The Summers of ’69 and ‘19

The Summers of ’69 and ‘19

Those were the best days of my life – Bryan Adams

These are the best days of my life – Me

I attended the original Woodstock in 1969, and I attended the 50-year reunion in 2019.  Then I had more hair; now I have more wisdom.  Then I was looking for the purpose of life; now I have the prize of life.  Then I had my whole life ahead of me; now I have my granddaughter’s life ahead of me.

I still have my health, and I have more wealth.  My family has expanded, but not my waistline. The music has changed, and so have I. I will my take life now at 67 over the life I had then at 17.


How to Make Friends and Influence People in Cyberspace

How to Make Friends and Influence People in Cyberspace

The book “How to Make Friends and Influence People” was published in 1936, 12 years before Al Gore was a glimmer in his parent’s eye and 30 years before the Internet was a glimmer in anyone’s eye.  I am not sure how the great motivator Dale Carnegie would address this subject today as it relates to 21st Century social media.  Cyberspace can be a far more complex environment to navigate than the tangible world.

The opening paragraph is all that remains from my original post on this topic.  I am also keeping the following statement: Mr. Carnegie, you sure had a much simpler world to speak into than we have today.  Other than that, everything else in this post is brand new, because I continue to learn how to communicate better and understand and manage the complexities of human interactions in cyberspace.

I did manage to increase my Facebook friends from 400 to over 600, but I have pretty much held steady at 630 this year.  I gain new friends every now and then to replace the ones that either drop me intentionally or drop social media entirely or pass away.  Some of my friends have effortlessly amassed one, two or three thousand Facebook friends.  I have no idea how they did that.  It took every ounce of effort I could muster to add an additional 200 friends during the previous two years.

My batting average has improved since I curtailed sending out friend requests.  Previously, I was no better than 50% at best in predicting who would accept my friend request. I have been surprised by people who have rejected my friend requests and I have been equally surprised by some people who have sent me friend requests.   I have been rejected by some longtime friends, co-workers, people who I work out with regularly, neighbors and even some relatives. Men and woman alike.  It hurts sometimes, and I have to get over the weirdness of seeing people who choose not to accept my cyberspace friend request the next time I see them in person.

I understand though, and I respect people’s boundaries.  I, however, accept all friend requests from people that I know.  Maybe I will get to 700 friends someday. I am a blogger and I am very at ease opening up my life to others, but not everyone feels the same way as me. I am always looking for ways to expand my reading audience, so I love to make friends and influence people in cyberspace.

I have developed a well-groomed algorithm for when and for whom I will either like or comment about a post. This is based on factors such as age difference, gender, length of friendship and whether our friendship is fresh and developing or distant and fading.  Sometimes, I just respond spontaneously, but I carefully avoid political discussions and controversy.  However, I always send birthday and anniversary greetings to my friends, and my sympathy when a loved one passes.

I put a lot of thought and effort into my writings, so I am always waiting on pins and needles to see who and how many people will either like or comment about my posts. I know that I don’t always hit the mark with everyone, but I know very clearly that people enjoy the pictures of my granddaughter better than my writings.  I can’t say that I blame them.


Quiet Time

Quiet Time

This Saturday began like all others.  Today though was my annual 10-mile trek around the three Minneapolis Lakes (Harriet, Bde Maka Ska, and Isles).  I was already prepared to navigate the course at a slower pace than normal because I needed a time of recovery from leaving it all on the course last week at Lola’s 10-mile race. So, I plugged in my earbuds and cranked up my tunes and began my walk.  About five minutes into it, I was acutely aware that the music was not working for me today.  Normally, I can preserve the quietness of my spirit on one track while listening to the pulsating beats on my soul track.  Today was different though, so I put my iPhone and earbuds away and converged both my soul and spirit into one quiet place.

This was a particularly beautiful day in the Twin Cities.  The weather was perfect, the flora and fauna were splendid, my body was doing what I love to do, and my spirit and soul were in a quiet place. Without the music, I was tuned in to the snippets of conversations of people who I passed along the way dealing with life, death, health, work and the hopes that they expressed to their friends this Saturday morning.  There were a few recognizable faces along the way.  None more so than former Minnesota Viking and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.  He was nursing an injury today, so I offered up a prayer on his behalf.  This is the least I could do for a great man who has served our State with distinction.  Had I been more attentive to my music than the quietness of my soul, I might have missed this opportunity to bless him.

