A piece of cake

Nice France

Nice pier, 1971

Some time ago, I went to a city called Nice to purportedly study French.  The time was October 1971.  That’s me sitting at the edge of an abandoned pier on the plage of the Prom.

Same pier, 2017

More recently, I went back to that same beach.  I did not, this time, clamber up and sit at the edge of that pier.  In fact, I noticed that the pier was now further out in the water.  The beach had receded, much like my hairline. The Gallus signage was gone, and the concrete had been painted over a trashy white.

That was just last year, in September 2017.

When I sat at the edge of that pier in 1971, I was 20 and full of zip.

So were you, at that age.

Most of the time, I spent my days and nights hanging out in bars, and chatting up girls, and feeling that I was destined to achieve great things.

So did you, maybe.

You met That Girl, and then that other one, and the one after that, and maybe you drank and smoked a little too much and had sex like a champion stallion and did some crazy things and read important books and played guitar and did bongs and had heavy conversations deep into the night and Life seemed so full of promise.

But now, you are old.

You’ve lost that ambition, that drive to succeed, to achieve — what Bergson called l’élan vitaleAll that you might have been able to accomplish is now behind you.

There will be no more young women in your bed now, unless you pay them or Cosby them or abuse whatever position of workplace privilege you may still have, no sense of adventure, no more reaching for the infinite possibilities that a young life has to offer. You’re almost at the end of the last chapter, the one titled Out of Gas.

And so you retreat.

Maybe you play golf, or go fishing, or — if you have the money — retire to that summer place you were able to scoop up when things were so much cheaper.

And there you sit, in your summer villa, brooding, as you ruefully gaze out at the blue water, and you suddenly notice that same pier, and visualize yourself as a young man sitting at the end it, but only for a moment, for you are a Stoic realist, a survivor, grounded in the factual here and now, so to speak, and accepting of the reality that henceforth your life — what is now left of it — is only to be lived in the small.

Your empty days now consist of tedious chores and mundane little worries and trivial pursuits.

There are no big things left for you to do, you think.

There will be no more beautiful girls looking at you in that particular way.

Most of your big dreams turned to ashes long ago — for you never became that great guitar player, or a famous writer, or even a Big Swinging Dick on Wall Street.

You turned out to be just an ordinary person, trying to scratch out a living in a world that doesn’t give a shit about you, nothing more.

But not all reeks of the stench of defeat and crippling disappointment.

You look around you and see the apparently well-adjusted men your age with their red baseball caps and their silver Mercs and their floozies as they tool about town.

They seem so smugly satisfied; their 401Ks are flush, their mortgages paid up, their children grown up and out of college, and maybe even there’s a pension that keeps them from having to rely just on Social Security.

You see other men — the majority — to whom Life is not so good nowadays.

These are the broken down sad sacks who stand, muttering under their boozy breath, in line at the Pharmacy at Winn Dixie for their meds, with their 3-day grey stubble, their ill-fitting cheap clothes and shoes, and the look of haunted desperation in their eyes.

So where do you stand in all this?

Well, the truth is there is no regaining the body you had at 20.

The truth is that to think you have a great novel in you in your 60s is one of the profoundest delusions of all.

Face it.

The creative river bed, if you ever had it in you, is now bone dry or shrinking rapidly, like a Salton Sea of the soul.

Fixing the chassis and giving the engine inside a tune-up and oil change is usually only a prelude to another road trip to nowhere in particular.

cairo

A view of The Nile from Zamalek

For example, to Egypt, where I spent the last seven months, and took this pic of the Nile River from the balcony of the apartment where I grew up.

I think the key to survival in old age is not looking back at all.

The truth is none of it matters, and nobody cares what you did back in the day.

By all means go gluten-free, like Djokovic, but above all avoid the Pepe Imazes of this world.

For example if I’m going to survive, and indeed, thrive another 10 or 15 years, I have to ruthlessly accept that much of my past life is one gigantic write-off and that when I die, game’s up, and there’s no do over.

