Old Man Shuffle

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As I grow older, my running speed gets slower.  I know that first hand.

Here is an article that goes into details of  how the researches concluding  the same thing: older runners’ biomechanics changes. Meaning the legs lose its muscular power as one gets older, and as a result, running efficiency decreases.

Hence, the old wo/man shuffle.  It sounds bad, I know.  Visualize it as the opposite of what you would see in running magazines where young models with impressive midriffs running with their feet airborne. Yeah, hard to squeeze those vertical lift from an old pair legs like mine.

But all is not lost. If you want delay the muscle power lost, the article suggests weight training (particularly after the age fifty) to retard the atrophy.  Even in the inevitable case when the shuffle does become  a reality, at least it helps to minimize running injury.

Do you feel like you’re losing your bounce?

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Week In Review – 21 May 2023

The US government is 11 days from defaulting on its debt obligations (1 June 2023). Last time when this happened back in 2011, the US credit rating was downgraded (from AAA to AA+) by the Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, one of the top 3 credit rating agencies (the other two being Fitch and Moody’s). Will the history repeats this time? Don’t know. But it’s definitely another nail biter.

Pressure surrounding this self-induced political drama stems from our government’s record deficit and failure to bring it under control. We don’t need more rules but commitment to stop  mortgaging our future. Imaging if your household’s finance were like the federal budget, you too  will sleep with not so sweet dreams. Thankfully, America is not broken, but we do have issues.

Besides the fiscal fiasco, there is also this epidemic of loneliness and isolation declared by the US Surgeon General. Instead of a high tech and high touch society, we are turning into a hi-tech & low-touch culture with inadequate third places for social connections and support. Don’t wan to bowl alone, dance alone, or play alone?  What can we change to adapt

Stay safe & Have a nice week


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Not So Sweet Dreams

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Ever bit off more than you can chew? Happens to me all the time in my dreams.  Yes. I am not talking about the sweet pleasant type.  But the mighty stressful ones from mismatched expectation and execution. The ones that I am always happy to wake up and realize it was just a dream.

The pressure is always the same, only the scenarios are different. Be it rushing to catch a flight, missing an important appointment, or forgetting key business details, they are the unwelcome aspects of living  that I would not wish on anybody.

Luckily they are only dreams. Don’t know if they were my subconscious playing out worst case scenarios, emotional release of hidden fears, or monkey mind getting revenge with my meditation practice. Because I seem to joggle okay in real life.

How about you? What are you worst dreams?

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Another Nail Biter!

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A beautiful Friday afternoon in Washington DC. The air is pleasant and crisp. People are thinking about what weekend activities to partake with family, so to take advantage of this lovely weather.  Except, the debt ceiling is wiping out all the hope for such activities if you were part of the negotiation teams between the two political parties.

Because the time is short before the X day, when the US government defaults on its debts in twelve days (1 June). The negotiation is at the highest level between the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca), and the President Biden. Both sides agree that the government should not default on its debt. But that’s where the agreement ends.

Earlier in the day, the negotiation teams hit a snag and paused their talks.  Pouring cold water on every possible hope.  Only after some behind the scene arm twisting by McCarthy, the negotiation resumed after 6 pm.  By then, the stock market was closed after absorbing the bad news earlier. 

Think this is unusual and one-off? Think again. The US Congress has gone through this brinkmanship 78 separate times – 49 under Republican administration and 29 under Democrat presidents. This can’t be healthy, productive, or sane. Is it any wonder why the rest of the world is worried as well?

What consequence, other than the 2024 presidential election, will result from this brinkmanship?


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Loneliness and Isolation

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On 3 May 2023, the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness and social isolation in America. He calls it an epidemic that preceded the Covid-19 pandemic.

What would loneliness and isolation do? Here are some numbers, ” a 29% increased risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia for older adults. Additionally, lacking social connection increases risk of premature death by more than 60%.” [source: HHS]

Sounds serious? You bet. In addition, Dr. Murthy also lays out a 6 prong strategy that could advance our social connection.  They are summarized  below:

  1. public infrastructure like investing in parks, libraries, playgrounds, community center
  2. pro-connection policies such as accessible public transportation, paid family leave, community building projects
  3. healthcare provider engagement to identify and track the epidemic and intervene early
  4. social media & mobile technology as enablers (e.g. promote connection) and not detractors
  5. research on the effect of social disconnection, resulting risks, and preventive options
  6. cultural of connection as daily practice at grass-root level

How feasible do you think these strategy can be implemented?

