Fitness for the Middle Aged

IMG_4720Tonight the gym was more crowded than usual, which is saying something, because it’s usually so filled to capacity that I wonder that the fire marshall doesn’t shut it down for public safety concerns.

Apparently the bulk of the New Year’s Resolutioners haven’t given up and dropped back into their old routines yet. While I support anyone’s desire to take control of their health and well-being, I’m still selfish and narcissistic enough to wish they’d just do it somewhere else.

I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more angry I get about things that I know don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Minutiae that in the moment make my blood boil, teeth grind together, and the veins in my neck to throb with unconsummated rage.

Aside from overcrowding, my biggest gym pet peeve is people on cell phones. I’ve had to physically restrain myself from pushing someone down a flight of stairs who is staring into their phone and suddenly stops in the stairway in front of me. I see people, mostly younger than me, who sit on machines that I never see them use, staring into screens, and feel my hands clench into fists.

Since I’m a weirdo who listens to audio-books while working out, I almost never look at my own phone. So tonight, when, between sets of bicep curls, I took out my phone to check the time, I was completely surprised when a fellow middle-aged crank yelled at me to get off my phone or get off the machine. I put my phone away immediately, and sped through my final set, wondering to myself in horror, Is this who I’m becoming?

In addition to my burgeoning anger management issues, there are other disheartening aspects to working out in middle age. In my forties I have to work out a lot harder than I did in my twenties with diminished results. The body of forty-something me is just not the body of twenty or thirty-something me. It is hairier and thicker. In my mind I still have the body of a twink, and it’s always a shock when I see myself reflected in the locker room mirrors and see some muscle daddy staring back at me.

As a young guy, I always marveled at the old men in the locker room and how nonchalant they were about nudity. The dangling scrotums of those manatees always engendered in me a strange mixture of embarrassment and dread. As I’ve gotten older, I understand more where they are coming from. When you’ve seen it all before, you just harbor fewer hangups about letting it all hang out. Who cares?

In other ways, I’m much more relaxed about working out than I used to be. Fitness is still an important part of my life, but I’m not going to get bent out of shape if I miss a day now and then. I’m less attached to the idea of abs that I’ll likely never see again, and happy just to feel healthy. I may have to pop Ibuprofen like Pez in order to move my back without doubling over in pain, but at least I’ve got a nice rack.

 

 

 

 

Online Dating for the Middle Aged

IMG_8628On the way to work this morning, a bird took the initiative to evacuate the contents of its cloaca in a thick, white and brown splatter on the sleeve of my black hoodie. I tried not to think of this as a harbinger for the day to come, but it was impossible not to. For the second day in a row I’d been awakened two hours early by my upstairs neighbor’s alarm which she refuses to shut off after waking. I trudged to work in the typical gray Seattle drizzle, scowling at every passerby and mentally exploding their oversized heads  as I walked past.

I posted a picture of the bird poo on FaceBook and my friend Gitai cleverly commented, “Quit experiencing metaphors for your life!”

It was a great line, and I approve, but it wasn’t exactly accurate. My life, upstairs neighbor notwithstanding, is generally pretty good. I’m healthy, in decent shape, working on advancing my career, shopping for real estate. I feel like in my forties, my metaphorical shit is basically together.

Then I think of the one area of my life that has been, and continues to be, an absolute disaster. Namely, my love life. Most of the time even the thought of having to have a conversation about where to eat and how to divvy up an evening is exhausting and I thank the universe for my continued singledom. Then there are the weeks of rain, the endless evenings that stretch into one gray line of film stills. A man sitting on a couch alone. Eating teriyaki alone. Walking to a movie alone…and back alone. In these moments, I think, maybe a boyfriend wouldn’t be so terrible.

The problem is, I no longer have any idea where to find one. In my twenties, it seemed like I could make a boyfriend coalesce from the ether through sheer power of will. In my forties, I could maybe get a guy to look at me by punching him.

I’ve tried classy apps like Okay Cupid, and sleazy ones like Grindr, with much the same results. The only interest I arouse comes from men already coupled or throupled in polyamorous relationships of which I have no interest in partaking, or guys that I’m literally old enough to have fathered who message me with declarations of my apparent paternity.

What I want to know is, where is the online dating for the middle-aged?