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• November 1, 2011   |   2 Comments   |  

The 60s deja vu

Most of us who were teenagers during, slightly before, or slightly after the 1960s look back upon that unique decade with fondness, nostalgia, wonder, and deep emotions.  It was a time of immense struggle, social unrest, and momentous events: cultural revolution; urban riots; free love; assassinations; personal liberation; marches for freedom and against war; violence; and an outpouring of agitated creativity.  It spawned Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, JFK, Malcolm X, Aretha Franklin, Ceasar Chavez, the Beatles, Sirhan Sirhan, George Wallace, Neil Armstrong, Janis Joplin, and Woodstock.  It was a compelling time and a great many of us became activists for the causes in which we believed most deeply.  Without our contributions, small and large, the great changes in civil rights, personal freedom, and social responsibility would not have occurred and the decade of the 60s might have been a mirror to the 1950s­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­— happy and prosperous on the surface but blissfully ignorant of the dangers simmering below.

By comparison, the last three decades of the 20th century and the first of the 21st seem less distinctive, somewhat selfish, less creative, and more focused upon materialism; Watergate; Iran-hostage crisis; Iran-contra affair; savings and loan scandals; the bubble; 9/11/01; hedge funds; insider trading schemes; Madoff Ponzi deceits; the meteoric rise of Chinese industrialization; global greed, global fraud; global warming.  The problems were of enormous proportions and more and more of us did less and less to help solve them.

Now, entering the second decade of the 21st Century, there are clear signs of another period of cultural revolution, reminiscent of volatile 60s.  Demonstrations and marches for increased personal freedom and economic fairness are erupting in suppressed countries throughout the world.  Simultaneously, our awareness of the past and future consequences of greater and greater global consumerism is growing, triggered by the instantaneousness of the internet and its ever-expanding branches.  As we scan the planet via these electronic information systems, we come face to face with the grim reality: there is exponentially more upheaval than 50 years ago; the challenges to human survival and prosperity are growing every year; and the world needs substantial contributions of thought, spirit, and energy from our generation even more than in the 1960s.  The potential for human explosion means this is not the right time to kick back, retire, allow our accumulated knowledge and experience to return to dust, and leave the fate of our species entirely to the actions of others.

Those of us who were in our teens in the 60s of the 20th century, are now in our 60s as we enter the teens of the 21st century.  Unfortunately, just when bells are ringing loudly to call us back into activism, as when we protested and worked to change social injustices in the 1960s, most of us are now unable to answer the call.  Over the past four decades, we have allowed ourselves to be sucked into gradually more materialistic and more sedentary styles of life.  As a result, a majority of us are physically unfit, obese, overly medicated, deconditioned, and, in short, in poor health.  In spirit and memory, we may still be willing to march and to raise our voices in support of social justices in which we believe.  But the physical energy and the mental strength of the activists we were in our first 60s are no longer present in our second 60s.  Not yet, anyway—which is why this article percolates on a health and fitness website.

Every day new research studies are published that demonstrate objectively what many of us know intuitively.  Achieving physical fitness is not only essential to help each of us develop and maintain physical health and energy, it is also a major determinant of our mental fitness–which can be measured objectively by researchers—and our spiritual fitness—which cannot be quantified easily but to which those who exercise vigorously every day can testify.  Research shows us also that, after only a few months of dedicated, intelligent, purposeful physical training, we can achieve profound health gains and begin to reclaim much of the vigor we enjoyed during our first go-round in the 60s.

The bottom lines are these:

  1. The world needs us.
  2.  Our families, friends, and communities need us.
  3.  We still have the passion and creativity to contribute positively  to  local, national, and global justice, conservation, and prosperity.
  4.  To realize our individual potentials to make meaningful contributions to the well-being of our fellow and sister citizens of the world, we must rededicate ourselves to improving our own health and fitness.
  5. Science has proven that each of us has the capacity to increase our strength and fitness at any age, even as young as our 60s, if we simply become physically active again.  Six months of basic training will enable each of us, to the extent of our personal capabilities, to return to service in our country and on our planet.
  6. In the process of striving for better health through vigorous exercise today, we will rediscover, all over again, much of the joy and energy we felt in our first 60s.

Category: Articles of Interest, General Health Topics

Comments (2)

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  1. Michael Hogan says:

    Great article and an easy concept to understand, I believe the bigest challenge, at least for me is to find the time to squeeze in enough workouts during the work week. My challenge and I am up for it!

    • dbadger says:

      Finding time is always difficult for me too! It always seems so easy to put it off because you have something else to do.

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