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Fifty-7 and We Watched Him Fall...

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Today, the world is missing a pop/funk/R&B singer and a female pro wrestler. Prince (aka The Artist Formerly Known as Prince or that symbol I can't type here) has moved on much too fast to the beyond. Chyna, whom I saw live a time or two, having admittedly been a huge WWF fan in the 1980s and early nineties (no, I never believed it was true, but I had a mad crush on Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake, and I usually don't even like guys with mullets, giant scissors, and fishnet tights.) I did not condone or appreciate all Prince stood for and believed in life, as it is still a too-each-his/her-own world, but several of his songs do pop up on my eclectic playlist every now and then, nestled somewhere between the Newsboys, Ace of Bass, Neil Sedaka, Enigma, Tupac, Shaggy, and my uncles singing gospel hymns. (Variety is the spice of life, right?) What shocks me most about Prince's passing is that he was only in his fifties, the decade right beyond mine. Chyna was only 45, but it is likely that there were chemical factors in her farewell. Prince, on the other hand, was at least a sensibly-eating person, a self-professed vegan with an affinity for pasta. According to Dr. Google, who we all know is 100 percent reliable about every single thing (yeah, right), Prince used to stand outside the fast-food restaurants his family couldn't afford, just so he could catch a whiff of the yumminess that is McThis and McThat. A bit ironic, really, since he grew up to love things like eggplant and spinach and meatless spaghetti washed down with orange juice. (Wouldn't grape juice have been more fitting for the PURPLE Rain phenom? Oh well. As I said, to each his own.)

There have been a lot of celebrity deaths already in 2016, and we are only in the fifth month of the year. When we lost Hans Gruber a while back (or Snape to you Harry Potter folks, which I'm not), I sort of freaked out. Sure, we all watched him plummet from that tower, courtesy of Bruce (the actor, not the rubber shark...and if you don't know the difference, please revisit the awesome films of the prior decades, folks); nevertheless, there are certain people we expect to just be around a little longer. I think most of us alive nowadays sort of have numbers in our minds that are simply not true anymore: "I will retire at 65, then live till 80 or 85...or 90 if I really want to annoy my family just a little longer before I move on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky..." (Oh, and check out old TV shows, too, if you don't get that reference. That's what Hulu's for, folks!) It seems the Baby Boomers are dropping too quickly, dying in their forties, fifties, and sixties. I'm technically a Gen-X'er, since I was born after 1964, but I am right on the threshold of those dreadful decades at the ripe ol' age of 45, so it scares me. It especially scares me when I hear that a vegan who lived on eggplants and pasta with no meat in it could just die a decade and two years beyond where I am now. We lost my mom at 64 last June, but she had alzheimer's/parkinson's for many years. We lost my dad at 67 last November, but he did have a weight problem, and while his passing was very unexpected, it was clear that his heart attack was a result of other underlying problems. The point is, 85 is no longer the typical check-out time.

I heard a news report yesterday on one of those annoying morning news shows (not THE VIEW, which I refuse to watch ever since I heard Joy Whats-her-face ask, "Do religions have a problem with porn?" I see no reason to spoil my boyfriend rendezvous with idiocy and cluelessness and loud-mouthed bimbo-ism). In the news report, they said that the life expectancy has significantly dropped for women, at least in the U.S. They blame this on heart disease and other factors, but I think if those high-paid researchers would dig a little deeper, they might discover that it's a universal problem. People are dying sooner. We live in a world where we sit, moving little more than our typing/texting fingers for a great majority of the day. We seldom even move our heads around, because we're all staring at our e-thises and i-thats. We are constantly beaming signals and wi-fi into our ears and eyes, and we don't even have to get off the couch to turn the TV. We can check the oil in our lawnmowers with an app, for goodness sake, without even having to make the walk outdoors. Complicate that with the fact that we don't even have to get out of our cars and walk into the restaurant to get our greasy bags of food, and with the fact that half our food consists of chemicals, salt, sugar, fat, mystery meat, and enough scientific intervention (like steroids and GMOs) that Rod Serling could host this entire era with that terrified, uneasy look on his black and white face and that eerie music playing in the background, and we are all literally killing ourselves. We are fat. We are lazy. We are coddled. We are afraid of the outdoors. We are eating junk and demanding that it take no more than 29 seconds of radiation to cook it. We are neglecting our public parks and walking trails and instead playing sports on our Wii's and Xboxes. We have to have gadgets on our wrists to remind us to get up out of our chairs more than the bladder-obligated thrice a day. We are stressing ourselves out over everything and so instantly exposed to every bit of bad news and media mayhem that we are in a constant state of depressed, stressed mess. We are more advanced technologically than ever before, but we are becoming more dependent, stupid, lazy, and negative, and we are killing ourselves far too early because of it.

