Aging humbles us all.
The days go by and before you know it the years are gone and you discover that you are old. You realize that many things you wanted did not and will not happen. And as each new day goes by you know that you have less and less to gain and more and more that has been lost. You realize that you have less days to live and therefore you look back more at the ones you have lived. Self-reflection is a constant.
The process is not necessarily a negative thing. The world can become slower and perhaps calmer. You look inward more and you find out more about yourself. Some find more peace. Some find less. Family becomes more and more important. Past events become romanticized and made more important. Others become less important. Your views may become less dimensional and therefore have more clarity.
But slowly and surely a detoriation of your body and mind occurs until you become a different person. You may lose your sense of worth and the role in life you felt was yours. And in the worst case you may become eventually dependent on others. If you maintain your mental alertness you hope you can maintain mastery of your own self and avoid the feelings of helplessness as the slide toward the inevitable continues.
A good death, if there is one, is not a slow one, though one could correctly argue that we are all slowly dying. A good death is a fast one that avoids any feelings of helplessness, lack of control and fear. And a good death is one when you are ready both mentally and spiritually. Especially spiritually.
By: Lewis Medlock on July 25, 2013 in Life
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LALANNE. LEWIS LALANNE.
I decided to shake up my workout routine a couple of weeks ago.
I've been in a rut and a deep one, at least for me. I came down with a sinus infection awhile back and it took two rounds of antibiotics and about two months to get rid of it. During that time I missed several workouts and wanted to miss more. Then I did something to my right bicep and had nagging pain in that arm for weeks. All of the above caused me to find reasons not to go and workout. They were good reasons but still I found myself missing more workouts than I ever have. Not many mind you but much more than normal.
For many years I've done my workouts after work. Occasionally I would do them on a weekend morning and I would always notice that I felt stronger in the morning workouts both cardio and weights. So two weeks ago I switched things up. I now get up at 5:30am and I'm doing cardio by 6am. I'm done with everything by 7am. The gym is only 3/4 miles away so I'm back at my house by 7:15 and after a shower, shave and a light breakfast I'm on the road by 8am and in my office by 8:45.
I think this change is great. The workout gets my metabolism going and I feel good all day. Of course not having a sinus infection or a nagging injury helps too. It's also nice not having a crowded gym. I have also noticed that nearly everyone there at that time of day is my age or close to it. I guess the youngsters can't handle those early hours even though it's common for many of the sports teams at my school to be practicing or working out at those hours. Best of all: I'm not dreading the evening workout after a hard day at work.
The only downside is that I know I have to get in bed by 10pm the nights before my workouts. But I should have been doing that already. Mrs. Medlock likes it too. I'm not in her way in the bathroom or at breakfast.
I love it when a plan works.
By: Lewis Medlock on October 5, 2011 in Life
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ON THE GATE
As I write this I'm ensconced on the island of Hilton Head.
One doesn't have to be a member of the upper crust to live here but it sure does help. To say there is some rich people here is a bit of an understatement. But they tend to isolate themselves from the masses by living in gated communities and that allows the tourists like the Medlocks to visit and boost the local economy. I have no problems with any of the above so here I am. I am thinking this is my fifth or sixth time so it's fair to say that I like it here.
Today is a special day as I'm turning 63 years old. Funny but I don't feel that old. I'm thinking that 63 is the new 53. Just go with me on this...
So I'm resting and relaxing and generally just chilling if it's possible to do in 96 degree heat. I have a JL Burke and a Lee Child so i am prepared to catch up some on my reading. The tough part of my year begins next week when I start meeting with all the teams, 19 meetings with about 400 athletes and explaining some basic what not to dos. Thus my timing is good.
I've only been here about 24 hours but I am already realizing how much I needed this vacation. Thoughts of enjoying a retirement like this have creeped into my subconscious but I try to sweep those away because the job I have is still too good at this point. So for the time being it's R & R and not retirement. All in all, that ain't bad. So I'm off to my birthday dinner of a little pasta and vino and maybe even a little tiramisu. And so it goes.
By: Lewis Medlock on August 7, 2011 in Life
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I have come to the conclusion that the death of a parent is harder to deal with when you are older rather than when you are younger.
I lost my mother when I was 32. My father died when I was 62. I thought that the thirty years difference in age would make it somehow easier and I was right. But in the wrong direction. Apparently being younger can help you deal with some things better than when you're older. Frankly, that was a revelation to me.
