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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Young

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 25, 2017


I usually agree with Mick Jagger, but not when he sings, “What a drag it is getting old,” in Mother’s Little Helper.

Aging is something we all face, but it doesn’t have to be a drag. Genes play a role in how we age, but we can’t let that be an excuse for inactivity and not fighting the good fight versus Father Time. We all know Gen-Xers who look like overweight, fading boomers, and we all know boomers who run marathons and look great. It comes down to life-altering decisions about how we deal with getting older.

Science has proven that the human body replaces all its cells on a regular basis, so you’re not the same person you were five years ago—all of your cells have been replaced. Wounds heal, we gain weight, and some of us keep the hair on our heads. Studies have proven that regardless of your family’s history of a certain disease, it does not necessarily mean you will get it. But, your chances for contracting an illness skyrockets if you allow your subconscious to believe you’re destined to get sick. The point is, when it comes to aging, you can’t leave it up to your genes or family history. Your health and quality of life often comes down to your attitude, beliefs and the choices you make in how you live each day.

With this in mind, I offer you The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Young. Listen, I’m just a Guy’s Guy. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one of television. But I’m a survivor, and have experienced health scares that forced me to look into the abyss. I’ve done my research, practiced what I’ve learned on my own body, mind and spirit, and have lived to tell. And, I’m better than ever. So let’s get started. Here are a handful of ways to age like a Guy’s Guy.

1. Diet – You are what you eat, amigo. And if you want to age well, look younger than your years, and stay in shape, you need to give that old single-guy diet an overhaul by the time you reach forty. Otherwise, as the years roll on, you’ll have a much tougher time changing your eating habits and making the right choices for your health around the dinner table. It’s not that hard. Simply put, at every meal you make a series of choices to eat either this or that. Start making more of the right choices, and I promise you the process will get easier and pay off in spades in the long run. Start by eliminating or cutting way back on sugar, meat, processed foods, GMO-based foods, dairy, and table salt. Unfortunately, that means staying away from the bacon, too. Of course, go easy on the alcohol, and no smoking. Although most guys like myself considered themselves to be indestructible when we were in our twenties, by the time we hit forty our metabolisms change and it starts taking more time to bounce back. And if we keep abusing our bodies the way we did in college, we pay via expanded waistlines, toxic organs including fatty livers and heavy hearts, and a decline in life force energy.

2. Exercise – I ran my first marathon at age forty. And fortunately I did it the right way. Instead of diving into an intensive three months of training and long runs, I began laying the groundwork on the road a full year before the race. And I’m glad I did. I cruised through the finish line of my first NYC Marathon feeling elated. After a shower I met my friends for a festive Mexican meal and a few shots of good tequila. I should have counted my blessings and taken some time off and healed my body. But, no, I decided to run another marathon a few months later and paid a stiff price. I hit the wall hard in that second race and avoided long runs for a few years. Four years later I ran my third and final marathon. I was in the best shape of my life, but ran the worst race. Maybe it was due to my advanced age. I’m not sure. But I listened to my body during that grueling race when it told me in no uncertain terms that this was our final marathon. I might run a half marathon, but I’m done with the 26.2 miler. 

Partially through proper fitness, I have been fortunate enough to preserve my joints, tendons and knees over the years. So, I’ve kept to a steady regime of running, elliptical training, push-ups, and intervals of weight training to keep me toned. I walk everywhere and almost always take the stairs. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’d argue that I’m somewhat responsible for creating my health through my choices and a lifelong investment in maintaining my body.

Anyone can get in shape at any age. But the longer you wait, the tougher it gets. I suggest starting slow, and staying consistent. Even if you get an injury, try not to let yourself fall too far out of shape. It gets harder and harder to make your way back as the years roll by.

3. Rest and stay positive - You work hard. You play hard. Your body, mind, and spirit need rest. And as you age you’ll need more time to recuperate from working out, a long night out, or a whole lotta love. Sleep is a gift. Your body will thank you. And when life knocks you down, don’t take it personally. We’re here to learn and you can bounce back. A positive outlook goes a long way in your preservation.

