When I was just a boy I distinctly remember having a conversation with one of my uncles that went something like this:
Me: “Why is your belly so big?” I said pointing out his beer gut, though I didn’t know that was what it was at the time.
Uncle: “That’s just how they get when you get older.”
Uncle: “Yep, and you’ll have one too when you get to be my age.”
Me: “No I won’t.”
Uncle: “Oh yeah you will…”
The conversation went on back and forth like this as uncles and nephews do. But for some reason this stayed with me. I didn’t have any kind of ultra-dedication to fitness, but thankfully I never bought into the “This is just how it is” mindset. I have put on my fair share of weight but thankfully changed my habits to bring it back down.
There seems to be a far too easy acceptance of the ails of old age, even when old age starts at 40. The aches and pains that a man feels because he is simply in poor condition, seem to be worn as a badge of honor. “ These old knees”, “ This old back”, “ I just can’t (fill in the blank) like I used to” are more than common statements from guys in their 40’s and 50’s.
Every man should have a good dose of Vim, Vigor, and Vitality well into old age, if not all the way to the grave.
Vim and Vigor
Vim and Vigor:
- Active Strength of Body or Mind
- Get-up-and-go, pep, sap, vinegar, sock, snap, fire, hardiness
A man with Vim and Vigor has a ready energy to be poured out into his life and work. There is a certain spark or gusto that fills his eyes with both thought and a willingness — or rather a longing — to carry out difficult tasks. It belongs to the man who will get up early with work on his mind, then take up his chores a full day, and be glad about it.
- The power giving continuance of life, present in all living things
- Rough-and-ready, healthiness, energetic, abundant and intense activity
A close cousin of Vim and Vigor, the man with Vitality has a willingness to go on living and giving his fullest in this world. There is a certain spiritedness and cheerfulness about him that is life-giving, rather than draining, towards others. It is a characteristic of the hopeful man, who sees greener pastures ahead and goodness all around him.
The Testosterone Connection
I know for myself Vim, Vigor, and Vitality, don’t come naturally. In other words, it is something I have to work up and keep a watchful eye on. I am fairly certain that most of this is related to testosterone levels. If I am working out consistently and eating well, and having regular sex, it is a lot easier to have the three V’s.
If you have looked at how to increase your T levels you have no doubt noticed that the natural way is to do the things guys with high testosterone do: Play Sports, Lift Weights, Hang with Men, Get Lots of Sleep, Have Consistent Sex, Get Plenty of Vitamin D, Eat Red Meat. Essentially, getting out of the lifestyle of ease and into the lifestyle of effort, where Vim, Vigor, and Vitality are actually needed. To do this, however, takes a consistent willingness and effort, which feels a lot like work, and many men would rather take a shot every few weeks instead.
To have more energy we have to work at it. It isn’t the responsibility of doctors to give us the health we need in most cases; it is our choices. The good news is that it gets easier. All of the working out, having sex, spending time in nature…all of that gets easier the more we do it; our bodies start to crave it.
Aside from helping ourselves, how about calling out those guys who have settled for sub par health and chalk it up to getting older. Sometimes, when we are in a situation, or a state of poor health for so long, we can lose our bearing and we need someone to graciously — and sometimes strongly — remind us of that. Having that conversation may be tough, but it may mean your father, grandfather, or good friend are around longer and enjoying life more. I think that is worth it.
Oh, and as far as root beer giving you the 3 V’s? Probably not, but it is a good way to celebrate after a day’s work.