There were also some personal matters that I needed to work though this morning, and this 2.5 hour of quiet time facilitated the best in my thinking process.  For one, I came to the conclusion that I indeed have one more fun 13.1 race in me, so Mankato here I come this October!

Today I also decided to lock into a program that will culminate in completing the requirements necessary to become a board-certified Life Coach.  This program builds on my already attained social science related master’s degree and experience dealing with people’s spiritual, psychological, physical, relational and purpose goals.  This additional credential will enable me to offer my clients a broader range of options.  Ultimately what I have to offer my clients is myself, and developing my competencies and understanding will enable me to serve them better.

Sometimes quietness speaks a loud and distinct message to our soul.

The Fun Factor

The Fun Factor

Recently, former Los Angeles Laker’s basketball great Magic Johnson resigned from his position as President of Basketball Operations for the team.  Whatever factors might have contributed to his decision, his tearful statement stands out, “I want to go back to having fun.”  Apparently, whatever degree of satisfaction his position afforded him, there was a deficit in what I would call the fun factor.

If I had to plot my own fun factor on the continuum of responsibility on one end of the spectrum, and fun on the other, I would plot myself clearly on the side of responsibility.  That is, throughout my life whenever I have had a choice to make between doing something that was responsible versus doing something that was fun, I have consistently made the responsible choice. Where some people need to learn how to be more responsible, I have needed to learn how to lighten up a bit and have more fun.

This commitment to living responsibly has served me well over the years and will continue to do so.  It has kept me unwaveringly committed to the fidelity of my marriage vows.  It has kept me on the course of working hard, saving, and managing my finances well.  And it continues to guide my decisions to consistently choose to live a healthy lifestyle.

My faith has played a major role in my desire to live a responsible life. However, faith and fun are not mutually exclusive terms. Pastor John Piper in his 1986 book “Desiring God” used the term” Christian hedonism” to describe the concept that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” By Christian hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end.

So how does this apply to having fun?  Answer: there is a good fun and a not so good fun. Let’s use the three examples in my life that I listed above: fidelity, finances and fitness.

Marriage is meant to be fun, and so is sex.  Some people explore sex outside of their marriage relationship because it apparently appears to be fun.  I wouldn’t know, because I never want to go there.  I couldn’t live with the guilt and hurt and mistrust that this would cause me and the people that I know and love, so I will forgo this type of not so good fun and confine this type of fun to my wife.

I have worked and saved diligently over the years.  This enabled me to pay off my mortgage early, purchase all my cars with cash and save for the type of retirement that I currently enjoy.  I have also had a lot of fun with my finances along the way, and enjoyed vacations and luxury items.  I just limit my spending to what I can afford.  Buying things on credit is just not good fun for me. I have more fun living within my means and limiting my spending to what my budget allows.

Working out and eating healthy are also a lot of fun.  I enjoy a good pizza and other less optimally healthy foods from time to time, but 90% of the time I choose foods that are nutritious and taste good as well.  To me it is more fun to have a body in optimal health than jeopardize my health by making unhealthy choices.  I don’t live in legalism about this, because that is not fun either.  I just enjoy a healthy life style more than an unhealthy one.

So, how can I make my life even more fun?  Recently, I made a few decisions to optimize my fun factor. For example, I suspended my master’s program in kinesiology because it wasn’t fun anymore.  I have been a responsible student, but this is a season to lay off the academics for a while because rest and feeling refreshed is a lot more fun than being under the added stress and time crunch of completing assignments.  I still enjoy learning in other ways because this too is fun.

Another thing I dropped was my goal to complete 70 half marathons by my 70th birthday.  I have lived with race goals for over 20 years, and for the most part, it was a lot of fun. However, this time around, I decided to stop at 64, because I love to go 10 miles, but 13.1 was not fun anymore. Maybe I will go for my 65th half-marathon for my grand finale race in two years.  We will see where this registers on my fun-o-meter.

It is not that everything in life has to be fun.  Some things are downright hard. The point is why do something that you don’t have to do that is no longer fun to do anymore. Magic Johnson served in his role with the Lakers for two years and played for them 13 years previously.  That was enough for him.  I am sure that the position of President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers would be a fun position for someone else now.  Let Magic do what works for him now.  And I will get home from my 10-mile Saturday walk, spend time with my wife and granddaughter, and enjoy the healthy quinoa that I bought in bulk to save money.

