I spent my late 20s becoming an increasingly seasoned (if never truly talented) runner, making the sport ever more a part of my identity and setting progressively bigger and cooler goals. I have spent my early 30s watching my mileage dwindle as I struggle with random injuries. Maybe I need to adjust my training or my shoes or form or something and I will be able to go get ‘em again - but the point is, I never needed to sweat those details when I was younger.
I know I’m not the only person my age dealing with this. We obsess and try to figure out what’s wrong and how to perform at our former levels. But maybe it’s healthier to accept the basic reality that our bodies change over time.
As members of a species we have one principle goal, which is to reach reproductive age and reproduce. Our bodies are designed to get us there. Beyond that point, which is to say past young adulthood, any extra time we get is a bonus. And that is probably why we start falling apart in our 30s and 40s - our genes make the assumption that the real work has already been done.
In that light I think it’s naive to assume we all have the right and the potential to stay competitive and keep pushing the athletic envelope indefinitely. Sure, many folks are gifted with resilient bodies that can keep going hard for decades. But many are not. I am not. I had always assumed that if I kept training harder and smarter, I would keep getting better. I was wrong. That has been hard to accept. Now I am trying to figure out what that means in terms of who I am, what kind of goals I should have, where to focus my time and energy, and how moderately I need to train in order to stay healthy. Frankly I think running in moderation is fucking boring. Why do it if you’re not going to push your limits? There are other activities that are fulfilling to perform moderately - yoga comes to mind - but I just can’t get fired up about that the way I used to about spending a couple good hours on the trail.
So yeah. I don’t know. It’s depressing when I think about it that way, but not when I think about the high likelihood of a long post-adolescent life as a bonus and a gift. Then I think about how I just want to enjoy it as much as possible by staying active and healthy in whatever form that I can. Tai chi, bocce ball? Let’s go.
Individuals join the armed forces for a lot of reasons. It took me a long time to learn to respect and be nice to people who served, regardless of my politics. I don’t have to understand, or agree. Part of me believes that on a fundamental level, as an individual, it is very brave to do something terrifying because you believe in it, or because you need what it will do for you. No matter what it is.
This is a good way to make leftovers exciting. I never have curry paste around but I always have sriracha, and it actually makes a pretty good substitute, and is cheap. If you don’t eat meat, this would be good with tempeh.
Leftover chicken (or tempeh)
Cut up the chicken and heat it in a skillet along with any big chunks of veggies. Try to salvage some skin and/or shmaltz to make it oily and crispy. Then throw in smaller veggies. Then stir in sriracha and coconut milk to taste and cook until everything is hot and bubbly and delicious. MMMM!
I am inadvertently turning into the most annoying person ever.
A few years ago I stopped drinking coffee because it was making me crazy. Then I couldn’t have tea, chocolate or coca cola either because I was too sensitive to caffeine in anything. Then this summer I kind of mostly stopped drinking because I didn’t like how it made me feel anymore. And now I’m off sugar and grains because I don’t like how they make me feel either, and I’m considering quitting dairy because I’m finally admitting to myself that I’m lactose intolerant. So pretty soon I’m going to be this insufferable straight-edge paleo quack, drinking water at parties and eating bacon for breakfast and listening to Minor Threat CDs. (Paleo and straight edge: seemingly at odds from an historic perspective, but born out of the same obsession with self control especially popular with young white dudes.)
Don’t get me wrong - I have nothing against coffee, or ice cream, or a frosty Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream milkshake blended with a shot or two of bourbon. It just happens that if I drank one, I would be a hot mess. But I think people should eat and drink whatever they want. I’ve always thought people who go around preaching paleo or straight edge or veganism are lame koolaid drinkers. I’m going to base what I eat on what serves my body and brain, not on what someone else says is right.
I’ve had people trying to convince me to be a vegetarian for like my whole life, and I tried a couple times but my body always said no. And now everyone is saying you should go paleo, and I still don’t buy into it as a worldview or call myself that, but I increasingly find myself at the grocery store with a basketful of sausage and sweet potatoes and beef jerky, or at the gym on a Friday night when my friends are at the bar, and I’m like, great. Now I’m one of THOSE.
It’s pretty weird but I’m going to run with it.
Hey, so this blog has been about music for awhile. I’m changing the channel. I’m studying to become a personal trainer and am going to be posting about that for awhile. Healthy type stuff. Just wanted to put that out there. Stay tuned.
Comfort food. Lots of good protein. Don’t fuck with the classics.
1 can of tuna
1 big glob of mayo
Some chopped onion
Drain the tuna and mix everything together. Tastes best chilled.
After a couple months during which I just wasn’t interested, I started cooking again - yay! I made this last week. It was yummy, fairly healthy, cheap, and super simple. Good with a salad.
Chicken, Carrots & Onions
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Slice carrots & onions.
2. Heat some butter or oil in a skillet and toss carrots & onions to coat. (You could probably skip this part if you want to make it healthier.) Add chicken to pan, season with salt & pepper.
3. Bake for like 20-30 minutes. Halfway through, flip the chicken, stir the veggies, and salt/pepper the other side of the chicken.
4. Plate the chicken and spoon the veggies over the top.
Serves 2 girls or 1 dude
This is basically what it’s like when I sit around playing guitar at night.
Happy birthday Willie Nelson!
The Atlantic: It sounds like you’re saying that literary “talent” doesn’t inoculate a writer—especially a male writer—from making gross, false misjudgments about gender. You’d think being a great writer would give you empathy and the ability to understand people who are unlike you—whether we’re talking about gender or another category. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Junot Diaz: I think that unless you are actively, consciously working against the gravitational pull of the culture, you will predictably, thematically, create these sort of fucked-up representations. Without fail. The only way not to do them is to admit to yourself [that] you’re fucked up, admit to yourself that you’re not good at this shit, and to be conscious in the way that you create these characters. It’s so funny what people call inspiration. I have so many young writers who’re like, “Well I was inspired. This was my story.” And I’m like, “OK. Sir, your inspiration for your stories is like every other male’s inspiration for their stories: that the female is only in there to provide sexual service.” There comes a time when this mythical inspiration is exposed for doing exactly what it’s truthfully doing: to underscore and reinforce cultural structures, or I’d say, cultural asymmetry.
This guy articulates so well what I keep trying to say about music and stories and culture in general.
Kiss the Bottle by Jawbreaker. This band is tattooed on my heart.