn't happen, vice-versa -- from the core on out.
this, makes just a few exercises, very powerfully effective, while
lacking this understanding, makes it necessary to conceive and perform
separate movements for every one of the 600-800 individual muscles under
the presumption that each is unrelated and unconnected to every other
-- or that it is desirable, to exercise each in isolation from any
other. But the movement from the furthest extremity (insertion) back
towards the center -- sets off a chain reaction of muscle contractions
(and relaxations), not requiring this individual attention to each
muscle -- which obviously, is the most efficient way to move, as well as
the most productive.
As one gets older, one needs all the advantage one can gain from a superior understanding of the forces at work -- and not simply the application of more brute force, thinking that is all that is required to obtain wonderful results. It should be that easy.