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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Living a Life that Death would be Proud of

This may be one of the most difficult posts to piece together that I've ever done.

Because that's just what it is - a bunch of pieces....

Concepts, ideas and phrases that I have collected, thought about and experienced over a Lifetime but much more intensely in recent months.

With that stated, I'll just list the pieces of the puzzle that will be assembled to create this image of Life and Death:
  • It's not how you die that counts... It's how you live that really matters.
  • Getting a Divorce from Myself.
  • Practicing the Art of Growing Old.
  • Recent Interest in Death and Music about Death.
  • A Life to be Thankful For.
It's not how you die that counts... It's how you live that really matters.

This is really a controversial statement because obviously there are a lot of people that have died heroic deaths in sacrifice of their fellow man.  And of course, there are countless others who have died courageous deaths in the face of debilitating disease and sickness.  In these cases, how these people died may have been the defining point of their lives.  This is not what I'm talking about.

For the majority of us, we have 65 - 95 years of daily activities to define our lives - and we do it one 24 hour day, one 60 minute hour, one 60 second minute at a time.  We are all given the same 24 hour day to work with and yet a select few seem to make so much more of their day.... and their lives.

These people are not looking forward to dying.  They are too busy living lives of honor, integrity, accomplishment, with expression of love, peace of spirit, development of mind and strength of body.

I have to shake my head when I hear people talking about looking forward to heaven or the next life.

My first thought is "What's wrong with this life? What are you doing to make this life better for you and those you come in contact with?"

For these people, 10 lives wouldn't make things better, because they have never learned how to live 1 life.

Getting a Divorce from Myself

Part of the reasons why marriages don't last is because people change over time - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Their interests and activities change and for people who are married, if they can't find a way to deal with that, then they grow apart and after a while there are "irreconcilable differences".

I got to thinking about this in connection with a transition I've gone through over the past 7 - 8 years.

It probably began in 2009 when I realized my 2nd marriage was just not working and that most of the blame for that lay on my shoulders.

I was unhappy with Myself and My Life.

I really didn't like Me and what I had become.

I wanted a Divorce from Myself.

I mean, seriously, that's what you do with a spouse - right?

You get to a point where you just don't like them anymore and don't want to be around them so you get a divorce.

Same thing can be applied to yourself.

You can just look yourself in the mirror and say "Hey Mother Fucker - I don't like you and I want a Divorce!"

Now obviously, I'm not talking about getting rid of yourself physically, aka Suicide, although I will list a song about Suicide later in this post.

What I'm talking about is removing from your life, your being and your interaction with the world, those things that have led you to this Tipping Point of Personal Despair.

For me it was the Fat, the Love of Money, the Anger and the Frustration of Living in a Climate and Community that neither Supported nor Appreciated the Body and Spirit that I was made of.

I Divorced Myself from the Past and the Man I was and Married the Right Guy this time.

And I'm not even Gay.

Moving on...

Practicing the Art of Growing Old

When I was doing research several years ago on the city I wanted to move to from the Texas Gulf Coast, I included several criteria such as Climate, Terrain, Infrastructure, Proximity to Airport, Cost of Living, etc.

One of the things I missed was Average Age of the Population.

You know what the Average Age of the Santa Fe NM population is?


Yep - it's basically a Retirement Community.

The irony of this stat is that it's off by about 15 years when measured by how people look and act and live.

On the Gulf Coast of Texas, I could usually guess a person's age within 2 - 3 years.

In Santa Fe, there's no way to guess because this city is a natural filter for those people seeking longevity, activity and quality of life through good health and balanced lifestyle.

A person who looks 40 might be 55 and a woman who's 67 might look 55.

Hell - there's 75 - 80 year old men and women on the strenuous-grade hikes with me every week.

I mean - first of all, the city is at 7200' elevation so just breathing adds a 20% workout compared to breathing at sea level.

Plus this place is an Outdoor Enthusiast wonderland with Mountain Biking, Road Cycling, Hiking, Skiing, Hunting and Fishing and more.

A lot of People move here and live here because they want to live longer and more active lives.

I have become fascinated with the observation of this for almost 2 years now.

It's become especially significant to me during that same time frame because I have suffered many physical setbacks highlighted by a left knee replacement in April of this year.

