The Joy of Old Age. (No Kidding.)

Oliver Sacks swimmer
I am sharing this essay which was written by the late Dr. Oliver Sacks for the New York Times. It is a delightful essay which honors old age.

Original post can be found at:

LAST night I dreamed about mercury — huge, shining globules of quicksilver rising and falling. Mercury is element number 80, and my dream is a reminder that on Tuesday, I will be 80 myself.

Elements and birthdays have been intertwined for me since boyhood, when I learned about atomic numbers. At 11, I could say “I am sodium” (Element 11), and now at 79, I am gold. A few years ago, when I gave a friend a bottle of mercury for his 80th birthday — a special bottle that could neither leak nor break — he gave me a peculiar look, but later sent me a charming letter in which he joked, “I take a little every morning for my health.”

Eighty! I can hardly believe it. I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over. My mother was the 16th of 18 children; I was the youngest of her four sons, and almost the youngest of the vast cousinhood on her side of the family. I was always the youngest boy in my class at high school. I have retained this feeling of being the youngest, even though now I am almost the oldest person I know.

I thought I would die at 41, when I had a bad fall and broke a leg while mountaineering alone. I splinted the leg as best I could and started to lever myself down the mountain, clumsily, with my arms. In the long hours that followed, I was assailed by memories, both good and bad. Most were in a mode of gratitude — gratitude for what I had been given by others, gratitude, too, that I had been able to give something back. “Awakenings” had been published the previous year.

At nearly 80, with a scattering of medical and surgical problems, none disabling, I feel glad to be alive — “I’m glad I’m not dead!” sometimes bursts out of me when the weather is perfect. (This is in contrast to a story I heard from a friend who, walking with Samuel Beckett in Paris on a perfect spring morning, said to him, “Doesn’t a day like this make you glad to be alive?” to which Beckett answered, “I wouldn’t go as far as that.”) I am grateful that I have experienced many things — some wonderful, some horrible — and that I have been able to write a dozen books, to receive innumerable letters from friends, colleagues and readers, and to enjoy what Nathaniel Hawthorne called “an intercourse with the world.”

I am sorry I have wasted (and still waste) so much time; I am sorry to be as agonizingly shy at 80 as I was at 20; I am sorry that I speak no languages but my mother tongue and that I have not traveled or experienced other cultures as widely as I should have done.

I feel I should be trying to complete my life, whatever “completing a life” means. Some of my patients in their 90s or 100s say nunc dimittis — “I have had a full life, and now I am ready to go.” For some of them, this means going to heaven — it is always heaven rather than hell, though Samuel Johnson and James Boswell both quaked at the thought of going to hell and got furious with David Hume, who entertained no such beliefs. I have no belief in (or desire for) any post-mortem existence, other than in the memories of friends and the hope that some of my books may still “speak” to people after my death.

W. H. Auden often told me he thought he would live to 80 and then “bugger off” (he lived only to 67). Though it is 40 years since his death, I often dream of him, and of my parents and of former patients — all long gone but loved and important in my life.

At 80, the specter of dementia or stroke looms. A third of one’s contemporaries are dead, and many more, with profound mental or physical damage, are trapped in a tragic and minimal existence. At 80 the marks of decay are all too visible. One’s reactions are a little slower, names more frequently elude one, and one’s energies must be husbanded, but even so, one may often feel full of energy and life and not at all “old.” Perhaps, with luck, I will make it, more or less intact, for another few years and be granted the liberty to continue to love and work, the two most important things, Freud insisted, in life.

When my time comes, I hope I can die in harness, as Francis Crick did. When he was told that his colon cancer had returned, at first he said nothing; he simply looked into the distance for a minute and then resumed his previous train of thought. When pressed about his diagnosis a few weeks later, he said, “Whatever has a beginning must have an ending.” When he died, at 88, he was still fully engaged in his most creative work.

My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty. At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.

I am looking forward to being 80.

How To Bling Out Your Own Suit

Originally published on RxGirl on Saturday, 25 August 2012. The original post was published with white text on white background, so the only way to read it on the site is to highlight the text. To make things easier for everyone, I have copied and pasted the article here for you to read.

How to Bling Out Your Own Suit

Most of us ladies love the dazzle of crystals and sequins when seen on competition suits, but such embellishments can be pretty expensive, especially when suits are custom made and crystallized by a professional suitmaker. However, it is possible to bling out your own suit at home as long as you have a somewhat creative hand and a lot of patience. I have endured the laborious process of applying crystals by hand on three suits. Despite the fact that this was very time-consuming, it was well worth it considering the fact that I saved hundreds of dollars by crystallizing the suits myself.