4. Meds – When my check ups and tests don’t go as well as I’d like, I do my research I read, talk to people—many in the holistic field, and try various natural remedies before succumbing to meds. Case in point: after a very high cholesterol reading, my doctor suggested that I either go on a vegan diet or take a statin drug. I told him I would see him in a year before making a final decision. I stopped eating meat and cut back on fried foods and foods with high cholesterol for a year, while also working out consistently. Happily, when we tested the following year, my number dropped 90 points and then dropped another 35 the following year. Of course there are times we need meds, but ultimately you need to consult your physician, consider your options and do what you feel is right for you. Keep and open mind and consider trying out natural remedies. You’ll be surprised at what Mother Nature provides us.

5. Never stop learning - Keeping your mind sharp as you age is as important as staying in shape. Throughout our lives, humans only scratch the surface in tapping less than 10 % of our brains’ potential. For many, especially, many of the boomer guys I know, reading is defined as working on the computer as day, scrolling through their phone, or a quick pass through A.M. New York while riding the subway to the office. What ever happened to reading books?  Nurturing and feeding your mind through reading helps expand our horizons and keeps our minds sharp.

Quick story. I exchange texts with an old friend who is a big fan of our current president. His texts read like a rehash of whatever some Fox News host griped about the previous night. I routinely rip him a new one because my pal leads with his chin and does not show a trace of discernment about any issues. Everything comes down to bad versus good, us versus them, and black versus white. People who read know our world is complicated. When a television show needs big blocks of text to support the host’s point of view it shows a lack of depth or an open mind on the subject. It’s called brainwashing and unfortunately, it works on lazy minds.

6. Choose love over fear – When it’s all said and done, do you want to face your final days having lived a life based on making important choices based on fear or love? Choosing love keeps you young. It empowers you to the possibilities that come your way each and every day. Having an open mind is critical to keeping a youthful attitude and a spiritually grounded perspective, especially when we face life’s inevitable challenges. Choose love, amigos. It will keep you young.

7. Enjoy sex – When you’ve been married a long time and have kids and pressure and all the rest of the stuff that eats up our time, it’s easy to forego sex. Often, we pass out on the couch in front of the television before sleepwalking into the bedroom and crashing. Sex is important, amigos. If it gets overlooked for too long, relationships sour, bitterness ensues, and our body rebels when it’s not getting its fair share of intimate pleasure. Folks, please find a way to keep your love alive and the sexual fires burning. A good romp in the sack is good for the heart and the soul and if you ask me, it’s life affirming.

I could go on and on, but I think we’ve covered a number of simply practices that will keep you feeling, looking and being young for many, many years. Life can be a long, beautiful trip. All you have to do is strap in, make positive decisions, and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. I hope yours lasts a long, long time.

This week's This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Jack LaLanne, the man who opened America’s first fitness gyms. Jack’s long running television show in the sixties was built around wellness and staying young. And as a show of his commitment to his message, each year Jack would conduct a physical feat far exceeding the expectations of someone his age. At age 54, he defeated a 21-year old Arnold Schwarzenegger in a fitness contest. Jack lived 96 healthy years. You can do it, too.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Simplifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Friday, May 19, 2017


Modern life is way too complicated. It doesn’t have to be that way.

There's a myriad of ways to cut through the chaos we face each day, and benefits of breaking your day-to-day life down into tasty digestible chunks are many. Start with piece of mind; add a splash of humor, and a dash of creativity. Life doesn’t have to be so damn overbearing. Regardless of what your boss says, there can be a separation of life from work. And that’s why your Guy’s Guy is serving up a platter of ideas that will help make your life more pleasurable and manageable. I call it the Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Simplifying Your Life.  Here goes…

1. Stop double and triple booking – Most of us manage our calendars digitally so you’d think we’d be smart enough not to double up on our appointments. Wrong. Lots of folks say yes to everything that comes our way. We pile multiple events on the calendar before choosing what we feel like doing the most at that time. Then we blow off or reschedule all the other appointments. But it doesn’t end there—we end up doing the same thing a week later.

Overbooking might make you feel like an important person, but all it really means is that you don’t know how to manage your day. No one wants to disrespect people, and we’ve all cancelled on at the last minute. But even if there’s a valid reason for a change of plans, it can be annoying when you’re on the receiving end of the cancellation. Bottom line, overbooking does not make anyone feel good, and often creates anxiety while causing chaos. My suggestion is to plan just one event in a time slot. If you are already booked when something else comes up, do your very best to find another time. Then show up, be present, and enjoy the time without worrying about what you’re missing.

