Where’s Loren ????

I was shocked when I looked at my web site recently and saw how long it had been since I had posted an entry, though I knew it had been awhile since a few long-time readers emailed me asking if I was okay.  Physically, I’m probably in better shape than I have been for years. With all the rain we’ve been having in the Pacific Northwest this year, we’ve been going to the Y five days a week, and I even started back lifting weights two to three times a week.

Unfortunately, that same rain has made it difficult to get out birding for the last three months. There’s been so much rain that it’s been difficult to plan trips. When Leslie was working I didn’t have any restrictions and could just go birding when the weather allowed. Now that Leslie has started teaching Tai Chi classes on M/W/F we don’t go out on those days even if it is sunny. 

To make matters worse, there doesn’t seem to be as many birds around as there has been in past years.  They seem to have come back later this year, and I certainly haven’t seen as many as I have in past years while walking the beach along Ruston Way.

Playing mental games and meditating has also become a daily part of my routine.  Playing Mind Pal, Soduko, and Mendi takes at least an hour out of my day.  Meditating takes another half hour or so. 

At 82 I am focusing more on my physical and mental health more than I’ve ever done before.  Unfortunately, despite lifting weights more than I’ve done since my college weight-lifting class, I still struggle to do things I used to be able to do quite easily. Other than short-term memory I’m not sure to what extent I’ve lost my ability to think clearly and incisively, but I do know I can’t sit down and finish a novel in a single reading like I could do in college. Everything says that declines in both of these areas are inevitable as we age, but I believe/hope that we are able to at least slow down the decline.  

 There’s nothing exciting about performing Tai Chi for a half an hour three days a week, though I’m convinced it helps to strengthen my core and helps me maintain a better sense of balance.  When done properly, it even helps to clear your mind for 30 minutes ( a remarkable and necessary achievement in this world of instant communication).

I do enjoy doing Tai Chi, but the same can’t be said for lifting weights. For me, lifting weights is the equivalent to taking a disgusting medicine that you only take because you know it will help you to get well. During Covid we didn’t go to the gym, and I noticed a remarkable loss of strength when we recently went back to weight lifting. I only do it because it allows me to do things that I do want to enjoy, things that I enjoy doing.

Unfortunately, for me, neither of these activities seem to lend themselves to blogging. Yes, I know that the web is full of people talking abut weight lifting and even more extolling the benefits of Tai Chi, but for me they are just things I do, things I take for granted, not things that I want to write about. 

There has been an even more important reasons I haven’t been posting lately, but it’s been so long since I’ve sat down and written that 581 words seems long enough for a single entry. Hopefully I will be back shortly with the rest of the reasons I have been remiss in my blogging obligations.

6 thoughts on “Where’s Loren ????”

  1. Glad to see your post! Glad you are doing so many healthy things. I need to start doing this stuff too as I am not as steady on my feet at 70 as I was a few years back. I blame it on balance issues but I’m sure it also involves muscles losing their oomph. Tai Chi is supposed to be great for balance so I may try that.

    I’m a lazy birder so don’t go anywhere to look for birds in the winter but we feed them. Have had the usual batch of House sparrows, Northern Cardinals, occasional Nuthatches and Titmice, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, and Juncos. Now in a surprise visit we had a Wren the other day. I think a House Wren as that’s what we have had in the past but up on Cape Cod we get Carolina Wrens and they both look pretty much the same. I can only tell the difference if they sing!

    Hopefully once the weather improves you’ll be able to get out and see some birds!

    1. I envy you your East Coast birds, Mimi. I probably need to spend a year than so when I come back our birds would all look new again. I actually started birding by hanging up bird feeders in my vegetable garden. Plus I always grew enough extra that I could share it with the birds.

  2. Good (and relieving) to hear this, Loren. When I realized it had been a while since I heard from you, I would’ve bet it had been maybe 6-8 weeks, so I was shocked, though I shouldn’t have been given how quickly time zips at this age, that it was actually since late August!

    Though I’m a decade behind you, I’m right there with exercising not so much to prolong life as to put more life into my current days, however long they last. One thing that has helped my keep weight room drudgery to a minimum since the pandemic hit was to adopt a regimen of outdoor strength work at one of those little fitness stations park systems set up. Nice brisk walk from my house, lets me do couple different kinds of pull-ups, pushups, dips, some balance work—that pretty much covers what any body requires for basic maintenance. And the surroundings are infinitely more copacetic! Might be more problematic in the rainy northwest than it is here in NC, but you’re used to that out there, right? (!) In any case, I can usually manage to find a window even in foul weather.

    And boy, do I hear ya on reduced stamina for reading. I read a good part of any given day, but most always in chunks, lots of flipping from this to that. Sometimes I convince myself I can manage a whole novel in a day or two in prep for a blog post, then the day or two lapses, I’m only 40-50 pages in, and I remember: Right, I’m not a 28-year-old grad student anymore!

    Anyway, glad you’re well, and hey: just call it “writer’s block.” Sounds artistically tortured and romantic!

    1. I would never try to do pushups or pull-ups in public, Andrew. At least with weight machines I can hide how much weight I am using for my 30 reps.

      I did see several people using those training stations on yesterday’s walk at Lake Ralphene/ Spring Lake, but I’ve never really tried them.

  3. Good to hear from you, Loren! And bravo on the exercising, meditation, and mind games. I’m also a decade younger but trying to be much more intentional about keeping in shape, working on balance, because I’ve found these things decline otherwise. I play the piano and study languages, do the mini crossword, and read a great deal…will it help? I hope so.

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