The other day, my wife and I went out for dinner and a drink at a unique bar / restaurant. I don’t know if unique is the right word, but it was on the deck of an old style, twin-masted schooner, in the harbor of one of Maine’s more popular tourist towns, so to me that qualifies as unique. Anyhow, we sat down and went over the drink menu. Lori (my wife) expressed interest in a cocktail called the “Rum Bucket”, but being as how a bucket of rum seemed a little much for her, and I wouldn’t be able to help her polish it off, she went for the individual “Rum Glass” option. I ordered a local draft beer and we sat on the deck of this rather cool ship and watched the kayaks pass by and the seagulls poop on the patrons at the restaurant across the harbor (there’s a funny story that goes along with that, remind me to tell you later).
When the waitress returned, she declined to include a straw with my wife’s glass. Lori, being the trooper that she is, tried to sip the drink, but it proved difficult for her as the “Rum Glass” came as advertised: rather large and mixed with about four different kinds of rum. No problem, I thought, probably just an oversight. I know a lot of restaurants these days are jumping on board the “Eco-friendly” train lately and you need to ask for a straw if you really want one. I figured it was just another part to the establishment’s “uniqueness”, so I got up and went to the bar to ask if I could get her one.
“Sorry” the bartender told me, “We don’t provide straws with the drinks.”
“None?” I asked.
“Nope, no straws, stir sticks or anything like that.”
“Nothing, huh? I don’t suppose you have any non-plastic options would you? Maybe aluminum or wooden?” I knew it was a stretch, but I thought I’d throw it out there.
“How about a piece of licorice, or a Twizzler?”
The look on his face answered my question, and also informed me that my time with him had been used up. I thanked him and returned to my table. It seemed to me that this place may be more unique than I cared for. But Lori told me not to worry, that it wasn’t a big deal and she sipped her drink happily. I felt defeated though. After all, being married for close to thirty years, there are only so many ways left for you to impress your wife. Winning her that straw was supposed to be my moment of triumph. I was going to return with my prize and she would be reminded of what a great husband I was, delighted with the fact that she has spent the last three decades with me. Instead, I had failed miserably. After a few minutes however, I began to take some solace in accepting the fact that I was doing my part to save the planet by reducing the amount of plastic being dumped in a landfill. Maybe it was the pleasant afternoon, my frosty cold beverage and the enjoyable atmosphere, but I began to come to terms with my lack of success in acquiring the straw. The world is changing and our society is becoming more aware of the massive amounts of non biodegradable material being dumped into our landfills. I guess overall it’s not a terrible thing to go strawless, and may even make the world a better place for my granddaughter. Accepting my loss I lightly smiled, sat back and enjoyed my beer.
At about this time, our food arrived and Lori, like she always does, asked for a glass of water with her meal. The waitress returned promptly with her water, however much to my dismay, delivered it to her in a plastic cup.
A frigging plastic cup.
Are you kidding me?
Not just any plastic cup mind you, but a friggin’ large plastic cup, made from the same type of plastic that you would use to make a friggin’ straw. In fact, I’ll bet you could have made at least twenty friggin’ straws out of that same plastic cup. This dashed my feel good, saving the planet mood and got me pissed all over again. What the hell is the whole point of depriving a perfectly good cocktail of a much needed straw in the name of environmental protection, if you’re just going to pitch a shitload of extra plastic cups in the dump? Even the fact that I was drinking on the deck of a schooner didn’t feel cool any more and when we left later I vowed never to return. I admit now looking back, I was probably being a little too dramatic. I’ve found out since then that the “No Straw” decree is a local ordinance and not the restaurant’s decision at all. Besides, the food was excellent and the beer was wicked good. I’ll be back, but with my own straw, or at least a bag of Twizzlers.
Believe it or not, this whole story isn’t about the new anti-staw movement that’s sweeping the land, rather it’s about motivation, intention, and how I’m going about this whole pursuing health thing all wrong. That’s right, I said it. I’ve been preaching about health and fitness for a year now and I legitimately have not listened to a single word I’ve said, if that is even possible. You see, I’m no better than that restaurant when it comes to my intention. They wanted to do the right thing and be more environmentally friendly, so they ditched the straws, but kept the cups. Great intention, but they’re not that serious about it, and certainly won’t effect any real change. And at this rate, neither will I.
My intention of writing this blog was to explore the concept of pursuing better health as a middle aged man approaching his senior years, but I’ve realized now that I’m going about it half-assed. I’m basically depriving my readers their straws and then serving them water in a plastic cup. Pursuing an healthier lifestyle in your fifties is more than just working out and eating right. Living a healthy life at this age is made up of a lot of things other than fitness. Things like mental health, stress, financial security, work, and healthy relationships, just to name a few. All these different elements add up and are a combined factor in how healthy we really are. As I just recently learned, you don’t have much will to work out if you have issues with depression. Not to mention, if your anything like me, the first thing that goes out the window when your stressed is your diet. Maybe when we were in our twenty’s, a trip to the gym is all we needed to stay in shape, but today the smallest issue in any part of our lives effects our wellness. And just like I said in my first post about not knowing anything about fitness, I don’t know much at all about any of these things either, but I’m going to learn more.
I’ve also done a shitty job with this blog too. I drop a post once every month or so and expect that it will be effective. Why should anything good come form this when I’ve only given it minimal effort and only putting in work on the days I feel like it? I’m not even sure what I expect to come out of this project, but with the effort I’ve put in so far, I shouldn’t expect much. Even the title of this blog, “Surviving the Filthy Fifties” is wrong. Surviving? Hell, we’re all trying to survive. Honestly, saying I’m trying to “survive” my fifties is like a Little League Baseball player going up to the plate with the intention of not to striking out, instead of trying to knock it out of the park
In a speech to his men of the 3rd US Army, General George Patton once said (and I”m paraphrasing due to his colorful language and this being a family blog):
“…I don’t want to receive any messages saying we’re holding our position. We’re not holding a G$#*@*#! thing. We’re advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding anything but the enemy’s B@!!$. We’re going to hold him by his B@!!$ and we’re going to kick him in the Ass! We’re going to kick the living $#!t out of him all the time. Our plan of operation is to advance and keep on advancing…”
That’s exactly what I’m talking about. From now on, we’re not just”Surviving the Filthy Fifties” any more. We’re Attacking them. We’re going grab these years by the B@!!$ and we going to kick them in the ass. We’re going to set goals and keep advancing all the time, just like the 3rd Army, who by the way, engaged and destroyed more enemy units than any other US division in the Second World War. (Just a little fun fact there). We are going to Attack the Filthy Fifties and make them the best years of our lives, that is of course until we turn 60, Then We’re going to make those Awesome as well. I’m not sure how or what I’ll call the blog then, but I still have eight years to figure that out.