I am at the point in my life where men my age start to experience the dreaded ‘mid-life crisis.’ While I have not run out and purchased a red sports car, I have noticed that what I value has changed.
The two material possessions I have been most excited about recently were a pair of Red Wing boots and a pair of selvedge blue jeans. Maybe not as cool as a Corvette, but better in my opinion.
What do these boots and jeans have in common – other than going great together? I chose both of these items because I knew they would get better with age and wear.
Did they cost more money initially than most of their competitors? Did they require a longer and less comfortable ‘breaking in’ period? Do they require more involved and time consuming care and maintenance? The answer to all of those questions is yes, and it is worth every penny and hour spent.
It is worth it because in the long run they will last longer, be of higher quality, and actually get BETTER with each year that passes.
I think we can apply the same concepts to our life and health. One of my pet peeves is listening to folks my age and older resigned to the fact that they are getting old and that their health and physical performance are – and will continue to – decline. One does not have to look too far to find evidence showing that this is ABSOLUTELY not inevitable.
Celebrities such as Laird Hamilton and his wife Gabby Reece are perfect examples of what is possible with the correct approach to life. I compete in Masters (old timers) weightlifting internationally, and there is no shortage of men and women who leave you inspired and in awe.
So, how do you do it? How do you age like a fine wine in such a way that you can’t wait to see what the product of the next year will be? Simply, treat yourself like a pair of Red Wing boots!
First, you must start out with great materials. With boots, that is simple – you just pay for the good stuff. For many people and their health and physical body, this can be a bit more of a challenge initially. Perhaps years of trauma, stress, bad habits and good old wear and tear have left you feeling broken down. That’s ok, things just need to be cleaned up a little.
Depending on how hard the past has been on you, a variable period of REALLY fixing your diet and lifestyle, smart exercise and balancing your structure and function is required.
In my Neurospinal Optimization chiropractic office I refer to this as Cleaning your Windshield. The structure and function of the spine and nervous system are abnormal enough that it is like driving a car with caked, muddy windshield – causing you to constantly bump into things and
create more damage. Before get to move you forward (aging like a fine wine), we must clean the windshield.
In my experience, the best way for most people to do this is under the supervision of a professional, whether it be a chiropractor, physical trainer, naturopath, nutritionist, psychotherapist, or a combination of several.
The next step is care and maintenance. Once the windshield is clean and the major damage is fixed, we can start moving forward, but the car must still be cared for and we need to make sure the mud on the windshield doesn’t cake up again. Cleaning my boots on a regular basis, rubbing them with hydrating cream and applying leather protector are essential. Would I do that with a cheap pair I was planning on replacing next season? Of course not. I want to pass these boots on to one of my sons, so I do the work!
At Nexus, most of our patients continue to see us periodically after their windshield is cleaned for this reason. They are less dependent on care at this point, but choose it stay on the right track an move smoothly down the road.
The final phase goes hand in hand with care and maintenance. That is Refinement and Optimization. In life we call this wisdom. Because the windshield is clear and the vehicle is well taken care of, we are now free to explore all of the amazing places in life. Even though we may not be able to run around expending energy non-stop like when we were 19 years old, we are actually getting healthier because we are more aware of what we need and wiser in all of our choices.
My boots are getting better over time because each wear is molding them to my feet and movements. Because they are of high quality material and I put the time and sweat into their care they are free to become wiser with wear and tear.
The most fulfilling part of my job is working with people on THIS path – and it doesn’t matter the actual age. I see eighty year olds getting more out of their life and health than ever and I see the same thing with some 20 year olds. It is never too early, and it is never too late to start aging like a fine wine.