Last Sunday was the first Father's Day since my father died. Over the years I had gotten into the habit of giving him a card on Father's Day because as corny as it sounds the cards could say to him what I felt better than I could say them myself. I found out when he died that he had saved all of those cards over the years. That means something to me.
I didn't visit his grave on Father's Day as I had been there on Memorial Day and delivered a U.S. flag to commemorate his military service. I did think of him a great deal on Father's Day. I didn't reminscence much. It was more just missing him and wishing I still had him to rely on.
To this day I see him as the strongest figure in my life. Definitely as an anchor for me. And it wasn't so much a spoken thing as it was something that I just knew was there. That's the part I miss the most about him. He had been through so much in his life that his life lessons seemed to flow to me without him speaking them.
It's silly I know but sometimes thoughts about my father also take me to thoughts about the ending scene in No Country for Old Men. In that scene, Tommy Lee Jones has a monologue with his wife about his dreams the previous night. He talks about a dream in which his father goes ahead of him in the darkness carrying a torch and making a fire in the middle of the cold and the blackness, ultimately saying "and I knew that whenever I got there he'd be there".
I understand that dream completely.
By: Lewis Medlock on June 24, 2011 in Life
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THE END OF MEN?
First I read this. And then I read this.
Don't even go the websites listed in the last one. Scary.
I'm, uh, speechless.
By: Lewis Medlock on March 4, 2011 in Life
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While scanning the local newspaper earlier this week I happened on the obit of my best friend in grade school. Eddie was 63 years old, lived out of state and according to his obit died of brain cancer. I hadn't seen him in at least ten years and that was at our last class reunion. Our 45th graduation anniversary is this year.
Reading from his obituary, Eddie became a hospital chaplain and apparently grew into a fine family man and giving person. I would not have expected that but at the same time I can see how he would be good at it. I'm very sorry for his family and especially his children.
Reading his obit made me think about my own death. I'm more aware than ever of my mortality. I'm already older than my mother was when she died. But my father and his sister lived into their eighties and nineties respectively so apparently there's some good genes in my system.
Nevertheless I'm clearly on the downward slide. I think about that sometimes. I thought about it last when my wife and I redid our wills a few months ago.
I really have no fear of death simply because it's inevitable. But I do fear the process. I don't want to linger and be kept alive when there is no quality of life. Both my mother and father avoided that and I hope I can too. I have made sure my wife knows how I feel about that and I have taken the steps legally.
I would like to think that I can face the process with bravery and dignity but I don't know that will happen. I just want to go quietly and quickly but that obviously isn't up to me.
I trust whatever the Big Guy decides should happen. He's done pretty well by me so far.
By: Lewis Medlock on February 18, 2011 in Life
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THE BIG 40
Exactly forty years ago today I woke up early, got dressed and my father drove me to Knoxville.
It was a quiet trip because it was the first step on my way to Fort Knox, Kentucky to begin Army basic training. The Vietnam war was still going on at that time and as a draftee I knew there was a good chance that I would end up there. I remember television news back then saying a draftee had a 75% chance of going to Vietnam as an infantryman. Dad and I didn't have much to say because we both knew what was at stake. Mom had already done her crying over Christmas when the draft notice arrived in the mail with the familiar salutation of "Greetings".
At 22, I was old for a draftee but not old enough to make the smarter decision of joining another service. A draftee only served two years. Joining another service meant a four year commitment. I thought that four years was an eternity. You think things like that when you're only 22. So I rolled the dice over 2 years.
The local draft board in Knoxville swore a crowd of us in and gave us our first meal on Uncle Sam's tab. I remember it being chopped beef that tasted a lot like cardboard, some dry lettuce with thousand island dressing and an unfamiliar vegetable. Then we began the military tradition of waiting for a bus which finally showed up late evening. I can distinctly remember the drive to Kentucky. It was dark and cold and was spitting snow.
We arrived around midnight and was immediately set upon by a number of drill sergeants whose primary function was to harass and intimidate. We had joined up with another 200 or so recruits who had been bussed in from New Jersey. Standing out in the street they had us empty our pockets and I remember there were a lot of big knives taken from the Jersey boys.