I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have ballooned up to that 329 lbs. I was. Even now, I sit on my slightly bonier behind all day, with my laptop on my slightly less lumpy lap. (Hey, at least now I can see the spacebar without having to fling my bottom belly roll over my shoulder!) I identify as a Baby Boomer myself, since I'm a bit old-fashioned, even though I was born in 1970 (on the first day of fall. My mom was a Baptist preacher's kid, and Daddy was a preacher himself, so I'm not sure why they hippie-ed out and named my sister and me Autumn Joy and Liberty, then gave my brother a normal name. I will ask them someday in their deluxe apartment in the sky.) I do not want to die early, like my parents and Prince and Chyna and Alan Rickman did. I do not want my next 20 years to be my last 20 years. I've really only started living after at least 25 years of foolishness (I didn't really start screwing things up till I was in my early 20s), and I don't want to plummet from the proverbial Nakatomi Towers till I have to be rolled off in a wheelchair or at least take a walker with me. The other day, a cashier at a discount store where I love to shop actually had the audacity to ask me if I qualify for a "senior discount." I was appalled, as I usually get carded the other way. (Hey, one of those stupid Facebook app things the other day said my "virtual age" is 21! Thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg!) I remember being severely emotionally disturbed the first time a 20-something fella called me "Ma'am," considering that at the time, I was only in my late 30s, and my husband was 16 years my junior! (I used to average our ages together to determine mine, but I suppose I can't do that anymore.) Anyway, insulted and embarrassed as I was while I paid for my off-brand Splenda and nail glue the other day at Rose's, it was a reality check, and it made me want to go back in the store and pick up a couple extra boxes of Clairol. In my defense, he seemed a bit dazed and confused in general, so I like to tell myself he was just one of those who chose to celebrate 420 day before coming in to work. In any case, it was a reality check for me, a reminder that my days really ARE numbered and that we ALL have an expiration date. Morbid or not, the fact is that at some point, we'll all be the gravesites/urns formerly known as us.

We cannot control time. We cannot control when God decides to move us along. We cannot control every facet of our bodies or every genetic or health factor that will affect us. I trust God to know what He's doing when it comes to my lifespan, but I certainly don't have to hurry things along by getting back to the whopping 300s. This is why I am back to my 1,200-calorie plan, until I re-hit and maintain my 155-lb. goal for at least two weeks in a row. Lately, it seems my generation is being exed out far too quickly, and the Baby Boomers are seeming more and more like Baby Doomers. Speaking of babies, this is one reason why I actually buy "kids'" food and "baby/toddler" snacks, because they are lower in calories/fats/sugars/sodium and other nasties. (Try it! You'll be surprised how much of a friend to your weight the baby aisle will be! I've Gerbered away a lot of my blubber by replacing many snacks and frozen foods with kiddie varieties, and I have to tell you that even though the KidFresh chicken nuggets have hidden cauliflower in them--yes, cauliflower--they taste almost as good as Wendy's!)

In the grand scheme of things, only G-O-D will determine our D-O-D. I could end up like David Bowie or Prince or Chyna, or I might be around as long as Betty White (a real golden girl who's still working at 94!) You cannot choose your expiration date, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do your best to extend it and make life more pleasant and enjoyable for yourself and others while you're here. Whether you are 18 or 87, just starting out on a weight-loss mission or working at maintenance every day, you are on Spark, and that means you are trying to do the right things. Give yourself a hand for that, appreciate every day of your life, and party like it's 1999--maybe even in a little red corvette with some portion-controlled spaghetti and orange juice!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for sharing
    1791 days ago
    Interesting facts you presented! emoticon
    1805 days ago
  • no profile photo APPLEGREENGIRL
    Excellent blog. Nice incorporation of "thrice" :) I love that word too!
    1813 days ago
  • SISSIE21
    Loved Prince and his music! A real shock..
    It does seem we baby boomers are leaving at a quick rate. All I can do is try to live healthy every day and not take my life for granted. I have today and for that I am grateful.

    1817 days ago
  • THOMS1
    emoticon You are fast becoming my favorite blogger. emoticon
    1817 days ago
    1818 days ago
    Another great blog and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I will be 69 in Sept. and I am a cancer and heart attack survivor. I was only 60 when I had breast cancer but I survived it. We are dying younger and I recently read that generations below us will live even shorter lives. Our society needs to do something to reverse this, if only to educate our youth that processed foods, air and water quality killing us. Please keep blogging. You are an inspiration to me.

