And as such, that does not make it a fact for anyone else on the planet.
It may not seem this way but this is an article about aging and fitness. Bear with me, it’s a fun journey.
In this binary, alternative-fact universe which has always existed for humans but which has been revealed in all its glory by social media, idiot pundits (and I’ve been one myself, to be fair) love to wax poetic about Much They Know Nothing About. I have found the propensity to baldly state one’s opinion as though it had the Weight of Ages and Sages increasingly ridiculous.
All anyone has to do for Exhibit #1 was look at some of the most ridiculous (ex-, thank Christ) Presidential tweets. To that I offer this:
14 Bizarre Donald Trump Tweets That Prove What A Dumb*ss He Is
Hello everyone! It's your trusty Scary Mommy staff writer Lindsay Wolf here with some hair-raising stories just in time…
Trump simply made stating the blatantly idiotic as fact legitimate, which means that more fuckwits entered the fray making asinine-bullshit-as-fact-without-proof far more common.
It’s an unfortunate tendency of humans to wish badly to be seen as the Authority on Life, and in our media-nuts society, said Authority means we get eyeballs, eyeballs mean we get validated (paid, laid, etc). The problem with this is that there are so many folks eager to be followers of said fuckwits. So, bad information spreads faster than sane, sober data.
Like science, for example. God help us that we might trust science, which of course gives us engines, power, coffee makers and heart transplants, but how on Earth can we possibly believe that the Earth we stand on is round? Science gives us cell phones but apparently no brain cells. But I digress.
Such people elected folks who believe that a woman should “wash all that out” when she gets raped, and that a baby given to a raped woman is a gift. Fine. YOU pay for the child care, upbringing, medical bills, meals, housing, schooling, college education of the fetus produced by forced illegal fucking, Sparky. You’re such a fan of procreation, YOU FOOT THE BILL. Whoops. I digress again. Those folks also got Texas last week. You get what you ask for, or vote for, seems to me.
I suspect that most are the people who used to read The National Enquirer as fact. Now those same folks are some of our elected officials (Trump famously loved to point to the Enquirer as a solid news sources, I will withhold the obvious).
Better writers than I am have taken these topics on before, so I want simply to swoop in on a particular item that caught my eye and my ire late last night before I hit the sack.
The writer, who probably knows better, made a series of flat statements about aging that were so utterly untrue, ageist and insulting that I had to re-read them a couple of times. Being over sixty themselves, they were possibly attempting to validate the experience of some folks who have, at sixty, utterly given up the ghost.
This person wrote, not without some cause:
A 60-year-old can’t move like a 24-year-old.
The implication of course is that at sixty we are basket cases.
Speak for yourself, Skeezix.
Early this morning I was in line to sneak into Planet Fitness, the 5 am early risers spaced six feet part. Guy in front of me was close to my age, but younger. He’s husky, at 220. But not like he was at twenty.
He was 303 lbs at twenty. Now at 60, he’s down the equivalent of a smallish person.
I can relate. I did that too, when I was 31, dumping some 85 lbs forever. He and I stood there in the cold, stomping our feet, laughing about what it’s like to be in far far far FAR better shape at sixty-something than at 20.
To my point. At sixty I took on training for Kilimanjaro, and turned myself into a (clumsy) athlete. I move a shitload better today at 68 than I ever did at twenty. I work my ever-loving aging ass off to do it. To that, I tag my Medium buddy Vienna De Vega, who in her seventies is a yoga maven. Please. Tell HER she can’t move as well as she did at twenty.
And so do a great many of my aging Medium buddies who write to me about their physical journeys late in life.
Hey, Tom Brady can do at 43 shit he could NEVER do at 20. How many examples do you want? Barring injury or disease, many if not most of us can continue to improve. Of course we age. But age does NOT automatically equal decrepit.
I don’t question for one New York minit that this person has every right to a take. However they do not have the right to dictate to ALL of us that our bodies at sixty can’t move like they did at twenty, for that is their opinion.
Their opinion is not FACT.
It may be for her. But not for one hell of a lot of people I know, read about and write about, and for those about whom major institutions have conducted extensive research on the aging body. Said research shows up regularly in my writing, for one purpose only: I like to quote science.
What a stupid goddamned thing to do. Quote science. Really? Why don’t I just quote Alex Jones, since he knows so much about Covid?