You may be wondering where to purchase a plain competition suit. Good sources are eBay, Jagware, Suits You Swimwear and Chynna Dolls, or you can have a suit made by a professional suit designer (examples are Passion Fruit, CJ’s Elite, TameeMarie) and then apply the crystals yourself. Once you have your suit, you can determine what design you would like to apply on the fabric. You can get ideas from looking at competition images of ladies in suits you like, or you can go to a site like and select a clip art image. After this is done you need to make a copy of the design so that it is the appropriate size for your suit, and also make copies of the mirror image so that your suit design is symmetrical. These prints will serve as templates when you are ready to start mapping out the design. If you are very artistic, you can sketch a freehand design.

The next step in the process is determining the colors, sizes and quantities of the crystals, beads or sequins you want to purchase for your suit design. Rhinestone Depot is an excellent wholesale online site for crystals. I also like Artbeads but the prices are higher. Make sure when you place your order that you order extra materials just in case some of the crystals pop off. Generally speaking, you should only purchase flat-backed stones as they are much easier to glue onto fabric and much less likely to pop off.

There are two options available to you with Swarovski crystals when you are trying to decide how to affix the stones to your suit. Swarovski crystals come in a “Hotfix” variety which already has adhesive on the back, but you will need to purchase the application tool (which looks like a soldering iron) in order to apply the stones. The other option is to get the regular flat-backed crystals and use a fabric glue such as E6000 or Aleene’s Flexible Stretchable Fabric Glue. If you are using very small stones, you should have a pair of small angled tweezers on hand to pick up the crystals. Other supplies to have on hand are toothpicks (for setting a crystal in the exact spot where you want it and for cleaning off excess glue) and a piece of sturdy cardboard large enough to stretch out the fabric in your suit while you are working on it.

To begin the process, line up the crystals on the design which you have printed out. This will give you a familiarity with the design and also ensure that you have enough crystals to create the design. You can also place marks on the fabric with a washable marker so you have some guidelines. Put your suit on the cardboard in such a way that the fabric is completely stretched out. KEEP FABRIC STRETCHED WHILE YOU GLUE RHINESTONES AND ALLOW GLUE TO DRY! If not, the crystals will pop off.

Start at one end of the design, placing a small amount of glue on the back of the crystal and then pressing into place. For smaller crystals, you can use angled tweezers and toothpicks to move the crystals into their exact spots. It is a good idea to switch back and forth from one side to another to ensure your pattern remains symmetrical.

Peacock Suit I Blinged Out!

Most importantly, TAKE YOUR TIME! This will take HOURS and HOURS to do. Trust me, it really takes a while. When I crystallized the peacock feathers on the suit I wore in 2011 (pictured above at the IFBB North American, where I took a First Place finish in Open and Second Place in Masters), it took me a total of 38 hours to complete the work. I had no choice but to keep returning to the project over a number of sessions until it was completed. Then again, there were over 3,000 crystals, so I created quite a challenge for myself.

Once you are finished, you can celebrate your creativity and rest in the knowledge that you have a one-of-a-kind suit!

Why You Should Build A Show Strategy

Orignally published on on Saturday, 01 October 2011

victory TU
Perhaps you have already competed in risk-bookshelf-board-game-2one or more shows, or you are thinking of entering your first competition in men’s physique. The last thing you should do is enter a show with no forethought as to which shows might be better for you than others. If you want to get your feet wet, you may want to avoid the bigger shows right out of the gate because they can be intimidating and downright discouraging.
If you are selecting your first show, choose one that is local to you, a national qualifier, and one that is scheduled far enough out so that you have enough time to prep. I have seen many male and female competitors jump into a show at the last minute with little to no prep. If you are a seasoned competitor who always looks show ready, that’s one thing, but if you are not yet stage-worthy, you could damage your chances of placing high at future shows in the same region.

Remember that there are countless shows all over the United States throughout the year, so don’t rush into it. Plan things out and take your time. If you get a national qualification, great! But don’t rush onto that national stage just yet. The national circuit is quite different from the local and regional ones, and you could end up being a very small fish in a huge pond. This can be quite deflating, especially if you have done well at the local level. Keep in mind that the national shows gather the best of the best from all over the country (and Canada and Mexico for the North American), so don’t be surprised if your jaw drops when you see the caliber of competitors at national events.

While NPC USA and NPC Nationals are outstanding shows, they are huge shows and perhaps not the best ones to select for your national debut. If possible, ease into one of the other events. If you are in the south, consider Jr. USA. If you are near Chicago, consider Jr. Nationals. East coast residents could target Team Universe, while Canadian and Mexican citizens will have IFBB North American as their only national option.

Whichever competitions you select, make sure you bring your best physique possible onto that stage, and above all else, have fun up there!

