Near miss…

So today was the day I began to give notice to most to my clients – yet again.  More on that later…

Cyber-archeology…

I have 4 Facebook friends who are now dead, but still have active Facebook pages.  This haunts me, ongoing.  I check those pages periodically.  Not with the expectations that my friends will come back to life, but as a way of keeping their memories alive in my heart.  Maybe this is one of the more useful aspects of Facebook.

I read recently that with the increasing decline of new Facebook users, that by 2090 everyone on Facebook might actually be dead.  At that point, and when blogging has run its trendy course, all I have spat out through the years by way of social media will simply be a silicon fossil to be someday excavated by a cyber-archeologist.  This may or may not be my last essay. We’ll see.  If it is, it’s been a fun few years.

Through it all I have thought to share some ideals, and values as they relate to fitness and exercise, that they might be relevant to the lives of others.  Of course I have shared some non-fitness ideals as well. Perhaps years from now if the content I have written is excavated and studied, it may actually mean something to people who may be interested in what I have had to say.  I’m pretty sure the readers of today though, aren’t committing my shtick to memory.

 Leading, And Futility…

I’m basically I’m no longer comfortable with a leadership role in fitness and exercise.  Certainly not in the social media anyway.  This isn’t a joke.  I almost walked away from my business entirely today.  However, a friend and client convinced me to sleep on it for a year or two, and reminded me that social media is my fitness hobby, not my fitness livelihood.  We sat by my fire pit, and talked about the upsides and downsides of me walking away.  Once he got me to listen to my own words, I realized how fortunate I am to have the business, the lifestyle, and the clients I have.  The state of my industry though, has changed dramatically in the past decade, and has done very little to improve on itself.

Unrealistic expectations cultivated by social media, in my estimation, is a cancer attacking good fitness intentions everywhere.  What the general population wants from fitness leaders and resources is this; exercise that cures aging, prolongs youth, and fosters hotness.

News flash:  Youth is a synonym for history.  Aging is inevitable.  Hotness is little more than an interruption in getting more familiar with someone who we might love more deeply if we only choose to look more closely.  Clearly the majority of my social media audience and I are on different pages when it comes to these.  I’m just not willing to play the looking good game anymore.  Both in teaching and in writing, espousing exercise for the sake of hotness is something I’m no longer willing to participate in, even if I do practice it to a degree.

Almost...

Almost…

I have written and taught for years that we have a responsibility to age.  Though I believe we should attempt to do so with the best intentions, and under the best possible circumstances, we should proceed with caution, and respect the historic record of aging – for it is a requirement of living.

Gray hair. Wrinkles.  Sagging boobs.  Woodies gone south.  Skin that bruises ever easily.  Crackling bones.  Shifts in posture.  Loss of bone density.  Belly fat.  Memory lapses.  Hair loss.  Waning aesthetics.  Lethargy. Veins, and not the good ones.  All of these can be met, and addressed to a point with exercise, but none can be avoided.

Jhciacb; Part Ricky Williams, part Syd Barret…

I confided to my friend today that I have been approaching critical mass in my career path for a few years.  He, and I sat by my fire pit, and talked about whether or not I’m burned out or really willing to call it a career.  He asked me what I would do if I walked away from this.  I suggested a job at Home Depot, or an assembly line.  I have no debt so I don’t require much money.  When he was done chuckling, he just made sure I listened to my own words, and then made sure I listened to them again.  I did.  I walked away from our meeting realizing that I’m here, and in this for the long haul – but in a functional, and in person kind of way.

I will no longer attempt to use social media to steer the good ship, Fitness.  Fitness is in rough seas, and has a minimum of lifeboats. The passengers can’t make out the horizon, and the pilots can only describe a horizon that isn’t really there, and that is a horrible combination.

Yes, I am experiencing some degree of burnout, but I still love what I do.  I am now just going to increase the focus on my analog clients, and devote less time to promoting my values by way of social media.

