I had my annual physical and all was well.
Except that my blood pressure was a little high.
And my blood sugar was borderline.
Oh, yes, I had gained 10 pounds, which the doctor wants me to lose.
No problem. I kind of expected those results.
But then she lowered the boom and said she wanted me to increase my daily workouts to 60 minutes from 30.
I just turned 53, did my second mud run in August and work out regularly four to five days a week.
Not bad for a middle-aged guy with a sedentary job.
But her directive to work out more frosted my rage cake.
C’mon! You want me fit and healthy even if it kills me!
I have no delusions that I am going to grace the cover of “Men’s Health” magazine anytime soon and that’s OK.
For my age and lifestyle, I have worked hard at beating back — with some success — the inevitable physical effects that come with reaching your 50s.
But the doctor’s order underscored a peculiar balance you start to confront at a particular age: Do you sacrifice certain things now to prolong your life later?
For instance, do I extend my workouts by 30 minutes, cutting into time I might be doing other things, like spending time with my wife, so that I can live into my 80s, when my quality of life would undoubtedly be less?
It feels like a shoddy tradeoff.
As it is, I do not smoke, I drink in moderation, have stopped taking sugar in my coffee and have given up on my Frisbee-sized weekly cookies from my favorite diner.
I also spurn fast food, try to eat a healthy serving of fruits and vegetables and “clean” proteins like chicken and fish.
And if that is all not enough, the doctor wants me to exercise more? What a killjoy!
I understand the importance of staving off diabetes and heart disease to have a better quality of life. I get it. But I want to enjoy my food and drink now, not 30 years from now when it will be puréed baby food.
The struggle to behave and eat right is difficult given the stresses of daily life and the bonanza of temptations out there.
I do like my dark chocolate, coffee, wine, vodka and tonics, margaritas and indulgent dessert once in a while.
But if comes to moderation vs. deprivation, I will almost always go with the former.
At some point, you just have to pick your spots and assign a value to the things that you enjoy that may not be good for you and the things that are good for you that you may not enjoy.
As my old man used to tell me:
“OK, Chris, now remember about clean living: No booze, no smoking and no carousing with loose women. It’s clean but is it living?!”