2. Get a handle on your dating life – If you’re single and in the game, it’s easy to fall into that all-too-familiar trap of having too many dates, but no meaningful relationship. Between all the dating apps and services, anyone one with a pulse, a personality, and can clean up can score their share of dates. But too many dates can be a trap. When you date too often, people become disposable. You trim the herd by ghosting or deleting potential partners without giving them a real chance. Before you know it, you’ve lost focus on why you are dating in the first place.

I realized that after years of dating and broken relationships that the reason I remained single was because regardless of my current status, I’d stayed active online and on the lookout for the next partner. Frankly, I was selfish. And this self-absorption cost me. I paid the price by losing a number of relationships because of selfish cravings and lack of focus. Everything changed when I met my wife online. We went on a few dates and things felt good. I was really enjoying her company. I was still dating for the first couple of weeks, but after I asked her what I needed to do to be a good boyfriend, she said the two words that changed everything.  She said, “pay attention”. And that was it. At that moment I decided to give our relationship a real chance. I logged off the dating sites and took the time to get to know this wonderful person who became my wife. And I’m glad I did. It settled me down and got me focused.

3. De-clutter – If you’re like me, you don’t follow the trends. You know what you like, your choices are practical and classic, and you take care of your things. That can be a good thing, but it also means you’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff”. Things like clothes, books, music, tech, furniture, and other stuff that clutters up your space. When your space is congested, all that clutter gets in the way, and even affects the way you think. It’s challenging to solve problems and create fresh perspectives when you sit down see that same pile of crap around your workspace.

Take the time to rifle through your closets every so often so you can prune and toss what you don’t use. The old 80/20 rules for clothing (people wear same 20% of their clothes 80% of the time) still applies. Plus, giving some nice things to charity helps those less fortunate and helps you. The same thing applies for furniture, books, and music. Even if you are not that charitable, you can still make a few bucks by selling your stuff online or at your local book or music store. 

4. Be present. Focus on doing one thing at a time – My son is turning four this week. How time flies. As you probably know, toddlers’ minds and behavior is often unfocused and contrarian. You tell them to do one thing and they do the opposite. It’s not because they’re ignoring us, it’s because their minds have not fully developed how to process, discern, and do what we ask them. It can be extremely frustrating, so I came up with a very short list of “rules” for my son. One of our favorites is “do one thing at a time”. Like many adults, he’s got an overactive mind and is always multitasking. And like an adult, he’s at his best when he concentrates on doing one activity at a time.

Staying focused and present has its rewards. It allows us opportunities to immerse ourselves in our work or play, clears our mind, and provides opportunities for accomplishment, as opposed to running around from place to place with three balls in the air. Try staying present and doing one thing at a time. Then see how it feels.

5. Treat yourself to a little down time, every day – Life is for living, not stressing. Unfortunately, we live in a culture driven by fear. Don’t fall into that trap. Manage your media consumption, social media, and meetings as best you can. Find an hour or two every day to get outside, exercise, meditate, or read. If you can’t do that, at least take a few moments each morning and evening to take stock of your life and what’s most important to you and your happiness. Use this time to reflect on your life, your family, your friends, your loves, and your dreams. Ultimately, amigos, isn’t that what it’s all about?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. By reading up to this point in my post you’ve taken the time to consider what I hope is a simple message that helps you live your best life.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Slowing Down

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 11, 2017


Let’s face it. Modern life moves too damn quickly.

We work too hard and sleep too little. We get to bed too late and get up too early.  As soon as we enter the office, we’re slammed with deadlines and requests. Hey world, we need more time to handle all the shit you throw our way. When life moves too quickly and we don’t pump the brakes now and then, we head towards a breakdown. Heck, even a Guy’s Guy gets uptight when there’s too much to do and not enough time deal with everything on his plate. To keep our skills sharp, every so often we need a respite and some chill. That’s why I’m serving up The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Slowing Down, with ways to find refuge inside our hyper-paced world. Life is a gift. So let’s make it our business to get the job done and have enough time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Drum roll please…

1. Unplug – Between our phones, iPads, and laptops, we’re plugged in 24/7. Studies show that 80% of millennials sleep with their phones next to their bed. This is an unhealthy way to soak up poisoning radiation all night and prevent a good night’s sleep. While it’s true that we need to stay plugged in most of the time, it’s good to take a break every so often. I live in NYC, and unlike many folks I see, I don’t constantly wear ear buds while I’m on the go. I like to read on my phone, but the city itself provides more than enough stimulation. And frankly, isn’t one of the reasons we live in New York to take in the show that is the city itself? If I need to mentally check out while I’m in transit I read, repeat affirmations and mantras, or send blessings to my fellow travelers. Studies show that one person’s consciousness impacts a vast number of people. You really can make a difference. So, turn off that mind-scrambling video game, calm down, and stay present.