As one client put it today when I called to tell him I was through,

“I depend on you.  Without you, Roy, there would be no exercise in my life, and I don’t trust any other trainer.”

I’ll take 28 of those, over a million Facebook likes who aren’t listening any time.  Be well…  rc

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Please check back at some point to see what happens when I hit the stop button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from The Stone Roses. Enjoy…

One giant leap for a girl…

Questions on the surface, feelings at the core…

I just spent 90 minutes or so sitting in my yard sharing a beer, and a conversation with a young woman I have known her since she was 15.  She’s now 28.  We are honest friends.  In our friendship we have discovered that I possess the experience of her parents, without the judgment.  She brings youthful ideas, and situations to the table that I have long forgotten.  We have been benefitting, mutually, from honest conversations about life, and relationships for a couple of years.

Today we met at her request to discuss some immediate changes in her life.  She will be leaving the state next week to fulfil a new relationship, and a new life in a different region of the country.

She is experiencing all the excitement any young woman might feel under the circumstances; a new region bringing new activities into her life.  A new job.  New friends.  New weather.  New culture, and customs.  And of course, a budding relationship with a new man.  This is a leap on many levels.  Her love, faith, and strength will all be tested in the coming months, and she knows this.

She is also experiencing all the apprehension anyone in the same circumstance might feel.  Of course this is what she really wanted to discuss.  What happens if it doesn’t work?  What are the professional ramifications within her career?  What might the consequences be with the family and friends she is leaving behind?  Might she be stranded there?  Will she have to tuck her tail between her legs and move back with mom and dad?  If this turns out not to work, will she ever find that one true love?

Her head is spinning.

Peel back the layers…

The larger questions I thought we should explore are what are the many things that might keep this new relationship from working out…?

As we sat by the fire pit I flashed back to a walk on the beach another friend and I enjoyed last year; she and I are both divorced.  As we got to the end our walk we stood below a contemporary beach condominium with a crowded upper patio.  A wedding was taking place.  As my friend and I looked up to see the bride and groom exchanging vows, I joked, “Should we warn them?”  I was only partially kidding.

As a culture, it is my opinion that’s an area where we fail, habitually.  Failing to be honest with our children about the potential downsides of life is simply the act of supporting, of reinforcing mistakes they may make in their future.  Rather than expose the complexities, complications, and potential downside of relationships, we watch episodes of Say Yes To The Dress, choose honeymoon destinations, and offer investment advice – as though our weddings, our honeymoons, and our investments have made us happy.

I suppose not warning our children about the downside of relationships is, at its very root, based on the idea that we don’t want our children to expect or experience the worst aspects of relationships.  However, does this mean would shouldn’t discuss these…?  I guess it’s just easier to offer fairytales, and our undying support should the fairytale not play out as expected.

An example I offered my friend is this:  We hear often that money and sex are the two biggest causes for relationships to break down.  Nobody ever says that having kids can also be a cause, or a root cause for divorce.  Who wants to say to their child, “Someday you may be divorced, and raising kids might be at the foundation of that divorce.”

I don’t know by percentage what causes more relationships to decay, money, or sex.  I think it’s fair to say though, since having children influences sex, money, time, sleep, stress, and so many other aspects of marriage, that raising children may lead to the decline of a marriage, and possible divorce.  Maybe we don’t want to be parental buzz kill, or maybe we just assume that our children won’t listen.  Not talking about difficult things is easy.

Love:  It's written in dice for a reason...

Love: It’s written in dice for a reason…

What advice I gave…

I suggested that her life is unique.  That she herself is a paint brush, but the brush whom she is can only paint within the singular day that she lives.  Painting the future, I suggested, is like trying to predict in which direction a vine will grow.

Love:  I suggest that a long kiss under a magnolia tree might swoon a girl into next week.  However, an affirmation of unity and strength after one partner has been diagnosed with cancer is the more mature version of the kiss under the tree.

