Monday, June 3, 2013

Garage Sales and Life Decisions

Let’s start with an admission - I love garage sales. You just never know what you will find - and hey, even if you don’t find something you absolutely have to have, you will meet some really interesting people.

This weekend I hit a neighborhood garage sale in a nicer neighborhood where many of the families had their “treasures” on display in their driveways. At one I saw a perfect condition Kitchen Aid mixer with some nice attachments. These are “the” mixer if you are a good baker. OK - yes, you can get really expensive ones, but the Kitchen Aids are the gold standard.

Funny, I recall seeing one last year, but didn't inquire why they were selling it.

I got talking to the lady who was selling it, and also ended up talking to her husband. Turns out he is one month older than I am. The lady explained to me that she was selling the mixer because she had come to the realization that, with her husbands retirement and the resultant change in life-style, she could no longer continue to bake the wonderful pastries that she had made all her life - they were both putting on too much weight!

This stuck me as wrong in so many ways. The first thing that ran through my head was that this lovely lady was letting go of her tools. This is a poignant thought to someone like myself who loves tools. I have attended garage sales where older gentlemen are selling their tools because they no longer use them. That always seems so very sad to me - acknowledging that they no longer do work that, for myself at least, is the biggest source of satisfaction and happiness in my life. Hence my first thought - this lady is letting go of her mixer and her passion for baking.

The husband explained that he really enjoyed golf, and that he plays 3 times each week. I asked him about working out, and he admitted that they were thinking they needed to join a gym.

Needless to say I encouraged him to look into my gym - and hey, if he wanted he could join my work-out group. Can’t say I got the impression he was excited about that possibility.

People talk about slowing down when they retire. Clearly this gentleman has slowed down enough that he can no longer keep weight off. Is this what we live for - what we work our lives for - so we can slow down, gain weight, and quit eating the things we love? Or, to be a bit more poignant, to start the downward spiral that will prove just how mortal we in fact are?

Two healthy people consciously accepting that they are getting old and can't do or eat the things they used to.

To put it gently, I hate these thought. Retirement is a time when we can focus on doing the things that will improve the quality of our lives! Yes, we can spend entire days surfing the internet, or hours on end on Facebook keeping up with all our friends who have nothing better to do than to post pictures on the internet. Or, we can commit to becoming younger next year. We can learn to bake healthy pastries, we can work out for hours each day, we can become more fit and experience the fantasy of becoming truly younger each year.

As has been said so many times - we all will get older - but we don’t have to become infirm. It is our choice - do we fight for a life that truly gets better as each year goes by, or do we put on weight, slow down, discover we have diabetes and heart disease and ultimately die way too young?

Is it easy to go to the gym every day and push oneself? Of course not. But it is a heck of a lot easier if you have 20 or 30 people who are glad to see you at the gym. If you help others - if you go out of your way to make others feel special. And, most importantly, if you spend the time to become knowledgeable about exercising and focus on helping others.

Oh, it doesn’t hurt if your wife walks up to you in the morning as you are shaving and tells you that you are more ripped than 99% of the guys at the gym.

I really hope this gentleman bites the bullet and decides to start working out with my group. If he does, and he gets serious about fitness he will discover that, rather than having to cut back on what he eats, he will need to get serious about powering a body that demands food to allow him to do what he wants to do! A body that will be more fit and more attractive next year and the year after!!!

I think my next posting will be on how I have made going to the gym a fulfilling experience.