2. Get more sleep – I know it’s easier said than done, but finding even an extra hour for sleep can do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit. Sleep helps your body rejuvenate and also helps you lose weight. A quiet mind is also more apt to stoke creativity and solve problems. So try hitting the sack an hour earlier, without watching TV or bringing your phone into your bedroom for a few weeks. I’ll bet you’ll feel better in the morning.

3. Walk, take the stairs, run – If I’m within ten blocks of my destination and I have the time, I always walk. I love the city and walking provides great opportunities for people watching, clearing my head when I’m stressed out, and getting my metabolism flowing. I also recommend finding time for quick a walk after lunch. It helps digestion and can help put things into perspective when you’re having a tough day.  I’m a runner and to me there is no better mental getaway than a jaunt around the outer loop of Central Park or a boardwalk. I’ve managed to slow my mind down to the point that I break down complex issues and piece things back together including solving complex plot points for an entire novel.

4. Meditate – Regardless of how busy our lives get, it’s important to find a little time each day to get calm and centered. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, make it a habit to sit quietly and go inside. Just a few minutes will enhance your mental energy, empathy, and focus. I’ve been doing this for so long that I shut down even on a crowded subway. Meditating makes the city more tolerable and helps me think clearly and creatively.

5. Make time to eat – Like most Guy’s Guys, I love chowing down. But I also like to taste, chew, and savor my food. I know fast food is meant to be eaten fast. That’s why I don’t eat fast food. It’s made fast, it doesn’t satisfy or nurture my body, and there is really nothing there to savor. Therefore, I eschew fast food at lunch in favor of salads, green shakes, a wrap or a veggie burger. No matter how busy I am I do my best to push away from the computer and find a quiet respite for lunch so I can clear my thoughts and enjoy my food. Afterwards I usually take a few minutes to walk around before returning to my work. If you make it your business to slow down the pace of your day, you can make it work.

6. Don’t rush love – In today’s tech-driven dating world, singles are in a rush to see how many people they can date in a month, a week, or even a night. As a result, they often lose our perspective about why they are dating in the first place. I’ve found that investing some time in getting to know the person you’re dating before rushing into a relationship or into bed makes sense. Forget about obsessing over how quickly you can get a woman into the sack or even the three-date rule. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. All you need to do is pay attention, amigo. In her own way, she will let you know. And if you play your cards right, it might even be on the first date. This isn’t the Olympics. Just have fun and get to know her, take your time, and be present.

I could keep going and going, but my point is clear—modern life moves too fast and we need to slow down. And if you can slow down enough you’ll know how important it is to slow down. Yeah, I said that. See you next week.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Trailanga, a yogi who reportedly lived to the ripe old age of 280 by slowing his metabolism down through slowing down his breathing and other yoga practices. 

Where to Meet Men

Robert Manni - Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Since publishing my novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love, I’m frequently asked by women where they should go to meet single men. In a previous post, I addressed where guys can find women, and how to approach them within their sanctums. For women, the challenge is far easier. Men are easy to find and easy to approach. So ladies, all you really need to do is think like a man and show up where the fellas like to hang out. The truth is men are everywhere and are usually thrilled when a woman initiates contact with them. But to make it even easier, I’ve broken down the ten top offline locales where guys congregate. Of course men can also be found online or through an app, but I’ll spare you Tinder or Match.com tales and focus on the old school, yet always-effective style of meeting your match organically.

So, in no particular order, here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide For Women Looking For Guys. All you need to do to succeed is to clean up, show up, and smile and the men will be eating out of your hand. It helps to be friendly, but in most cases you won’t even have to start up a conversation. Men are almost always on the prowl.

1. Bars – Let’s face it. Most men, even if they don’t drink alcohol, like to hang out in bars with their friends. Go into any respectable bar, tavern, or beer garden after work and it will be teeming with guys letting off steam after a tough day. In New York, a great area to meet guys is downtown’s FiDi district. You’ll find lots of financial types throwing cash around after a pressure-packed day in the market.