By doing so, I no longer have to take, say, Metoprolol, and drown in an ocean of daily lamentations or kneel on Sundays at the pews of desperation. It’s enormously freeing, especially if you’ve tasted success, however minor, in the past. That championship season is long gone. Deal with it.

This morning, my BP was 138/68 and my heart rate 62 bmp.  I’ve also lost another 2 lbs this week and am now at 223 lbs.

I am taking care of the necessary small stuff, keeping physically active while varying my exercise routines, and look forward to paddling my SUP board in the Loxahatchee River after the scar on my knee heals.

I may write that novel, yet, or I may not.

In the end, it does not matter.  The libraries are full of unread books by writers who toiled for years to produce masterpieces that now are gathering dust.

And so, I’ve narrow my scope:  it seems trivial, but can I get to 195 lbs?  Can I lose the moobs and flatten my belly at age 66?

deplorables

The faces of unbridled genius in yesterday’s Trump rally in Michigan

Can I ignore Trumposis and the perpetually angry right-wing neighbors and trivial nonsense such as the packs of costume party aging bikers I frequently see in FLA and simply enjoy life on my terms?

Yes, I can — albeit with the kind of Absurdist outlook that Camus wrote about in The Myth of Sisyphus.

On that basis, living Life as an older dude is a piece of cake.

Try it.

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider donating 5 dollars to my Free the Glutens fund drive.  Thank you!

 

 

Free the glutens!

This campaign is part tongue-in-cheek, as it were, and part serious business: for being grossly overweight (as I was), or having Celiac disease, is no laughing matter. All proceeds from this campaign will go to the Celiac foundation. Please note that I will not be shipping you a package of gluten-free brown rice following your donation!

$5.00

 

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Free the Glutens!

gluten free 3 seed English muffins
Okay Leaving Amerika fans, time to pony up!
You’ve been enjoying this expat travel blog for the last 7 months, absolutely free.
You’ve been treated to many pics and droll commentary about Nice, France, El Gouna, Egypt, and South Florida.
Now it’s time to give something back and open your wallet just a crack.
Let me explain.

gluten free bagels
An important aspect of this blog has been about my efforts to lose 70lbs in the space of a year, without having hanging loose flesh as a result.
I am in my 60s. You may be up there too, in terms of weight or age.
And you might have, like me, vainly attempted in the past to lose weight through diet and exercise — and eventually given up in frustration.

gluten free brown and white rice
Well now I have a special offer for you.
If you can’t quite just yet muster the resolve to lose those pounds right now, you can do so vicariously by keeping track of my progress toward a publicly stated goal of getting to 195lbs within 6 months (ie, by October 2018).
I started out at 265lbs in September 2017, and now weigh 225lbs.
And I’ve documented this progress throughout the past 7 months in the most fantastically entertaining weight loss / travel blog / political commentary on the planet.

gluten free French baguette
So here’s the deal: I can continue to lose weight on your behalf — until you get the resolve to start on your own path to freedom from being obese.
Meanwhile, I will do the heavy lifting of those 20 and 30 lb barbells for you in order to get rid of the moobs and firm up those flabby underarms.
I will do the necessary crunches to get rid of that balloon stomach.
In effect I will try to inspire you, as well as continue to motivate myself, as I recover from a terrible auto immune disease that almost cost me my life.

gluten free multi seed English muffins
How can you beat this offer?
By contributing $5 to a worthy cause, you can help make this a better world, and start to stop feeling bad about yourself!
Is this some kind of scam?
Absolutely not.

gluten free soft white bread
All proceeds from this drive will be donated in their entirety to the Celiac Foundation, in $50 increments. I will list on this page how much money has been raised through this campaign, how much has been donated to the Celiac foundations, as well as my own personal progress toward reaching my personal life health goal of weighing 195lbs.
If you don’t trust this pitch, no worries.
Just don’t delay, and start your own path to a healthy lifestyle now!

Free the glutens!

This campaign is part tongue-in-cheek, as it were, and part serious business: for being grossly overweight (as I was), or having Celiac disease, is no laughing matter. All proceeds from this campaign will go to the Celiac foundation. Please note that I will not be shipping you a package of gluten-free brown rice following your donation!