121 Words

121 Words

This year I started to submit my writings to several online publishing sites.  One of my favorites is 121 Words.  Their tagline is “All you need for a great story.”  The challenge is expressing your ideas concisely into exactly 121 words; no more and no less.  So far, I have had ten stories published including the following three that deal with Faith, Fitness, and Family (though not specifically mentioned).  I have also included a link below in case you are interested in reading all ten of my stories.  Each story is a unique expression of a message that is on my heart.

To give you an idea of what you can say in 121 words, this introduction is exactly 121 words.

  • Am I Running with You Jesus?

In 1969 I read the book Are You Running with Me Jesus? I don’t remember much about it, but today I ask myself, “Am I running with you Jesus?”

In the final scene of the movie Saving Private Ryan, Ryan, as an older man, sees the grave of Captain Miller and says “I have tried to live my life the best that I could.  I hope that was enough.  I hope that at least in your eyes I have earned what all of you have done for me.” Then he says to his wife, “Tell me I have led a good life. Tell me I’m a good man.”

Her response was, “You are.”

May Jesus’ evaluation of me be the same.

  • Carl Lewis, Baby!

Carl Lewis is considered by many to be the greatest track and field athlete of all time, accumulating nine Olympic gold medals, ten Olympic medals, and eight gold medals at the World Championships in his illustrious career.

This is how he described his race strategy, “My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed.  If you run your race, you’ll win. Channel your energy.  Focus.”

Similarly, as I take my place in the second row for another 60 minutes of kick-a$$ high intensity group fitness work, I look in the mirror, take a deep breath and think to myself, “Yeah, I can do this. Carl Lewis, baby!”

  • Life is a Fartlek

 The saying “Life is a marathon not a sprint” is only partially true.  Life generally plays out in long slow strides.  However, there are also sprints in life that require sudden burst of energy. That’s why a better metaphor for life is a “fartlek”.  Unless you are a competitive runner, you might not be familiar with this awful sounding word.

Fartlek, or “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training.  Fartlek training is simply defined as periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running.

 Therefore, we need to learn when to speed up and when to slow down our lives; this is the true meaning of fartlek or speed play living.


Finding ITT

Finding ITT

In the movie “City Slickers” Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, is alone with Curly, played by Jack Palance. Curly gives Mitch some life advice.

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing.
Mitch: But what is the “one thing?”
Curly: That’s what you have to find out.

To paraphrase Curly, Mitch needed to find his IT.

Two years ago, I made a decision to retire from the corporate world and pursue a career in health and fitness.  As I have stated previously, I looked at this as a re-tirement or a re-equipping rather than a retirement or cession from work.

However, it was on a Saturday morning walk in May 2017 that my vague plan started to become clearer.  During my usual walk to Hopkins on the LRT, the Scripture 1 Kings 19:15-16 came to my mind.  It tells the story of God giving Elijah three specific tasks to perform before his life’s mission was over.  I didn’t know then how this applied to me, but one year later, I knew what my three tasks were in priority order.

I found my ITT.

  • INVEST in Violet, my granddaughter. My time, money and attention are devoted to her. This represents my commitment to family first.
  • TRAIN my clients. Develop and apply my skills as a health and fitness professional. This represents my commitment to my vocation which is helping people.
  • TEACH anyone who is interested. Share the truths and insights that I have learned during my life.  This is expressed in my writing and broader calling.

Now two years later, that is exactly what I am doing.  I have re-prioritized my activities and eliminated others so that I can focus my attention on fulfilling my ITT.  I don’t know when my life’s mission will be over or whether there will be other adjustments along the way, but I am confident that I am doing now what God has laid out before me.

Sometimes adjustments come in the form of pruning.  In the horticultural world, we know that pruning a tree is necessary to sustain growth.  That is, sometimes the skillful pruner will cut back a fruitful branch which diminishes the outward appearance of health in the short term but contributes to the long-term health of the tree.