Sports bars are always loaded with guys also. You may have to compete with the games on television, but if you know anything about sports and have a friendly way about you, you can meet men in bars any night of the week. Whisky and beer tastings and cigar bars are also great places to meet guys, unless you hate whisky, beer, and cigars. Remember, this post is about where guys hang out. No judgments and no you to change in any way. I assure you there will be more guys at the bars than in knitting class.

2. At sporting events – When guys are not watching games on TV, they are attending them. Go to any Knicks, Giants, Jets, Rangers, Nets, Yankees, Mets, or Red Bulls game and you’ll see thousands of men. Yes, they are there to watch a live game which they paid for, but guys enjoy meeting women anywhere so don’t be shy about wearing your team jersey or striking up a conversation with a guy at a game. Timing is everything so you may want to hold back on the rare occasion that the Jets are 1st-and-10 in scoring position.

3. Participating in sports – Yes, there is a trend here. Guys can be found anywhere sports are involved, and often when alcohol is part of the curriculum. Sports that guys like to play while downing a few brews are fishing, golfing, softball, and bowling. You can also find a lot of guys biking, running road races, skiing, surfing, snowboarding, jet skiing, boating, playing tennis, squash, or table tennis. And, you will always find guys working out in the gym, and I’m sure you know guys love to spot fit women in the gym. Sure, you’ll meet guys in yoga class, but there are more guys at the gym and this is about fishing where the most fish are.

4. Near the water – This is another great place to meet guys. Guys love boats, boat shows, surfing, jet skis, fishing, or simply relaxing at the beach or by a lake. And, being outdoors on a nice day seems to loosen people up. You’ll find lots of guys sitting at outdoor cafes enjoying the view with a refreshing beverage in hand.

5. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and planes – Most guys love vehicles. They like to fix them, polish them, ride them, and talk about them. So, if you’re a woman who loves her wheels, there are lots of places to meet men including car shows, car or dirt bike tracks and races, riding motorcycles, and at auto repair stores. Of course you’re not going to hang out at a parts store unless you need something for your car. The point is dudes like their wheels.

6. Anywhere food is served – Make no mistake, guys love chowing down. The old adage about the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach still rings true. So with that in mind, keep your peepers open for hungry guys anywhere and everywhere food is served. A steak house is a good place to start. Most guys love meat. Personally, I gave up eating animal flesh eight years ago and have never felt better, but my ears still perk up when I hear that old familiar sizzle of a juicy steak hitting a fired up grill. Guys also like Mexican, Italian, ethnic foods, seafood, and foods they can pick up in their hands. Guys love breakfast, but not so much brunch, but that’s for another column.

7. Traveling – Happening guys are often on the go. That makes airport lounges, airplanes, hotel bars, ferries, and shared car services prime locations for meeting men. And when a guy is in transit, if he’s not on the phone or buried in his iPad or a book, guys are savoring their escape from being chained to their desks. I’ve met lots of women traveling, and have found that women on the go are empowered, aggressive, and usually up for fun. Ladies, it’s time to cash in those frequent flyer miles. You can easily meet quality men on a subway or a bus if you keep an open mind and are opportunistic about these means of transportation. We all have to get to work, right?

8. Tech Stores and conferences - There are so many guys into tech that you can have your pick at any tech or digital conference, store, or class. And guys love show off their technical chops to ladies. This should be easy pickings, especially if you go for the “nerds” who seem to be taking over the world.

9. Work – Despite all the warnings, work might be the very best place to meet guys. It’s also a great environment to see men in action. You can tell if they’re arrogant, power tripping, or a Guys’ Guys by how they behave and treat their colleagues. The only caution is when dating your boss or a guy who reports to you. Otherwise, all bets are off if you use your head and can handle the potential adversity that comes with having a relationship in a working environment. Your best move might be to pick a guy who works for a vendor or a company you do business with, especially if you can keep your romance separated from your working relationship.

10. Anywhere – The bottom line is men are all over the place and every single dude I know is open to meeting interesting women. I’ve only scratched the surface here, but I think you get the picture. Making new connections with men is a matter of confidence, demonstrating your sense of fun and adventure, and a desire to play the game of love. Good luck.  I hope you win.

This week’s ”Guy’s Guys of the Week” are all the wonderful single women in New York City. My hometown is bursting with the smartest, hardest working, super capable, beautiful, and stylish women in the world. I empathize with their plight to meet men who are worthy of their talents. 


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