Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Rabid Outdoorsman Contemplates 40

Sailing in Hawaii
I turn 40 in a few days and though the thought isn’t quite as frightening, as I had imagined when I was a 20 something, it is still a major life milestone that fills my mind with contemplation.  I suppose, I should be grateful I have managed to live this long, considering the recklessness of my youth and some of the close calls encountered through the years that I somehow miraculously managed to avoid. At times, death has been close by my side and I am reflective of the time a sudden bolder erratic shifted at the wrong moment, a violent car crash occurred and the time when I shook the hand of a healthy man, who died the next day while ice climbing on Mt. Washington. Those events serve as reminders of how fragile life can be and that we must endeavor to live each day to its fullest. Reflecting over the past 40 years,  I feel I have lived a life worth living and in the end, that is all a man can ask for.

The Rabid Outdoorsman Contemplates Exercise and Diet

In light of my new 40 status, I suppose I should start to look more seriously at my exercise routines, food intake and general health but then again isn’t that what old timers have to do? Isn’t this something that maybe I can hold off considering until I enter my twilight years, like 60 perhaps, when I turn REALLY old?

Top of Maine, Mt. Katahdin
I guess I should be “thankful”, I have this “Katahdin” thing coming up this winter where a group of us are planning to climb to the summit in full on mountaineering fashion (like I used to do in my youth). If this doesn’t motivate me to get back into a regular exercise routine, then little else is sure to work. Thoughts of dragging a 35 pound pack up a snow and ice covered mountain is not something to be enjoyed when you are out of breath and panting like a dog on a hot summer day. So, that means months of running stairs, visits to the gym and regular occurrences of pulled muscles, aching joints and general bodily discomfort . . . sigh . . . why can’t exercise be easy?!?!

Paris, France
Then there is this intake of food and cholesterol count BS that I really hate to even consider talking about. I like bacon, greasy eggs, corned beef hash, sour cream on baked potatoes, cheese, loaded pizza, fried stuff and thick full-bodied beer so give me a handful of pills for my high cholesterol and blood pressure and lets call it even. Ok, perhaps that was a little bit childish and a tad inconsiderate of my body, which has treated me so well over the years, despite my best efforts to destroy it. First there was the knee rebuilds, then the ACL replacement and finally the major back surgery but it would be unfair of me to blame these things on my body. These scars are the end products of a mind able to frequently push my body past its genetically average abilities. It has certainly been a life lived hard and to its fullest and I often wonder what my next major surgery will be . . . I hear hip replacements are becoming popular, among “Boomers”, perhaps I will add that to my list.

Uluru, Australia
I have never liked the word “diet” it is a word with little meaning to me. Anyone who “diets” is never ever going to see any real or lasting change in their waistline. If you really want to permanently lose weight, you must make a lifestyle change that includes either more exercise or putting a stop to swallowing so much stuff. If you can’t stop eating, it better be healthy stuff your cramming in your mouth and not junk. My intake of food is far from perfect but to my advantage, I rarely drink soda, eat fast food, snack in the evening or have any inclination toward consuming sweets. When you work to combine a modest food intake with an increasingly active life style you begin the process of finding your balance.

Summit Mt. Rainier
Personal balance should be the point where your bodies health and ability level matches the activities that you wish to achieve to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Want to climb mountains?  Need to carry a heavy pack? Plan to shoot a deer and drag it out of the woods this year? Do you enjoy paddling a canoe and doing a little fishing on the weekends? Plan to run a triathlon this Fall? All these activities require your body to be at differing levels of cardio and musculature conditioning. Most of us will never need to have bodies like professional athletes, movie stars or Olympians to be content pursuing our life passions. For me, I have always followed a rhythm of months of intense training leading up to a particular activity (My training for Aconcagua is a great example), followed by periods of moderate exercise intensity. The benefit of being an outdoorsman is that you are perpetually busy, there always seems to be deer stands to relocate, canoes to portage, mountains to climb, lakes to paddle, animals to be scouted, game cameras to check and wild lands to explore. I encourage everyone to find his or her balance, as your life and health will be better for it!

Mt. Hood
The Rabid Outdoorsman Continues to Contemplate
On July 19th I will be posting a list of original “Your forty if . . .” statements that was inspired by Jeff Foxworthy’s famous “You might be a Redneck” stand-up routine. I hope the post will provide you all with a good laugh.

I am looking forward to the next 40 years and have already set my sights on 90. At this monumental occasion, I have decided to take up my life long dream of binge drinking, eating only bacon and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Young people are certain to look at me and say, “Wow, that guy is like 90, eats and drinks like that and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day! Maybe those things aren’t as bad for you as reported!”. That should teach those young whippersnappers with their fancy Playstation 10s, cranially implanted iPods and jet packs to respect their elders!


  1. No doubt you will live to be 100 and still be climbing mountains, sailing ships, and all the other activities you enjoy. Maybe a little slower but with your spirit, you'll never stop.

    Yeah 40


  2. Happy 40th bud! May there be many more!!

  3. I turned 40 this past December and kept telling myself..."if I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taking better care of my body" haha.

    I can't wait to read the "your forty if" post!

  4. Bert, Trey and LB,

    Thanks for the birthday well wishes. This past 40 years has been a wild ride and I look forward the next 40!

  5. Holy cow! You. Are. Ancient!

  6. Thanks Rangerman, I can always count on you to deliver a swift kick to the wedding tackle. :)


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