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How’s your falsetto?

I treated myself to a copy of Daryl Hall and John Oates Live in Dublin performance DVD. You all know how much I dig those guys, so I won’t weigh you down with a review of the concert.

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The guys offered up a deep track (Unless you’re a long time fan) you’ve never heard before. It’s a song from 1976 called “Back Together Again.”

The song’s chorus is punctuated by Daryl Hall’s smooth falsetto. Fast forward nearly 40 years to the performance of the same song from the Live from Dublin concert.

You’ll notice that Daryl’s falsetto is a little grittier. And that’s to be expected from a vocalist who’s been in the game longer than some readers of these pages have been on this planet.

So, where am I going with this?

I’ll tell you, but first, please buckle your seat belts because we’re going to take a quick trip down the philosophical highway!

Daryl Hall’s seasoned falsetto is a metaphor for what many of us 50+ midlifers are experiencing.

Can we still hit the high notes of our youth? Probably not (And in some cases, why would we want to? Some songs from our old catalog may best remain unsung – if you know what I’m saying!). But our more seasoned voices are still strong enough to rock the house.

And to keep this musical analogy going, kinda like an encore. (Get those lighters up!),

I’m sure many of my fellow performers in the band that is midlife would agree, we’re at a meaningful point in our existence where it’s more fulfilling to please a small amount of true fans in an intimate club setting, versus trying to make everyone happy in an overflowing stadium.

Ouch, I should have warmed up before that stretch. I think I got a groin pull!

Anyway, rock on Daryl! And to my fellow midlife band mates, yeah, our falsetto may have a little age on it, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop singing our song!

Paper chase

I love my smart phone. I enjoy having a music player, camera, GPS, gaming handheld and – oh yeah – a telephone all in one device. Despite my admiration for this modern convenience, I still can’t get myself to consistently use it to manage my to do list. In fact, the task ‘write blog post’ is scribbled on a piece of paper and not posted in my to do list application.

We had a similar version of this conversation nearly four years ago. No surprise, not much has changed.

To Do ListGiving it some thought, the reason why I still lean on a paper to do list is the ability to quickly jot down a task in my trusty notebook versus the multi-step process of waking up the device, opening the app, going to the ‘new item’ screen, my chubby fingers and the typos that ensue and finally saving the entry.

What’s ironic, my notebook of choice is a pocket-size Moleskine. For some reason I also have a Moleskine notebook app on my phone. I suppose you can guess which one gets the most use.

Of course my handwritten to do list doesn’t provide the ability to set reminders, color code, forward, archive or share my tasks on social media.

And I’m OK with that.

In the highly-technological world in which we live, sometimes a simple non-tech solution is equally effective as a digital alternative.

I could go on, but there are a few more tasks on this dog-eared piece of scrap paper that I have to knock out before the day is over.

 

 

Happy Feet

I have friend who recently retired. He’s nearly 20 years my senior. We didn’t have a lot in common (Which often makes for the best friendships) but one thing we did share is a deep and reverential respect for a good, comfortable – dare I say – sensible shoe.

It was always a sight to see – two grown men fawning over the form and features of their newest kicks in a manner that would put Carrie Bradshaw to shame.

As I mentioned, my friend retired not too long ago, so I was on my own when I comfortably walked into the 9:5 in my latest footwear finery – (Hey! Shouldn’t I get a little coin for this product endorsement?) a well-made pair of cushiony soft Rockport oxfords.shoes

No, I won’t win any style points and I don’t expect to get a call from GQ. In fact someone very close to me paid these shoes the ultimate comment – “…they’re only a little ugly.”

And I’m OK with that!

I have fond and vivid memories as an adolescent in the disco tinged late 70s, suiting up for church and cramming my dogs into a pair of  Italian (Made in China) leather (Leatherette) Tony Manero knockoffs.

And as we’ve discussed in these pages, I suffered through a wingtips and suspenders yuppie phase back in the 90s.

Yes, I still have a couple pairs of (Look better than they feel) dress shoes in my closet (Sadly nothing like my old James Brown boots from 84 with the slick Cuban heels) and from time to time you may see me wear them, but for the most part, my midlife shoe choices lean more toward function than fashion.