$5.00

leaving america

My Inner Nerdishness

tech nerdOne of the mad cool things about coming back home to FLA is having the luxury of doing my computing on a desktop machine that I souped up, one that has a Hi Def 23 inch widescreen monitor, and a rugged IBM PS2 style keyboard — which I started using in my programming days in the 80s, and is the only keyboard I have used since, other than those crappy laptop ones.

I’ve been working these last few days on developing an Android app for my wife’s business.  I’m using a code generator for this, and after discovering a number of serious drawbacks with the product I was using, I wrote to the company that developed the code generator with my conclusions. Their response was quite positive.

Who knows where this side project might end up?

Yesterday, I upgraded my WP account plan for this blog so I can get a lot more pictures in, and they even threw in the ability to upload videos, as well as a Paypal button so I can now sell stuff on my blog.

Now we’re talking.

But what is it exactly that I can hawk?

Seashells that I find on the beach?

Or something more esoteric, like specially bottled Florida sunshine chill vibes?

Perhaps I can advertise my services as a guru on how to Detrumpify your life…$300/hr, with the sessions taking place over Facetime?

free the glutens

cheesy, quick-and-dirty poster for my upcoming Free the Glutens campaign

Or better yet, perhaps I can start a “Free the Glutens!” donation campaign that will enable me to buy — i.e., “free” from their frozen prison at Publix — expensive, gluten-free products.

I’ll look into this, forthwith, now that I’ve ponied up $76 for this WP Premium plan!

I don’t want to do anything overly crass; then again, maybe I would.

The thing is, I like to think of myself as a lofty tech nerd who’s not in it for the money or the glory or the power of whacky ad campaigns.

My goals remain the same.  Take care of business around here and continue with my exercise and nutrition program so that I will have flat, rock solid abs by October.

I am in my 60s, by the way, so that goal is something of a pipe dream.

But having already lost about 40lbs, I don’t see why I can’t aim for another 30, and prolong my actuarial expectancy and have a better quality of life in the bargain.

Losing weight, gradually, with patience, has provided me with enormous psychological benefits.

I do feel more self-confident.

No one any more refers to me as “big guy” or “big fella.”  I really hated that.

People interact with me differently.

Plus I find my mental focus has improved.

I don’t feel weighted down by all the surplus fleshware, and somehow this has made me a more productive, positive person.

Like I said, I am a tech nerd at heart — I love playing with smartphones and computers and figuring out interesting apps that have some commercial appeal.  But this is a sedentary lifestyle, so I am making sure that I break up the comp sessions with bike riding, weight lifting, and various stretch exercises on the yoga mat I just bought.

I bought another 20 lb dumbbell yesterday, so now I will be able to do the moob exercises on the low living room table during the day, while my wife is at the store.

When I weighed 265, it was shocking and humiliating to realize I had disgusting moobs that were simply an embarrassment, even more so than the protruding stomach.

Now that I am 220 – 225, the issue is less pronounced, but the easy part — just starving off the weight — is over.  Now I actually have to work out to get my old body to shape up.

It’s doable, even for an ancien tech nerd such as myself.

And if I can do it — me, who loathes to exercise, and never did so between age 16 until I hit my 60s — so can you!

It’s worth the hassle, and you won’t end up like those poor lost souls that I saw at Best Buy earlier today when I went to take my wife’s comp to the Geek Squad for repairs and also bought a charger for my Samsung Chromebook Plus  (I forgot to bring back from Gouna the Chromebook’s original charger, when I returned to the US two weeks ago).

So zippy did I feel that I even had the energy to turn the free S8 that my wife got when she bought her S8+ from T-Mobile a year ago into a hot spot.

So now that I have my desktop back, she can inherit the Chromebook and log on to the Internet at work via her spare mobile phone, bypassing evil Comcast, which wanted to charge her an obscene amount of money for business Internet connectivity at her store.

How about that!

 

leaving america