Love evolves.  Love changes. Sometimes it grows stronger, and sometimes it falls apart.  There is no telling.  I suggested though, real love doesn’t germinate until it’s been watered by adversity.

On like-minded endeavors:  She was concerned that she might not fit in with his more rigorous outdoor activities.  I suggest she give them a fair try.  If after that time she felt she didn’t enjoy them, then it is her absolute responsibility to be honest about that.  I further suggested that he first took to those activities for himself, and if she finds they are not for her, she offer to play a supporting role in them so he can better enjoy them.

On career:  I simply reminded her that she was looking for a job when she found this one.  When she suggested her Communications degree is unmarketable, I reminded her that most degrees are unmarketable.

On sex:  Each relationship is unique.  I only suggest that sex may change over time, it probably will.  Desires, abilities, and opportunity change as the circumstances of the relationship change.   I don’t know too many 80 year olds who do it up against the wall, though there may be some.  Of those who do, I suggested, it’s probably because their relationship is new.

On the failure or success of the relationship:  I suggested that she should absolutely consider failure as a possible outcome – especially in the beginning. I also suggested she not consider failure to the point of the tears which were sliding down her cheeks during our talk.  The possibility of failure is quite real I reminded her, but can be thwarted with honesty and discussion.   To borrow from a letter I wrote to another young person recently, I offered this:

If you get married that marriage may be wonderful, tolerable, or tragic.  If it’s like many marriages, it may hold elements of all of these.  It may also include divorce.  Divorce, I have learned, is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of the marriage.  Conversely, a sustained marriage does not necessarily state the quality of that relationship.

If a relationship fails, you may ask yourself how many soul mates does one get…?   At best, that question creates knots in my stomach daily.  At its worst, it paralyzes me to a point of emotional stagnation.  Marriage or partnership, if you are fortunate to find the right one, and are able to ride it out for the very long term, it will not be without your share of sacrifice and second guessing. 

As I walked my friend to her car I gave her a big hug, told her to stay connected, and chose not to wish her luck, but to wish her well.  Be well.  rc

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Please check back in 2weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from Willy DeVille.  Enjoy…

The Blender In My Head, Part I…

 This is Part I of my ongoing series; The Blender In My Head.  I will continue posting these intermittently for the rest of my life, occasional intermingling fitness articles as I feel the need.  God help us…

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The Blender In My Head Part I: My Lifelong Existential Meltdown

Far From Amazing…

A friend recently described me as “amazing”.  That was a wonderful sentiment, though it was probably used to describe the shell I present to the outward world; the dating behavior of life as it were.  On the inside I’m more damaged, and confused than I let on.  Sure I’m a good guy, but pretty fractured and pretty flawed, though I strive daily to overcome, if not hide it.  Most times though, the me on the inside is much more conflicted than the good guy who I allow the outside world to know.  The inside is where my values do constant battle with the temptations perpetually attempting to invade my head.

Temptation in this case doesn’t necessarily mean a pretty girl or a drug. The temptations in my life can seem quite little when I break them down individually, but as a collective they can add up to enough that I more often consider myself a lesser person when I cater to even a minority of them.  And cater I do.

Temptations manifest in the most subtle of ways.  Things like taking shortcuts in business, in relationships, and in finances can be temptations.  Ignoring responsibilities, and sacrificing priorities for immediate gratification can also be temptations.  Amusement, entertainment, and indulgence can also be temptations.  Putting myself first though, is the temptation I pander to most often.  There are more of course, some too personal to share, but it seems I rarely go an hour without confronting, and giving in to some kind of temptation.

In the way I conduct myself many times in the course of a day, I find I’m pretty far from amazing.