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Third Place (or Space)

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Learned a new term “third place” or space today. Unfamiliar with the term other than rank ordering, I looked it up.

In essence, it is a term referring to social surroundings other than home and workplace – the traditional first and second space. Third place could be a space like public library, cafe, park, community center, online forum & game-room or anywhere one can frequent to socialize and maintain connection.

Being retired, I don’t have a workplace. But an example of my Third Place is the local Panera Bread I visit with my running group members every Saturday after our run. Being a regular, I feel comfortable visiting there. Always relaxed and ready to enjoy the good coffee/tea and conversation. A home away from home for me.

Why the interest on the Third place, you ask?  Apparently, we have an epidemic of loneliness and isolation according to the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy. And facilities like the Panera Bread serves as a third place for people to use in strengthening their social connection.

What’s your favorite third space(s) that you go and engage people?


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To Adapt, I Shall

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As I age, I am discovering limitations, both physical and mental, that  encroach my daily reality.  I am no longer invincible. In fact, I can barely read the aisle signs in the grocery store or the fine prints on a prescription without the aid of reading glasses.

Yes, it’s a new reality that I feel dearly (ever thought it would happen, not this quick at least).  The colloquial reply of “such is life” does not answer the quest.  On a recent healthcare survey, I selected good or very good for my health instead of excellent, as a nod to my limitations.

What to do? Well, for sure I am not going to roll over, be defined by my limitations, or reminisce the memory of past years. No, no, no. Instead, I will take what I have, adapt my life to the new reality, explore  pursuits that are better fit for the current me, and begin to push limits on different fronts.

Life is too short, don’t you agree?

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We Don’t Need More Rules

Source: law.uakron.libguides.com

In the government’s roles, regulatory plays an important function to keeping the society it serves functioning properly.  Free market is a wonderful concept that requires guardrails. And that’s where the government comes in.

However, public policy making is far from easy. The process involves multifaceted considerations, inputs, and deliberations. So the rules’ outcome will be balanced and fair.  If and when things go awry, opportunity arises for the process to improve the rules.

Recent bank failures is a case in point. Hearing are scheduled on the Capital Hill this week to explore what went wrong and how the system can be improved, so the mistakes won’t be repeated. All good and necessary to make sure we’re fixing the right problem.

Some calls for more rules, which may be needed. But more often than not, the existing rules are adequate or may just need some tweaking. The real question becomes whether the rules are being properly  enforced.  If they are not, more rules certainly won’t help.

Do think the banking crisis is behind us?

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Week In Review – 14 May 2023

Will they or won’t they reach a deal? That is the question on the US Debt Limit which will soon hit the ceiling and restrict the government’s ability to finance its day-to-day operations. They in question are the politicians on the Capital Hill and in the White House. Collaboration maybe out of fashion but is of necessity in this case.

Meanwhile, migrants at the Southern border are one of the consequences of ending the Covid-19 Emergency. Not that it’s a new problem. Only the government has been using the pandemic as an excuse in dealing with its immigration policy. Now the egg is on the government’s face with a pseudo crisis of its own making.

If the above sounds biased, I offer no apology. The government has an obligation to do better. Especially with a Presidential election next year (2024), we need leaderships that are not only conscientious also with moral standard. Not too much to ask for, right? Otherwise, look at Vladimir Putin of Russia, and what he is doing with Ukraine.

Last but definitely not the least, a shout out Happy Mother’s Day to my wife and all the mothers for a well deserved holiday in their honor.

Stay safe and have a nice week

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Month of May Random Thoughts

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Mother’s Day is tomorrow, followed by Memorial Day, and  summer. Typically, family is engaged in make haste activities during this time of transition.

Especially, the inflation is showing signs of abating. The Fed is signaling its willingness to loosen its grip on the interest rate hike. Perfect for beehives of travelers heading for the door to get a jump on the summer vacation. Business certainly is hoping the economy rebounds soon.

However, there is one political drama still unfolding, the US government debt ceiling.  A topic that is too far removed for average person to do anything about it, and yet the consequence, if it happens, would affect everyone. Not only the US economy will be doomed but also the global finance system.

Simply put, the greenback is the global currency reserve.  If its backer, the full faith and credit of the US  government, is in default, market confidence will fall and pandemonium will sure  follow. In theory, this could happen if our politicians fail to reach an agreement.  Such a political drama.

Have you got summer plan? Will the debt ceiling affect your plan?

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