The realization that I am aging and growing old is setting in.

And because of that I have turned my attention to these living examples of Life Enhancement, Extension and Activity that exist all around me in Santa Fe.

These people that are 10, 15, 20 , 25 years older than me that have not only defied the effects of age but in some cases have reversed it right before my very eyes.

Such is the case of my Dancer friend from Group Exercise Classes at Anytime Fitness.

After working out with her for a couple of months in early 2015, she started asking me about building muscle and getting stronger.

I answered her questions and gave her general concepts and specific recommendations based on what I have learned, experienced and practiced.

And she starting practicing them.

And getting stronger and more muscular.

At the beginning of this year, she came to me and expressed frustration with seeming to hit a sticking point.

She wanted to advance even further.

I knew she was a strict vegetarian and I told her "Look - I understand you want to be a vegetarian but if you really want to add muscle and get strong, quit eating all those beans and lentils and all those other shit carbs that vegetarians use for protein and start eating Lean Meat and lots of it. Cut the bad carbs and sugar and focus on meat and low carb veggies. Believe me, if you do that and you keep working out like you're doing, you're not gonna believe what you look like in 6 months".

Well - not too long after that I went to Texas to have my Left Knee Replacement surgery and then was in Texas working on and off so I really didn't get to see my Dancer friend for several months.

Then about late July, I saw her in a local dance club and she was wearing this sleeveless outfit that really showed her arms and shoulders and she looked like a Fucking Bodybuilder.

I couldn't believe it - I told her "My God, you've put on 5 pounds of lean muscle just in your upper body!"

And soaking wet, she only weighs a buck 02 so 5 pounds of muscle is a lot on her frame.

Seriously, I could see the entire deltoid rounded and defined from the bicep and triceps and she had veins running down her bicep and about an 1-1/2" of traps coming up behind her neck.

It was an amazing athletic and bodybuilding transformation.

And Oh.... did I forget to tell you this lady just turned 73 years old!

Talking about inspiring and giving me the confidence of knowing that it can be done because I see it nearly every day!

Interest in Music about Death

I was talking to another friend recently about my recent interest in Death and Music about Death.

She asked me why I was interested in Death and I didn't really have a good answer for her.

Perhaps it's been my visits with my 89 year old Dad in Beaumont - another one of those people who just continues to defy the odds.  Needless to say, I realize and he realizes and has talked to me about the fact that he is just trying to live each day to its fullest because he knows he is reaching the end of his life.

It's hard to listen to this kind of thing coming from someone you love and have known your entire life and not be affected by it.

Perhaps it's been my affiliation with and affinity towards people who are older than me.

Frankly, people who are older than me are more interesting, inspiring and attractive to me than people my age or younger than me.

And maybe, as I alluded to above, it's my own realization that there is far more life and even far more active life behind me than ahead of me.

And maybe, it's the fact that I've been alone for so long.

Alone and Death seem to go together - don't they?

So in consideration of all of that, I offer to you my top 3 songs about death from completely different genres, styles and contents....

Death by Suicide by Hollywood Undead - Bullet

It's funny how such a happy sounding song can deal with such a final and fatal subject.

Death by Hedonistic Indulgence a la Lemmy Kilmster - Killed by Death by Motorhead

I heard this song and sent the YouTube video link to my son and daughter and told them that's what I wanted on my tombstone -

He Lived a Good Life and was Killed by Death!

And finally one of the most beautifully tragic love songs I have heard in a long time and a concept that is a reality for many - when one of a couple dies, the other simply cannot live without them and chooses to quickly follow.

I Will Follow You into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie

A Life to be Thankful For

In the days following one of the most memorable Thanksgivings of my Life, I have thought about these Matters of Life and Death - and realize that this is a subject that has been contemplated by many since the first life and death.

And one of the wisest men in History, Solomon, documented his Life Learnings and Lessons in what, for me, is the best book of the Bible - Ecclesiastes.

In conclusion, I leave you with these 2 admonitions from Solomon from Ecclesiastes 3:18 - 21

18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

And from Ecclesiastes 12:13

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

I'll keep working on that as I...

Live a Life that Death would be Proud of.

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