This recently happened to me. I had been in a mode of adding activities to my schedule. First, it was school, then it was an additional two day a week commitment as a personal trainer at the Ridgedale YMCA. Eventually, my internal homeostatic stress sensor began to register amber. At first, I ignored it, but then after an abbreviated night of sleep, I made the decision to drop my second Spring class in the ATSU kinesiology program.
This decision was made from my ITT perspective. My school work was taking time away from what could have been spent with my granddaughter. The information that I was learning was useful, but not critical to what I need to serve my clients better at this time. In terms of my third priority, being stressed is not a good example of teaching others about healthy living.
I am thinking about returning to the kinesiology program this Fall. So far, I earned an “A” in my initial course on Evidence-Based Practice and Research, and an additional “A” for staying on my life’s course.

Music for the Body and Soul

Music for the Body and Soul

Music has always been a big part of my life.  I was raised in my Bronx apartment in the 50’s and 60’s with a backdrop of my mother listening to Perry Como, Andy Williams and Andre Kostelanetz on AM radio.  My first taste of rock n’ roll were the words “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog” sung by the King himself in 1956.  And then came the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964 that changed everything for me.  I was glued to the radio from that moment on, and all of my paper route money went for vinyl.  The never-ending succession of fresh music by the British bands, the sounds of Motown and others stoked the flame that consumed me during my teenage years. I went from concert to concert in the Village, and I was there at Woodstock in the 5th row throughout the iconic concert by legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

My life changed dramatically in 1970 when I came to faith, and so did my musical tastes.   Contemporary Christian artists such as Phil Keaggy, Keith Green and Lamb captivated me for two decades.  I still turn to gospel music today when my soul needs uplifting and my spirit aspires to worship God.  However, missing much of the secular sounds of the 70’s and 80’s, I was reintroduced to the great dance sounds of pop and rock music that I was exposed to in the group fitness classes that I have been doing since 1989.

The music that eventually captivated my soul for the next 25 years was the great sounds of contemporary jazz.  I loved the upbeat instrumentals that characterize this genre, because it gave me great freedom to create my own lyrics for these songs in the tune of my life.

More recently, I have been listening to the electronic dance sounds that now accompany me on my long walks and workouts.  This music brings both my body and soul into a positive place. Although I am not a musician, I score surprisingly high in musical intelligence on multiple intelligence assessments because these often measure the broader capacity to intuit, be instinctual, and read patterns which describe me pretty well.  Music moves my body and energizes my soul.

During high school my career ambition was to be a disk jockey.  That vocation never materialized, but I get to live my dream today by mixing my own Spotify playlists for the group fitness classes that I teach.  I particularly like to put together choreographed routines that I use for warm-ups for my strength-based classes, and content for my cardio classes.

So now, I have the privilege of sharing with you my latest choreographed routine using the newly released single “Just Like You” by my favorite dance/electronic group The Satin Jackets.



The Value of Work

The Value of Work

“How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rest unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life!”

During my five years working at UnitedHealthcare, I would periodically attend meetings at the headquarters building in Minnetonka.  I was often greeted there by Lee Werness, a receptionist, who always had a smile on her face and an encouraging word on her lips.  Although I only saw her once every month or so, she knew my name and always shared something encouraging with me. One day she wasn’t there, and I learned that she had recently passed away as a result of a sudden stroke.  I later learned through her obituary that she was 82 years old.

In his classic poem “Ulysses”, Tennyson describes an old age of idleness as a burden rather than a gift, and he yearns to “shine in use.”  Lee was definitely a shining light at the UnitedHealthcare headquarters building, doing what she was meant to do down to her last days.

In the book “The Mirage and Dignity on the Highways of Human ‘Progress’” author Lukman Harees promotes the value of work. “Our life is an odd mixture of different moments of action and inaction, work and rest. Work provides us with an inner creative joy. It saves us from the dullness and boredom of life. It puts our energies to proper use. Unused energies create disorders in us. They make us physically unhealthy and mentally unhappy. Time hangs heavy on our shoulders when there is no work. It provides us with money for our livelihood. It makes our life meaningful and peaceful. Idleness is more tiresome and painful than work. Even the most unpaid, unimportant and unpleasant work is better than no work.”