I don’t miss my teens, 20s and 30s (Well, maybe the 20s – just a little bit) and the self-imposed pressure to follow the style trends of the day. With age comes perspective and with perspective comes the reality that feeling good in one’s own skin is much more meaningful and goes deeper than the clothes or shoes we wear.

Whoa – Sorry I didn’t flash my turn signal before making that sharp left into the philosophical lane! See how clear the mind is when your feet feel good!

Paper Jam

Readers of a certain age might remember during their youth catching a never ending supply of reruns of a 60s cartoon called the Jetsons. This was a story about a futuristic family that lived in a space-aged world complete with flying cars and robot housekeepers.250px-Jetsonslogo640x480 As a little boy in the early 70s watching this show, I envisioned a future where I could have some of the same 21st century innovations enjoyed by George, Jane his wife, daughter Judy and – we can’t forget – his boy Elroy! (Ain’t it funny how I can remember the lyrics to a cartoon I watched 40+ years ago, but I have to write a note to myself to pick up the dry cleaning after work Monday?) What made me think about this classic cartoon was the meticulous preparation one must undergo to perform that quinquennial ritual of getting one’s driver’s license renewed. You see in my state, and most likely yours, one must provide social security verification and – among other things – proof of residency in the form of printed utility bills, bank statements or similar documents. IMG_0346Editor’s note: Here at the Chronicles, we have a long-standing, vigorously enforced no bitch and moan policy. So please don’t view this post as my complaining. Truth be told, I zipped through the process this morning in under an hour. My issue is simply my surprise that in 2015, we are still so dependent on paper documents for identity verification. In fact, this is one of the few times I can think of that I have to dust off my decades old original social security card. I guess those old habits are hard to break. We may never arrive at time when we’re walking around with bar codes tattooed to our necks like that old Jessica Alba Sci-Fi drama from the early millennium, nor will we ever have RFID chips subcutaneously embedded. Of course given the recent spate of digital identity thefts and security breaches, maybe hanging on to our paper roots ain’t such a bad thing. I wonder if George Jetson had to print out his Spacely Sprockets pay stub or the title to his flying car to verify his identity at the motor vehicles office?

Just one more thing

How many consecutive fitness related posts does one have to draft before one is considered a fitness blogger? I don’t think this post – my second fitness related post in as many weeks – will put me anywhere near that threshold.

I guess this isn’t entirely a new post, it’s more of an add on to the thoughts I shared last week. As I mentioned, I completed the 30 Runs in 30 Days Challenge.

Here’s where the additional thought kicks in (Ironically a thought that entered my noggin in this morning’s predawn hours during a run).

Because I still haven’t conquered those lazy sleep in and do nothing physical demons, I took a couple of days off after having run 30 straight days. This morning was my first real run since completing the Challenge early last week. Surprisingly, I completed a run that was a whisper away from the four mile mark without too many aches and pains. A couple of laps around the roundabout down the street (That’s a traffic circle to you non-southerners) would have gotten me there.

I promise. This is the last post on this topic (that is until the next Challenge)

I promise. This is the last post on this topic (that is until the next Challenge)

Apparently, my body was positively impacted more by the 30 consecutive days of activity than negatively impacted by the 3 or 4 days of laziness.

I have a buddy who is an avid golfer, and he once told me about a similar experience that occurred with him. He had just come off of a period where he played little to no golf, but when he returned to the course, he played better than ever. I said to him that it must have been good muscle memory.

He bristled at this notion.

He said, correctly, that our muscles don’t experience memories. What they do experience is conditioning. If you perform certain tasks or exercises over a period of time the muscles you use will become conditioned, so even if you stop for a brief period of time, the muscles maintain a certain level of conditioning.

Such was the case this morning.

Running (walking, shuffling and crawling) 30 straight days helped condition my muscles (legs, heart, lungs and whatever other muscles come to the dance during a run) enough that I was able to perform pretty much at the same level after a couple of days off.

This was a refreshing change from those periods where I’d run for a few days and stop. Then when I’d get back into it, I’d pay the price with aches and pains from my head down to my feet, and sadly I wasn’t hot, sticky sweet (Sorry, I felt compelled to shoehorn a Def Leppard reference in that paragraph).