Booty-Building Superset Routine

Originally published on RxGirl on Wednesday, 15 August 2012. The original post was published with white text on white background, so the only way to read it on the site is to highlight the text. To make things easier for everyone, I have copied and pasted the article here for you to read.

Booty Building Superset Routine

NPC Pittsburgh 2012

If I had given into my natural genetic setpoint which gave me a relatively flat booty due to my Japanese ancestry, I would never have transformed my posterior into what it is today. In recent years the quest for a round butt has been one of the most highly coveted physical attributes for women. In keeping with this highly sought goal, I am providing readers with a superset routine which will create the full and curvaceous look which fills out a pair of jeans nicely and turns heads in a good way!

Make sure to move from one exercise within a superset to the next quickly, without rest. Once you have completed a superset, rest for 30 seconds then begin your next superset. Complete all sets in Superset 1, then complete all sets in Superset 2, etc.

Superset 1 –
5 sets of the following:
25 jump squats

20 stiff-legged deadlifts with dumbbells

15 stride jump crossovers How to do: Using a bench or plyo box, place one foot up on bench with that leg almost parallel to floor. Jump explosively over bench, springing off bench and landing with your other foot on the opposite side of the bench. Repeat on other side.

Superset 2 –

5 sets of the following:

15 walking dumbbell lunges

20 Butt Blaster

15 prone leg curls

Superset 3 –

4 sets of the following:

20 one-legged dumbbell deadlifts

20 one-legged cable kickbacks

Superset 4 –

20 one-legged leg press (lying on your side and pushing through your heel)

20 plie dumbbell squats holding dumbbell between legs with wide stance and squatting LOW

12 barbell good mornings

Links To All Of My RxGirl Articles!

I was honored to write 25 articles for RxGirl over the past three years!

Get The Best Skin Ever Part 1: Lifestyle Adjustments

Easy Hairstyles For The Stage

Waxing Or Threading?

Should You Do A Cleanse Or Detox?


How To Beat Down Excuses That Derail You From Your Fitness Goals

The Ultimate Competition Packing List

Celiac Disease: A Blessing In Disguise For Competitors?

Weightlifting Safely While Pregnant

Eating For Two: Nutrition For Competitors During Pregnancy

Selecting The Right Suit Cut For Your Body

Ignore The Haters!

How To Choose Your Next Show

Maintaining Focus In The Midst Of Chaos

Common Diet Myths

Hormone Roller Coaster

The links below have an issue with white text on white background and thus cannot be read unless you highlight the entire body of the article. I will also re-post every article I wrote for RxGirl in future blog posts here, so stay tuned for those posts!

Posing Essentials For NPC Figure And Bikini Divisions

Help! My Face Is Falling

Supplements Women Need

Emotional Eating

Competing On A Budget

How To Bling Out Your Own Suit

Booty-Building Superset Routine

Perfect Stage Makeup

Excusitis And How To Banish It

Links To All My articles

It has been an honor and a blessing to write articles for! I have written 44 articles between April 2011 and December 2014. Check all of them out via the links which I have provided here:

What Do You Bring To The Table? Know Your Worth

Are You A Sponsored Athlete Or An Unpaid Salesperson?

The If-It-Fits-Your-Macros Trend

Supplements You Should Be Taking Based On Your Age

Of Crossfit Boxes And Boxy Midsections

Misconceptions About The Men’s Physique Division

Creatine-Rich Foods Or Creatine Supplements?

Worth Your Weight In Salt: Why Some Dietary Salt Is Good

One Step Forward Two Steps Back: Fighting Muscle Loss As You Age

Sleep Deficit And Muscle Loss

What To Do After You Have Slayed The Dragon

How To Avoid Post-Contest Rebound

Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword

Fit For Stage: There Is A Difference

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

That Ever-Elusive Pro Card

Natural Libido Enhancers

The Incredible Edible…

The Many Benefits Of Cinnamon

What Is 7-Keto?

The Importance Of Digestive Enzymes

Fenugreek Enhances Performance

Why Zinc Is So Important

Why You Should Add Curcumin To Your Diet

Should You Block Cortisol Production?

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Protein Denaturing And What It Means For You

Collagen Controversy: Is This Protein For You?

Should You Be Afraid Of Water Bottles And Cans?

What To Bring To Your First National Show Besides Your Physique

The Fledgling

To The New Model On The Block

Picture Perfect With The Ladies: How To Model With A Female

Selecting Board Shorts For The Stage

Why You Should Build A Show Strategy

Dry Skin Is Not Sexy

Shaving Basics

Ingrown Hairs – Ouch!

Taming Of The Brow

Holding Onto That Faux Bronzed Glow

How To Remove Self-Tanner After A Shoot Or Show

The Hair Issue: Getting To The Root Of The Problem

My Bio