    ~Carol~ emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1818 days ago
    Which is why I am on Spark People...to improve my health and hopefully live long enough to dance at my kids' weddings.
    1818 days ago
    That's why mortality does NOT have to be morbid...LIVE EACH DAY TO IT"S FULLEST no matter how long you live. We have said goodbye to many influential people this year...Little Red Corvette will be a favourite of mine for quite some time...
    1819 days ago
    emoticon Thanks for sharing!
    1819 days ago
    And Glen Frey.
    It's been a sad year so far. I actually cried yesterday and then came home and downloaded "sometimes it snows in April." I heard it was good and I'd never heard of it. Definitely a keeper.
    1819 days ago
  • AMYG5025
    Thank you for sharing. I have had many of these same thoughts about how we are becoming very lazy - tied to our Electronics and losing touch with the real, physical, natural world. We all need to step up and take care of ourselves!
    1819 days ago
    emoticon and I agree. We all need to take a step back and re evaluate our lives. Start living one day at a time and live life to the fullest. And that doesn't mean by stuffing our faces with junk food. That means really getting out there and "experiencing" nature and love of self. Thank you for the reminder. emoticon
    1819 days ago
    1819 days ago
    Our days are numbered as are the hairs on our heads, but only God knows what those numbers are, so for as long as he has us here, we are to do something for Him! My 92 year old dad calls every Sunday and often starts with how thankful he is to be breathing.
    1819 days ago
  • MAWGI6
    Great bog, as always! You say it so concise and it is so true. I love the philosophy of live everyday as if it were your last. What sort of legacy will each of us leave here. I want to make people happy, because I'm happy. :D -Ma
    1819 days ago
    My premise these days is to live the life I want now so that I feel healthy and can enjoy activities, etc. That means eating better and moving more. I am not sure how long I get to ride this roller coaster (I am turning 65 this year), but I can go out with a smile.
    My biggest concern now is all the toxins and pollutants in our food and environs. I have backed off just about all processed food and seek out non-GMO products. I have reached 64, but I think we are jeopardizing life itself on this planet - my worry is for the little kids who don't have any choice in what their parents give them.
    1819 days ago
    I loved Prince. He taught me that being different is okay. His musicality was amazing. He touched my heart and soul.

    I think that living is the best way to enjoy life. That means actively participating and finding our own joy.
    1819 days ago
  • TREE57
    Autumn you are SPOT-ON again.

    I love your blogs and each and everyone desire the Festured blog spot on SP. (finally they have realized the daily journal of what someone ate and how many miles they ran in however many minutes does NOT equal featured blog status.)

    Thank you for sharing and supporting us as we live each moment like its our last.
    1819 days ago
  • no profile photo CHAYOR73
    Yes, indeed great losses emoticon
    1819 days ago
    *sigh * I am glad we still are on "this side", and I will do my utmost to stay healthy until the end of my journey on this Earth!
    1819 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    Prince and David Bowie certainly provided part of the background music for memorable moments in my life. It's sad to see them move on up. I fell in love with Alan Rickman in the movie "Truly, Madly, Deeply." Strange how it seems as though a void appears, a dark abyss that rips them away and out of your life.
    1819 days ago
    Alan Rickman, David Bowie, two members of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer a drummer or two emoticon

    and now Prince?
    1819 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    1819 days ago
  • LIS193
    Every day is a new adventure and it is up to us to make the most of it!
    1819 days ago
  • NHES220
    Nope, we don't get to pick that date. Who knows how long we have. But I want to live every day as healthy and as fit as possible!
    1819 days ago
    I am becoming a big fan of your blogs, I learn something new each time!

    When a celebrity of my generation passes, I always say prayer thanking God for keeping me safe and here for another day. We can't take our life for granted. Considering how much I have abused my body with excess food, I am doubly grateful.

    Interesting on the Gerber foods- I will have to check that out! I do cook, but snacks are pretty much grab and go.

    Thanks for the post, and keep SPARKING!
    1819 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15733790
    A great reminder to make each day count!
    1819 days ago
    Never a big Prince or Chyna fan, but always sad to anybody pass so young. When I read the news about someone dying I always do the math (subtract my age from their age at passing) Never a good thing when the number is negative.
    1819 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4300142
    Another great blog! I hate to disagree with you but if you are 45 then you are not a baby boomer, you're a gen X-er like me. :-)
    1820 days ago
    1820 days ago
  • LSIG14
    I so agree that our days are numbered - but only God knows that number, so it is up to us to determine how healthy and alive we want to be until our number comes up!! Cheering you on!! emoticon emoticon
    1820 days ago
  • JANET552
    Well said!! I was shocked to hear of Prince's passing but it does go to show how fragile life is. We must do what we can to stay healthy because, even though we can't fight genetics, we still need to do all we can.

    PS -- I love Betty White.
    1820 days ago
  • ELP14586
    What a legend he was.
    1820 days ago
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