Once again (and for the last time, because wringing out a third post gushing over completing the 30 Runs Challenge would simply be overkill), I’m really pleased with myself that I completed the Challenge, and even though I could take a day or two off and still make it around my neighborhood without medical assistance, I don’t intend to. I’ll see you out there tomorrow morning!

Accountability

So often on social media, we’re invited to Like this, Pin that, Download this or Follow that. More often than not, I tend to ignore these invitations.

This was not the case with an invitation I received about a month and half or ago. I was invited to participate in the 30 Runs in 30 Days Challenge. This was a Facebook activity where participants were challenged to run, walk or bike at least two miles per day (Longer for bikers) daily for 30 days.

I finished – or shall I say met – the challenge earlier this week after completing a three-mile jaunt around my neighborhood.MLC Accountability_3-3-15-2

As I said, I – like most of you – receive invitations for various activities on the social media platform(s) of your choice, but unlike joining in the latest social media game or liking a celebrity’s fan page, this actually required some action on my part.

No, the hardest part of the challenge wasn’t knocking out two miles a day (Even though I’m not a daily high-impact cardio kind of guy – not since the days of my old Reebok Pumps, circulation-threatening bicycle shorts and STEP classes). It was being accountable for knocking out those two miles a day.

On a side note, these soon to be 51-year-old joints held up pretty nicely running, walking or a two-mile (sometimes more) hybrid of the two over the past month. Even though the challenge is over, I plan to keep this up. As a result, I dropped a couple of pounds and I’m noticing the old trousers are a pinch looser.

Sorry, I digress.

I didn’t know, nor did I have any personal relationship with any of the couple of hundred or so other participants in the challenge, still I felt a strong sense of responsibility not to let them down by failing to complete what I set out to do.

It’s so easy to say “I’m going to do (FILL IN THE BLANK),” but when you have people who will hold you accountable for completing a task, it becomes a real challenge, and when you complete that task, the satisfaction is much more meaningful.

Running Man

A rare selfie one morning at the top of my (least) favorite hill

I know a little something about accountability because I work in a very deadline-driven environment at the ol’ 9 to 5, and in all modesty, on the job, I’m pretty accountable, but in my non-work pursuits my discipline and resolve aren’t as strong (Which is why I still struggle with delivering consistent posts to these pages).

Hopefully completing this challenge will help turn that around.

To my fellow 30 Runs in 30 Days Challenge participants, congratulations, and thanks for keeping me in line these past 30 days!

Worn out – The Sequel

It’s rare that we do follow-up reporting here at the Chronicles, but a recent occurrence related to an earlier story warrants additional coverage.

You’ll recall I shared the sad story of one of my favorite tie’s recent demise. Well, it appears the same fate has fallen upon another piece of cherished neckwear.

Interestingly, I bought this tie at the same Stern’s Department Store in Ocean Township, NJ, way back in the early 90s, and like its red and blue tie rack mate, this one has gone the way of all over worn apparel.

Goodbye old friend!

Goodbye old friend!

This is the last tie from that period that remains in active rotation. I have several more tucked away in a box in the basement. Also in that box are several pairs of suspenders that haven’t held up pants since Ross and Rachel were a couple.

The early 90s was an interesting time in the life of this writer. By this time, the carefree, irresponsible (and highly entertaining) 80s were long over. And I had yet to fully enter the white picket fence, bring home the bacon, stop drinking when you’re buzzed, contribute to a pension fund days of the mid to late 90s and beyond.

By the early 90s, John Sr. was gone and by mid-decade so too was mom.

It was the time when I cared about matching ties to suspenders, going for that Babyface curl (Despite that pesky male pattern baldness thing), kissing up to and not pissing off people who I thought (And so did they) were important.

It was also when I realized I was better at writing news releases than reporting on them, which subsequently led to staying at work really late. Not really working, mind you, just staying late to make an impression on those aforementioned important people (Who truly in retrospect really weren’t nearly as important as I or they thought they were).

The fact that my best memories of those early 90s are the ties I owned certainly says a lot 25 years later.

Those early 90s weren’t all bad. I met this really beautiful young lady in church (Cue lightning bolt) who shortly before the decade ended  became my wife. And yes, I gave up on the Babyface curl.

I made it through those days, and I’m happy to report that I’m a lot less worn out than my 25-year-old neck wear!