In the book “Every Good Endeavor – Connecting Your Work to God’s Work” author Timothy Keller describes the pattern of work as rearranging the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world in general and people in particular thrive and flourish.  If we are to be God’s image bearers with regard to creation, then we will carry on his pattern of work.   In chapter three, he cites a number of examples:

The pattern is found in all kinds of work.  Farming takes the physical material of soil and seed and produces food.  Music takes the physics of sound and rearranges it into something beautiful and thrilling that brings meaning to life.  When we take fabric and make a piece of clothing, when we push a broom and clean up a room, when we use technology too harness the forces of electricity, when we take an uninformed, naïve human mind and teach it a subject, when we teach a couple how to resolve their relational disputes, when we take simple materials and turn them into a poignant work of art – we are continuing God’s work of forming, filling and subduing.  Whenever we bring order out of chaos, whenever we elaborate and “unfold” creation beyond where it was when we found it, we are following God’s pattern of creative cultural development. In fact, our word “culture” comes from the idea of cultivation.  Just as he subdued the earth with his work of creation, so he calls us now to labor as his representatives in a continuation and extension of that work of subduing.

This is what I have been trying to do in my 50 years in the workforce.  As a programmer, I transformed electronic bits and bytes into useful business applications. As a project manager, I used people and planning to improve business processes.  Now as a personal trainer, I use kineseology and personal care to help improve the health and fitness of my clients.

Lee transformed an ordinary reception desk into a fountain of encouragement, so why stop working at a particular age?  After all, Minnesota sports journalist Sid Hartman still writes his column at 99 years old!

30 Years of Group Fitness

30 Years of Group Fitness

It was 30 years ago this week that I built up the courage, took a risk, and stepped into my first aerobics class, and I have been hooked on group fitness ever since.  Doing group fitness for four or five hours a week for 30 years means that I have been in studios for about 6,000 hours with several hundred different instructors, and thousands of fellow students!  Class formats have changed over the years, but my love and commitment to staying fit through group classes has never changed.

In her the TED talk, Dr. Susan Pinker cites a scientific study that identified the top ten factors for what it takes to live to 100.  Smoking cessation, for example ranked third.  Exercise came in a paltry seventh, and being lean vs overweight was eighth.  The top two factors, by a significant margin, were social integration and close relationships.  In addition to busting butt and burning calories, group fitness classes provide a great opportunity to promote social integration and form close relationships.

To commemorate these 30 years, here are two related posts I wrote two years ago:

  • Why I Love Group Fitness

I joined a health club in November 1988 which had an indoor track.  Being too wimpy to run outdoors in the cold weather at the time, I began my thrice weekly routine of running 30 – 40 laps around the track for the next four months.  How do you spell B-O-R-I-N-G?

Every now and then I would peak into the group fitness studio and notice that people seemed to be having a good time inside.  I finally built up the courage to give it a try.  Although I stumbled through the choreography at first, I was hooked on group fitness from Day 1.

Back then you basically had two choices: high impact aerobics, or low impact aerobics. Step came along in 1991, followed in rapid succession by spin, kick boxing, barbell classes and various forms of circuit training.  Today most gyms offer many group fitness options, so there is something available to satisfy everyone’s interests and fitness goals.

So, in a nutshell, here are five reasons why I love group fitness:

  1. I can put my head in neutral, and just follow the skillful guidance of my instructor.
  2. I get to do challenging and beneficial exercises that I would never attempt on my own.
  3. I feel like I am part of an accountability group that I never want to let down by slacking off.
  4. I have had the privilege of meeting many great people over the years.
  5. And by gosh, it is still a lot of fun!
  • Duty, Discipline, or Delight

A person can be motivated to exercise out of either: Duty, Discipline or Delight.

  1. Duty: Something you feel like you have to do but don’t particularly like it or feel comfortable doing it
  2. Discipline: It becomes less painful and part of your schedule as you get into a groove
  3. Delight: It becomes a joyful part of your life as you see the fruit of your efforts

Here are my tips for how to come the place where working out is a delight:

  1. Find something you really like to do (there are so many exercise options available today)
  2. With people you like to do it with (even if it is by yourself)
  3. Mix it up or make a change whenever necessary to increase your level of delight

Another way to look at this is moving from something you HAVE to do, to something you WANT to do, to something you GET to do.

Here’s to the next 30 years of fitness and fun!

cardio 1

Aging Backwards

Aging Backwards

Denny McClain was the last major league pitcher to win 30 games in a season.  Now 74, reflecting on his past 50 years of triumph and tragedy, McClain said, “I’ve got a whole lot of things to talk to God about.  Number one is, you have this damned old-age thing screwed up.  We should have been born old people and aged into childhood.”

