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Aging: What’s so bad about it?

     “Twenty-three is old. It’s almost 25, which is like almost mid-20s.” ― Jessica Simpson

Am I old? Well, if 23 is old, I should be dead but I don’t think I am. So far so good. So what IS old? It’s a slippery concept. If you’re really young, like just learned to read, you’d probably agree with the United Nations which generally uses 60+ to refer to the “older” population. But if you’re 60, you’d probably agree with Bill Crosby who said “old is always fifteen years from now.” Researchers differentiate the “young-old,” roughly 65-75, from the “old-old,” all the others. However you define it, aging seems to cause many people a lot of stress and probably, premature aging. A change in perspective can reduce stress so let’s reframe this whole aging thing.
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Feeling Poorly? Time to belly up to your bacteria.

danicee.com

danicee.com

The past couple years I’ve been experiencing some symptoms that you don’t discuss in polite company. They have to do with my GI system and let’s just say I really increased the sales of Charmin. Those symptoms led me to read in areas I usually don’t and try alterations to my diet that I normally wouldn’t. Along the way I learned quite a bit about my little friends within. Don’t be disgusted, you have them too. They’re part of our second brain. And no, it’s not in the penis, it’s in our gut.  Continue reading…

Holy crap, is the world as bad as it seems?

www.students4bestevidence.net

www.students4bestevidence.net

The recent beheading on YouTube of U.S. journalist James Foley was so grotesquely horrifying I couldn’t begin to make sense of it. I immediately recalled the beheading of another U.S. journalist, Daniel Pearl, in 2002. Just thinking about these terrible deaths led me to conclude the world is going to hell in a hand basket as my grandmother used to say. There’s death and destruction, murder and mayhem everywhere. Whatever happened to the “good old days?” Is the world coming to an end or do I need to keep saving for retirement?

tudorhistory.org

tudorhistory.org                              Ann Boleyn before she lost her head

Maybe the good old days weren’t actually that great. We’re appalled by the beheading of James Foley but between 1076 and 1697, 159 people were beheaded in England alone. Two of those were wives of Henry VIII. At least today most people separate from a spouse by divorce rather than separating their spouse from their head. Continue reading…

Six Life Lessons

Peter Kramer / NBC

Peter Kramer / NBC

Al Roker turned 60. I know this because while slurping coffee and trying to pry my eyes open the other morning, I checked the Today show to make sure the world was still in existence. It was. And there was Al smiling and sharing his 6 lessons for 6 decades.

Being of a similar age and with a birthday on the horizon, I wondered what my lessons have been. Here’s what came to mind and what I need to keep mindful of: Continue reading…

“Nice” is not a dirty word

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I’ve become increasingly alarmed at how little nice behavior I see around me. Of course there are the news stories of national or global atrocities that show people being anything but nice to each other. I seriously doubt the suicide bomber at the cafe said excuse me before blowing everyone to teeny bits. But I’m actually thinking about my own little corner of the world where I see people with scowling faces and short fuses being demanding and downright obnoxious. People who don’t get off their cell phones in check out lines to acknowledge a fellow human being is helping them. Drivers who won’t let you merge or worse who drive with full on road rage. (People please, commuting does not have to be a competitive sport.) A general lack of niceness is everywhere or as writer Amy Alkon put it, I See Rude People.  Continue reading…

Sugar: A Love Affair

charlottesiems.com

charlottesiems.com

I love sugar. Oh yeah baby, show me a cupcake and my brain goes into “gotta have it” mode. And if one is good, well by golly, ten is better. I used to think I was just a weak willed chocolate loving sugar guzzler – which is true – but now I know I’m also an addict. Somehow it’s comforting to know it’s not just a moral failing.

Doubt you can be addicted to sugar? Well consider our brain. As a species we’re hardwired to avoid pain and seek what turns on the reward circuits which, from an evolutionary perspective, was good for our survival (like finding food or sex). Now consider a drug like cocaine. Snort a little coke and the reward center of the brain is hijacked by a big dump of the neurotransmitter dopamine. That’s the high. But overtime the dopamine receptors change and you need more and more of the drug to get less reward. That’s tolerance. If you stop using coke you get withdrawal. That’s addictionContinue reading…

Dog Days of Summer

 

sassydog23.blogspot.com

sassydog23.blogspot.com

It’s now the beginning of August and we’re in the Dog Days of summer. That’s what the Romans called the period from the first week of July to the second week of August. I know I feel like a dog because all I want to do is lay in the shade and pant and snarl at people who walk by. The west has been experiencing a very hot summer. Abnormally hot. Fires are burning in the forests and I’m pretty sure I’m going to spontaneously combust every time I step out of my air conditioned car.

My house, unfortunately, has no air conditioning so in order to keep it below 85 degrees all the curtains have to be closed making it as gloomy as a casket. Other than feeling hot and sweating profusely who could tell it was summer? I have a rigid ritual of temperature control these days. During the day not a hint of air or sun can be allowed in. At night there are fans in the windows greedily sucking in any teeny bit of cool air. I keep checking the thermostat to see if it’s dropped to a chilly 80 degrees. Why do I do that? It just annoys me and makes me wonder if I’ve entered the Fifth Circle of Hell.

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I don’t remember suffering with the heat as a child but then I can’t remember much of anything so who knows. I’m pretty sure I’m putting way too much energy into fighting this and I need to refocus on the positive. After all, me stomping around complaining about the heat isn’t going to change anything. Kids know something about summer that I seem to have forgotten in my sweaty, sullen state. Maybe we need to be more childlike. Here are a few antidotes to summer surliness: Continue reading…

National Friendship Day: Celebrate Fabulous Friends

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ~ Anais Nin

www.galtime.com

www.galtime.com

Rihanna has over 60 million friends. OMG, how does she have time to go out to lunch with all those people and still stay so thin? Oh wait, those aren’t real friends, those are Facebook “friends” which in general aren’t really friends at all but a collection of names. I see FB is now limiting the number of friends you can have to a measly 5,000. What’s a woman to do with that kind of deprivation? But to be honest that’s still too many to hang out with and in any case, research shows our brain is only capable of maintaining about 150 friends. Still too many to have cocktails with and not my definition of a true friend. Social media can save time when you want to quickly update multiple people on the minutia of your child’s toilet training or show off photos of your family, pets, or new hair. It lets you have a “connection” with the extended circle of people you might actually know. But it’s not the same as having a true friend.  Continue reading…

Attraction: Why Ladies Love Outlaws

A few weeks ago I heard about the “Sexy Felon” that had women swooning and modeling agents calling. Jeremy Meeks had already spent 9 years in prison when he was arrested during a gang raid and now faces more weapons and gang charges. His mug shot was posted along with others and overnight there were 2400 comments including this comment “He can kidnap me any day… Hold me against my will lol.” OMG. Are you kidding? What is the explanation for something so weird? Continue reading…