Physical decay has it’s way of sneaking up on us as we age. I remember as a child, I could feast on a host of treats such as ding dongs and twinkies and chocolate bars and hot dogs with impunity and never ever gain an ounce. Problem was back then that I couldn’t gain an ounce. My brothers and friends and I were so active that we burned off two meals before we sat down with the family for just the one. I was skinny, too skinny to play football which is why, when I joined the 5/6 grade team in grammar school, I did not play much. My entire 5th grade year I played in one play at the very end of the season. In my 6th grade year I was allowed to play on the kicking and receiving teams which amounted to about 4 plays a game. Only getting the rare opportunity to play in the games is tough on the psyche of young boys and leads to questioning of one’s own worth. When I did not come out to play in 7th grade the coaches wondered why? Look in the mirror coaches the answer is written on your faces…for you winning games was more important than developing human beings.
After my 39th birthday, my lithe physique began to change….gradually, almost imperceptibly, until one day when I happened to step on a scale and found my self to be over 200 pounds. I topped off at 210 pounds or so in my mid to upper 40s. I saw a picture of me and my grandson in a pool and I thought…what the hell happened. I was developing moobs.
This revelation came at a time in my life when things were going a little bit crazy. My dad had just died of cancer and my wife decided she was no longer happy being married so divorced me and moved out of our home leaving me and my kids behind. I kept the kids with me because there was no way I was ever going to allow anyone to take my family from me….probably the best decision I have ever made in a life of many suspect decisions.
Fast forward to today and I find myself to be 50 and in much better shape. I began lifting weights and returned to cycling just after that tumultuous year. The result is I am down to 192 lbs with a lower fat content than my mid 40s and better muscle definition than at anytime in my life. In some respects, I am in better cardiovascular shape now than I had been in the past 20 years as evidenced by the 107 mile bike ride I underwent last weekend. I am of the opinion that my moobs have turned into hard pectoral muscles but my son, a devotee in the cult of crossfit , still tells me I have a long way to go.
All these thoughts bubbled up today as I went to the “fitness center” at my hotel in Zug, Switzerland. Not much of a fitness center really…it contained a nautilus type machine and a few dumbbells in a very small room but still a place to exercise my aging muscles. It’s a good way to start my day, a day in which I am now heading out to take the train to Lucerne where I will take in the sites of this quaint little city in Switzerland. The last time I visited Lucerne was about 5 years ago during Fauschnaut Day, also known as Fat Tuesday or Carnival. I had just come off the plane with little sleep and was dragged out by coworkers to to enjoy the evenings festivities which included a great brat, copious amounts of alcohol and a never ending parade of people in very large paper mache heads. It was definitely a party of the bizarre! Today I will finally get the chance to actually see the city.