Die first and get this out of the way.  Pass the wisdom of age onto a younger version of myself when my vitality is at its peak and end up a glimmer in my parent’s eye.  What an enchanting idea!  Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.  Time marches on, and all of us yields to the unchanging law of entropy.

My reading vision started to fade in my late 40’s.  In my ignorance, I asked my optometrist what percent of people experience declining eyesight.  His response was 100%.  I have had one knee replaced. The skin above my knees is getting droopy despite the number of squats and lunges I do. Eventually my hearing will start to fade, and my reaction time will slow down. There is a world of difference though between the intrinsic effects of aging and the preventable effects of aging.

For example, with the proper mental self-care and good fortune, I don’t expect my mental facilities to diminish. My mother at 95 years old is still as sharp as a tack.  According to the MacArthur Foundation Study on Successful Aging, “the three key features that predict strong mental function in old age are: regular physical exercise, a strong social support system, and belief in one’s ability to handle what life has to offer”, and I am fully committed to these habits.

I have aged well though. I will be 67 this month, but I look much younger than that.  My biological age is much younger than my chronological age because of my unwavering commitment to a healthy lifestyle. My increased focus on resistance training has paid off too; my last caliper measurement in December showed that I have decreased my percentage of body fat to 12.6%; my lowest since my early 40’s.

I also have better than average genes. My mother still has more brown hair than grey.  I have a smattering of grey in my beard, but I don’t plan to touch it up with “Just For Men.” However, the MacArthur study has shown that heredity is less important than environment and lifestyle in determining mental and physical health as we age. I also recognize that some health issues are outside of our control, and many people face neuromuscular, oncological or other health challenges that are not related to their lifestyle choices.

I am thankful that I am still able to keep up with everyone in the challenging interval group fitness classes where I am typically the oldest person in the class. Last year I lowered my walking half-marathon personal best by seven minutes to 3:10. Eventually my physical prowess will succumb to the effects of aging, because nobody wins the battle against time.

There was one day though when I felt old.  I came in for an interview for a personal trainer position, and there were a couple of 20 something trainers sitting around the desk who cast what appeared to be a disbelieving glance my way. Then it occurred to me, “THEY THINK I AM OLD.”  “Old?” “I’m not old,” I protested to myself. And then other occasions came to mind when similar things happened in my interactions with younger people. It was like in the movie “The Usual Suspects” when the detective played by Chazz Palminteri drops his coffee cup when he realizes who the real Keyser Soze is.  I understand though, after all I was young once too. However, it took me a day or two to shake this feeling.

Maybe they are right though – maybe I am old.  I just don’t feel like it yet.

In some ways I have aged backwards. I was a church elder in my 20’s and now I am a personal trainer in my 60’s.  I once again have a kindergartner living in my home, so I interact with parents who are half my age. Mentally I have never felt younger or healthier than I do now.

Our physical body ages and deteriorates, but our spiritual person is eternal. Maybe I feel younger now because I am more conscious of tapping into my spiritual person on a daily basis.  Eventually, I will have an incorruptible body for eternity. In the book “Where is God When it Hurts”, author Philip Yancey describes the contrast between the struggle of aging and the hope of eternity:

“Belief in a future home beyond this one should affect more than how we die.  It should affect how we live.

Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia Bible College, was once approached by an elderly lady facing the trials of old age. Her body was in decline, her beauty being replaced by thinning hair, wrinkles, and skin discoloration. She could no longer do the things she once could. And she felt herself to be a burden on others.  “Robertson, why does God let us get old and weak?  Why must I hurt so?” she asked.

After a few minutes’ thought McQuilkin replied, “I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical.  But the strength and beauty of age is spiritual.  We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty which is forever.  It makes us more eager to leave behind the temporary, deteriorating part of us and be truly homesick for our eternal home.  If we stayed young and strong and beautiful, we might never want to leave!”

I don’t always understand the meaning of Bob Dylan’s lyrics, but the words “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” in his epic song “My Back Pages” ring true.

(P.S. There is a great book by Miranda Esmonde-White titled “Aging Backwards.” It is an excellent read about how to reverse the debilitating effects of aging through Essentrics flexibility training.)