Science-GOOD science at least- tends to stick with the research. The empirical data. That doesn’t mean that researchers don’t skew their results based on their prejudices. To that, read any archeologist who happened to be White, male and Christian when he pens a paper about stupendous proof that ancient matriarchal societies were hugely sophisticated, well-run, had judges legal systems and superb agricultural processes and land management. Being women-led, and worshipping the Goddess, they were of course, in the views of said White, Male, Christian researchers, pagan, helpless, backwards, etc. etc. etc. Don’t get me started. So yeah, scientists can be stupid too, by ignoring material which doesn’t align with their preconceived notions. But I digress again (I hate it when that happens). Please see, among others, When God Was a Woman, by Merlin Stone.
Gwenyth Paltrow has taken stupidity instead of science to a high art with Goop. The money she makes, and the popularity of Goop, she apparently uses as validation of the veracity of what she peddles: pebbles and stones you shove where the sun don’t shine, and dangerous laxative teas for detox. She seems to have missed the point that just because a lot of people like it isn’t proof that it’s real or right. Witness the last two Presidential elections. Whoops. Digressing again.
Here then is a piece of research:
Disentangling the Genetic Determinants of Human Aging: Biological Age as an Alternative to the Use…
MEASUREMENT of the genetics underlying variability in human aging is an important and active area of gerontological…
If you stumble through the clumsy verbiage, you’ll find a few key messages. What I got from it was simple. What ages us varies a whole lot. Some of it is genetics, but more of it has to do with controllable factors, as in what we eat (ya think) regular exercise (say it ain’t so) and refraining from really shitty habits like drinking and smoking (ya don’t say). And others, like stress and pollution and external factors, some of which we can control, some we can’t.
Like being stressed out when I look at my face every morning, well, look.
I try not to, but I shove my toothbrush in my ear when I can’t see my face.
Oh and by the way, laughter keeps us young. Just saying.
The sixtyish man with whom I shared an hour at Planet Fitness this morning moved with the energy of someone less than half his age. We both powered through our workouts, clearly enjoying the work, the strength and energy the physical activity gave us. If you ask OUR opinion- yeah yeah I know you didn’t but here it comes anyway-
both of us are in MUCH better shape than at twenty.
Here’s another thing this writer penned:
However, an older body has a much more difficult time recovering.
Based on what? I have broken my back in eight places, smashed my pelvis, hammered my noggin twenty two times, ALL AFTER SIXTY. While on one hand, all that just goes to prove my point about being clumsy. On the other, in every single instance I was back on my horse at the gallop in half the time my doctor told me it would take.
And again, I am not alone. Recovery is relative. To that, I have shoulder surgery scheduled on March 16th. I am working out like a banshee before I go in because why?
A superbly healthy body with solid muscles and a very good VO2 system heals very fast. Especially when you eat well, don’t drink or smoke, and don’t spend precious time filling your brain with bullshit about how well, I’m older, it’s all downhill.
I could fucking SCREAM when I see that shit.
My beloved endurance oldsters who regularly read and comment on my stuff are fist-pumping right now. You got it, guys. It is exhausting when those of our own generation perpetuate the ignorant bullshit that age equals decrepitude.
No, Sparky. Shitty habits, laziness, and finding excuses for avoiding the hard work of body maintenance and self love, otherwise known as proper diet and exercise, equal decrepitude. Again: the quality of the aging process is about 70% directly in our hands to control. The other thirty is a combination of genetics, the luck of the draw, and whether or not you’re a damned fool like I am and insist on doing extreme sports.
Those are facts backed by research. Not opinions. The beauty of it is that you and I can choose which we want to believe, which is also what makes such articles dangerous, when the author’s opinions are centered as facts.
I live those facts about how to have an incredibly youthful, energetic, powerful, strong, healthy body at 68. That gives me joy, purpose and stories, as well as a bloody good reason to be back on line tomorrow morning at 5 am, feet shuffling in the cold, at 68, impatient to hit the machines again.
Getting decrepit by age alone is for sissies. But that’s my opinion.
And now that I’m done with this rant I need to hit my elliptical. I have an aging body to train, injuries to recover from, and a future to sculpt wherein I get to continue to use my wrinkled, but powerful, athletic, extremely youthful body to ride horses, my bike, hike, kayak, skydive, bungee jump, river raft, ride camels and elephants…and massage a rhino or two.
I believe that aging badly is optional.
But again that’s just my opinion.
And that is a fact.