Tag Archives: aging

The Odds of When You’ll Kick It


Here’s a website that could depress you or elate you depending on your perspective. It calculates your odds for living a certain number of years based on your gender and current age. According to the odds I’m very likely more than halfway through my life (glass half empty) but I’m also more than likely to make it at least another 30 years (glass half full).

Here’s an observation: the older you are the less likely you are to see the glass half full.

The Helpful Dad Bod Flowchart

The Wonkblog has posted a very helpful dad bod flowchart, and as a well-worn dad it should surprise no one that I fall squarely in the dad bod strike zone:

Wondering what this whole dad bod thing is? Well, apparently it’s just another tool of the patriarchy.

Personally I think it’s the first positive pop-culture related thing to come along for middle aged men since, well, anything.


Suddenly me and my ilk – middle aged guys with semi-maintained middle aged bodies – are trendy, at least according to this item from The Atlantic:

Is “dadbod” a hashtag joke or a social-sexual movement? A bit of both, probably. A month ago at The Odyssey, Clemson sophomore Mackenzie Pearson explained that this “new trend” had “fraternity boys everywhere” rejoicing. “In case you haven’t noticed lately, girls are all about that dad bod,” she wrote. “The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’” In the time since, #dadbod has gone viral on social media, to the cheers of Jason Segel lookalikes everywhere.

It ain’t much, but I’ll take it. #Dadbod owners of the world unite and rejoice!

Celebrating the Stages of Life

Next week my Grandmother, Lettie Fae Lowder – GG to her family – will turn 93, and as the saying goes, turning 93 beats the alternative despite all the challenges that come with each passing year. That saying doesn't begin to address the subleties of dealing with the changes that each stage of life brings, but my Aunt Debbie does a wonderful job of addressing those issues in a post on her blog about dealing with GG's increasing dementia and her move to a new wing at her retirement home that offers closer care:

The biggest difference for GG at this stage of  life is the power of imagination she substitutes for loss of vision and hearing, and what we usually refer to as “being in touch with reality.” I guess she’s getting bored with some of the stories we’ve all heard about a gazillion times, so she is gracious enough to create some new stories for our entertainment. If you’ve not yet heard of Pony Boy you really should spend a little time with GG. Pull up a rocker and ask a few questions and off you go to the barn and beyond…

She still remembers each of us, but many, many details are lost to her. The line between fact and fantasy is sometimes clear and sometimes thin….very thin. This is part of an aging process we are all experiencing. We’re just at a different place…for this moment. Mom’s life’s-work has changed from being a daughter to young wife and mother, to working woman, to grandmother…even great-great grandmother. It’s usually easier to see the meaning and purpose of our life during these earlier stages. And harder to understand the meaning and purpose of life in the latter stages.

One way I try to understand Mom’s purpose at this time is that of Preparation for Death…the process of dieing. And part of this process is leaving the care of this world and its inhabitants to others… after she takes her leave of us.  She asks constantly, “what are the children doing?”  She actually needs to know what we are doing so she can stop her doing.

Mom cannot see to read. She no longer has a telephone because her hearing and memory render a phone  fairly useless. When I heard she would now be living in a supervised (“locked”) environment, I panicked.  Her world had already seemed unjustly small. Now it seemed another door…a locked one…was closing.

I took a deep breath. The 2-hour drive from the farm gave me plenty of time to remember lots of times when Mom was young and strong and…well, greatly determined.  I walked into the lobby and where I would have turned left to go to her room, I walked straight to the locked doors and rang the door bell. A door opened.

Mom looked pretty content and believed she was living in Old Salem. (she loves Old Salem)  The staff is loving and fun. She always refers to me as the fun one…I want her to have lots of fun one’s. Because actually, I am not that much fun…she needs a lot more fun than I can conjure up! Her room is large and pretty and peaceful…and  near the staff”s laughter and loving oversight. I was scared to walk down that hall…into a new phase of life…but it wasn’t that hard. Mom is there….just not like she used to be. I am there…changed, for sure. And many others are willing to explore this time of life with us…thank you. We are all teachers and we are all learning. We all hope and we all know fear. We are not alone. Mom has a great capacity for the subtleties of life….don’t be afraid to speak of these things. And don’t be surprised if she is able to cut more quickly to the truth of the matter…thus unraveling our carefully formed beliefs about what is real.

What a beautiful way to look at GG's new adventure. I'm sure my Aunts, who have done a lot of heavy lifting with GG's care over the last few years, might have moments when it's hard to see things in such a light, but they've also done a great job of sharing the Adventures of GG and Pony Boy with the rest of us so I'm fairly confident they feel the same way. 

The wonders of family will never cease to amaze.

Losing Steps

I've played basketball my whole life, and like anyone else over the age of 30 I've lost a step.  To be honest now that I'm midway through my 40s I've lost more than one step, but that doesn't stop me from dragging my old carcass out of bed a couple of times a week to play pre-dawn hoops – something I swore I'd never do before I aged into bladder-induced early morning awakenings.  Of course my mother is aware of this, and like my wife she finds my love of a young man's game rather foolish, which is why she emailed me this poem from Stephen Dunn:

Losing Steps

It's probably a Sunday morning
in a pickup game, and it's clear
you've begun to leave
fewer people behind.

Your fakes are as good as ever,
but when you move
you're like the Southern Pacific
the first time a car kept up with it,

your opponent at your hip,
with you all the way
to the rim. Five years earlier
he'd have been part of the air

that stayed behind you
in your ascendance.
On the sidelines they're saying,
He's lost a step.

You can read the rest here. Truth be told I didn't have much of a step to begin with; one of the advantages of being naturally slow of foot and without the ability to jump over a phone book is that my game has always been predicated on overcoming my lack of athleticism.  Still, getting even slower is no fun.

Have a Little Hitch in Your Giddy Up? Blame the Economy.

As if losing jobs and nest eggs isn't bad enough, apparently the Great Recession is also killing the libidos of the grey haired set:

Americans 45 and older are far more open to sex outside of marriage than they were 10 years ago, but they are engaging in sex less often and with less satisfaction, according to a major new survey by AARP.

What's the problem?

AARP's sex and relationship expert, sociologist Pepper Schwartz, thinks that financial stress is a prime culprit.

"The economy has had an impact on these people," she said. "They're more liberal in their attitudes, yet they are having sex less often. The only thing I see that's changed in a negative direction is financial worries."