I didn't realize it until later but my age made basic training somewhat easier for me. Most of the others were in the 18/19 year old range and were totally intimidated. I was lucky enough to have more age and could see what the DIs were trying to do. At the end of basic a DI even told me they hated to get guys my age for that reason. For that reason I don't recall basic training being that tough mentally but it was tough physically. We went everywhere on our feet even to the rifle ranges which could be miles away. And bivouac was tough--a forced march that culminated in climbing Fort Knox's hills that the DIs called Misery and Agony. I was one of the few who didn't collapse on one of those hills. For that I was rewarded with another recruit having to carry my canteen and pack into the campsite.
After eight weeks of basic training I was in the best physical shape of my life only to get even better when I completed five forced marches in AIT at Fort Bliss, Texas. The last of those marches was a 9 miler in the desert in combat boots. I did it in 81 minutes and finished in the top five in the company and I got the rest of the day off for it. A big deal back then. Ultimately I ended up in an Air Defense battalion and spent 17 months overseas but not in Vietnam. I was blessed.
With the benefit of hindsight I now know those eight weeks and the entire two years shaped me into a man and was life changing.
I didn't much care back then. Forty years later I care a lot.
By: Lewis Medlock on February 1, 2011 in Life
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World's Scariest Bridges.
Full disclosure. I'm about bridges as Kramer was about clowns. Scared of them.
I can remember being scared of bridges as a young boy. There were two metal bridges that my Dad routinely drove me across as he ran errands. One was small and the other large. The larger one totally intimidated me. I can remember that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach as we crossed it to this day. I have a little bit of that feeling whenever I fly over the ocean but it's nothing like I feel crossing a bridge.
A few years ago my bud and I rode our road bikes the length of the Outer Banks. There's a bridge near Manteo that we had to cross. It wasn't that high a bridge but it was over the ocean and it was very long, maybe a mile or two. And it was windy. Very windy. I basically didn't look down and I didn't look to either side. I tried to block out my peripheral vision. I did it but it wasn't easy. I don't want to do it again. Even in a car.
I really don't understand where phobias originate. Being afraid of clowns sounds silly to me. But bridges are another story. Trust me.
By: Lewis Medlock on September 30, 2010 in Life
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STUPIDITY VS ABILITY
During a lunch conversation today several of us were teasing a lady at the table about how she intimidates certain men that she works with. After some good-natured banner back and forth, she finally stated that she "just can't tolerate stupidity and I let them know that".
That rang a bell with me. Unlike her I can tolerate stupidity. Sometimes I even expect it. My problem is that I just can't tolerate laziness or lack of effort.
I have learned over the years that some people simply do not have the ability to do certain things. I have also learned that some people are just too lazy to do things. That is a big difference to me. And while I am willing to tolerate or even help people who don't know how or can't do things, I have almost no tolerance of those who can but won't.
I work with a large enough group of coaches that I deal with both of those type situations daily. It takes all the patience I have to deal with the sloths. I actually wish I had more patience for them but I was raised in a working class family and that is all I know.
Nearly three years ago I remember siting in the group interview I had for my current job. I remember telling the interviewers that there was one thing for sure they could count on getting from me and that was no one would outwork me. One VP asked how I could be sure of that. My answer was because I don't know any other way. It is as much a part of me as my southern accent.
There is also an interesting phenomena that I have noticed with the sloths. They really don't want to improve. That's not the case with the stupids. Many do want to improve. They just need help and direction. They will get it from me without asking. Unless they are lazy too.
By: Lewis Medlock on September 23, 2010 in Life
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HILTON HEAD R & R
The Medlocks are back in town after a few days of rest and relaxation at Hilton Head Island.
It has been a long time since I needed the four days of R and R that I got. Too much work and too much stress had worn me to a frazzle. I had even begun losing weight, which is not normally the problem for me. And even I didn't think I looked good staring in the mirror at least given what I have to work with.
So four days later I'm back with my nose to the grindstone but I've had some recharging done to the batteries. Most of that was just reading and walking on the beach but there was some fine dining as well in Savannah and HHI. The Big Guy did his part too. I got lit up by the SC Highway Patrol on I26 between Columbia and HHI. The trooper was driving an unmarked Malibu with normal plates and wheels and he had me nailed easily 10 mph over the speed limit. But he was very nice and only gave me a warning ticket. SCHP is alright by me.
I'm going to try and get back in the swing of posting again. I've been away a little too long and I have found that I missed it. I have discovered that it is actually a therapy of sorts. And I can certainly use a little more of that.
By: Lewis Medlock on September 20, 2010 in Life
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