Am I Really Real…

Many days I question my own reality.  Every waking moment of my life I question my own reality!  This has been my lot in life, for most of my life.  I’m unsure that anyone or anything else I interact with each day exists independently of my thoughts.  Though we all may consider this at times, it has been forward in my psyche for over a decade.  I often wonder if the reason I give in so easily to the temptations of the lesser me is simply because I often disbelieve that there’s even a me at all.  Of course philosophers far brighter than I have been grappling with this for millennia.

In these times of increasing complexity, the world and everything in it can seem unreal, or at least unlikely.  I don’t know if the helicopters I see each day flying overhead training as instruments of death are more or less real than the tufts of hair which sprout from my aging ears.  They both seem to exist with purpose, yet seem largely unnecessary.

My head.  Warning:  Those who enter may never leave...

My head. Warning: Those who enter may never leave…

I ask myself often, in a staged world, why would the candy wrapper I tossed in the morning trash have a crinkle in the corner…?  Would dust really gather so quickly on my desk…?  By answering these questions of myself, I somehow justify that the world is real.  Why on earth would there be a scrape on the frame of my bike if the world were staged…?  Imperfections, I surmise, could not be part of a staged world.

The Miracles Of And Mercilessness Of Modernity

I can now use my phone to check the time, watch a movie, or video call a friend in Ireland.  I have instant access to the most of the music I enjoy.  I’m in great physical condition, I have many friends, and I want for nothing.  I have, arguably, the best life any man has ever lived.  I know love in my life and on multiple levels.  My computer spells for me, knows me well enough to suggest music and movies for me, cars will soon be driving for me, and social media has brought many wonderful people into my life that I would not otherwise have connected with.  It all seems too good to be true – so maybe it is.

Every week a shooting takes place in a school or in a workplace that didn’t need to.  Wars continue, borders change, politics, and religion seem to isolate more than ever, and people seem to have replaced fruitful discourse with relentless arguments that they be proven right rather than improved a situation.  The world’s chaos seems advancing at a fever pitch.  I look around at everything – anything, and most days nothing really makes sense.  My computer spells for me, suggests music and movies for me, cars will soon be driving for me, and social media has brought many assholes into my life that I would not otherwise have connected with.  It all seems too detrimental to be true – so maybe it is.

There are just those days when I pine to be whipped as I work 18 hours per day building a pyramid, believing that if my existence were reduced to that, at least I would be in a simpler state.  I long to be in a simpler state.

Ground Zero In My Head…

The only vantage point I will ever have to this life is the one from inside my own head.  I see, hear, think, and feel only as I can.  Still, there are seven billion people in this world not named, Roy Cohen.  Or are there…?  Unsure of what’s real, who’s real, and if anything really matters, these are the days when my veins course with insouciance.

It gets old sometimes, looking into a person’s eyes and wondering if they are showing me genuine emotion, or just gathering data to report back to the mother ship.  Is my dog looking in wonder at the fly orbiting my forehead, or is he observing me, taking notes, and planning the next occurrence he will facilitate on my behalf…?

Particle physics tells me nothing is as it seems, and everything I know is only probable.  String theory suggests that anything that can happen will happen.  Dimensions, universes, multiverses, space, time, space time, and of course, scripture.  Thoughts of these create doubt on every possible level, and conjure thoughts I don’t even understand, yet they are my very own thoughts.

Add in entertainment, media, social media, the influence of the peripheral relationships in my life, and it can all get very confusing.  It can’t be denied that the thinking of others has influenced the way that I think.  What I struggle to reconcile is if these influences have, and continue to change and influence the way I wish to think.

In those rare moments when I feel a momentary sense of relief, and come to believe that I actually do and should exist, and I no longer question whether or not I am, I soon turn to questioning whether or not I am the me I want to be, due to all the outside influences I allow to penetrate my thoughts.  I’m sure Dr. Suess or Shel Silverstein would have an answer for that, but I can’t seem to find one.  And so it goes…  rc

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Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh and there is this from Bobby Weir & Company.  Enjoy…