When I was a preteen and into comic books, I would always read with adolescent interest the advertisements that promised to make me into a guy with the highly defined muscles of a champion body-builder. The ads were cartoons showing a skinny guy talking with a girl on the beach. The next frame showed a big, muscle-bound guy coming up to the girl and guy and kicking sand into the face of the skinny guy and walking away with the girl arm in arm. The advertisement then depicted the skinny guy purchasing weight-lifting equipment and soon looking like that guy who took away his gal when he was still skinny. I loved to fantasize over the before and after pictures and place me into that scene looking like that new broad-shouldered stud. But alas, I never sent away for the weight equipment, and it shouldn't be a surprise that my body has never looked like a present day Adonis.
Now that I am much older, what is important to me physically is a little different. I have come to terms with the reality that I'm never going to look like a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Hulk. And I am okay with that realization. At sixty, I want to live a healthy and longer life rather than merely being a beef-cake looking professor.
I workout regularly on my stationary bike and do some crunches to improve my abs. I also really watch what I eat to avoid health-related problems. In addition, I take an ever expanding number of nutritional supplements. I have taken fish oil, vitamin E, multi-purpose vitamin and mineral supplements for years. At my age, I am also concerned with the health of my prostate and therefore ingest loads of saw palmetto. Glucosamine/chondroitin was added to my pill regime when my joints angrily announced the advent of arthritis. I also pop an aspirin daily to thin my blood a bit. Lutein is the most recent addition designed to guard my eyesight.
Once during an annual physical, I asked my doctor whether my dietary supplements were really effective. He shook his head and shrugged his shoulders indicating that he didn't really know for sure. Then he smiled and added, "Well, at least you have very expensive urine."
At my last annual checkup, my doctor reviewed my panacea of pills. He then inquired about whether I drank green tea. My eager ears perked up. Was there something additional that I could take to assist me in the battle to stay healthy and alive for a while longer? He gave me a quick synopsis of the research and suggested that this could be added to my daily bag of tricks to stave off the Grim Reaper.
I went immediately to the grocery store to stock up on green tea. If you aren't into green tea like I wasn't, you can't imagine the variety of green teas out there to help you stay healthy. Mango, lemon, mint, peach, and jasmine flavored green teas were just some of the choices. There I stood perplexed over which I select to add more anti-oxidants to my aging body. I finally chose a variety box filled with a half dozen flavors along with just plain green tea. Well, I have been drinking green tea for a couple months now without any noticeable change in the way I feel. I can't tell whether or not I have topped off my system with a sufficient enough amount of anti-oxidants to make me live forever.
The other day while shaving, I looked at myself and realized again that I was getting older. Shocked? Well, not really. I knew that I am getting older, but the bags under my eyes stood out like never before. Above my eyes was my white hair and below my eyes was the white shaving cream foaming on my face. The white of my hair and the shaving cream created a halo effect that accentuated the dark bags under my eyes.
As I stared into the mirror that has monitored my pilgrimage to old age, I thought that I hadn't aged as gracefully as I had wished. Having finished shaving, I began the long process of downing the handful of healing pills, capsules, tablets, and gel caps. I mused to myself, "I wonder what I would have looked like without all these pills." There for a moment, I wished that I could have had one of those before and after pictures-one having taken the supplements and the other not. Boy, I bet I would have looked like some gnarled old goat.