Oh, Yes! I Love A Hammock!
Archive for the ‘Anecdotes’ Category
I’ve lived in this house for several years now, and I’ve toyed with the idea of building a privacy fence. I had a privacy fence around my little back yard in Tulsa, and I loved it. It kept me out of my neighbors’ business, and it kept them out of mine. I could lie in my hammock any time of the day or night. I could mow on my schedule and not on my neighbors’ schedules. My animals could be outside with me and have the run of the yard without anyone complaining.
Growing a Fence
In Tulsa, the fence already surrounded the yard when I moved in. Here, my yard was surrounded by a chain link fence. I told myself it would be rude to move in and immediately build a tall, wooden fence. So, I did nothing. But, I still love the idea of having my own private space that’s just for me and not for people in ten other houses and two or three streets. I still kind of feel like it would be unneighborly for me to put up a big wooden fence. But, for some reason, I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with growing a fence!
The Beginning of a Screen
I’ve cropped a photo of the trees, because the ones in the middle also included the house next door. Obviously, my living fence idea is in the early stages. I can still see people next door, and next to them, and the next street. But, the little trees I (so unkindly) ripped out of the ground on the fruitful side of my yard are doing a good job of at least pretending to be a living fence.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Intended last day of school, postponed because school was closed due to snow.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Actual last day of school, last exam of last class of the entire program.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
“The Big Test”
Friday, March 26, 2010
Results are in! Passed!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Advertising and Availability Yo-Yo
Advertising influences us. It tells us we want that food they show us, we need that food they show us. Availability makes it possible for us to get that food and eat it as often as we like. Then, advertising makes us believe we are ugly and fat, and we need to get rid of that ‘ugly fat’. The ‘diet’ industry is huge. There is a massive amount of money being made by making people feel terribly about themselves.
Health vs Weight Loss
I don’t want to take the ‘weight loss’ approach. Even if we were all rail-thin, we’d probably have body issues. We’ve learned since childhood, from advertisers and those who believe them, that we are not okay the way we are. That’s the way it is for most women. It’s an issue created and driven by advertising.
My goal with my new blog, Walking Back Home, is to make my own struggle public. It isn’t about drawing attention to myself, because I don’t actually like that (contrary to how it might appear, since I write this blog). My reason for being ‘public’ about this is that I hope it will encourage me to stay on track. It’s easier to walk with a friend. It’s easier to work out with a friend. It’s easier to eat a healthy diet when eating it with others who eat a healthy diet.
My hope is that by writing about my struggles and efforts related to exercise and food, I will begin to do more of what I need to do to be healthy. I hope that by writing this new blog, I will take myself to a place of doing what I need to do to help myself return to my best physical self, and by doing that, keep myself healthy for decades to come.
Candy Bars for Breakfast
I spent much of the past year having a Snickers and a Mountain Dew almost every day, at least 3 or 4 times a week. Sometimes, I had more than one of each. And, more than once, I ‘rewarded’ myself (for what, I don’t recall) by stopping my Krispie Kreme and having one (or more) of their mouth-watering doughnuts. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and I continued to pretend there would be no bad result of so many empty calorie consumed while spending endless hours sitting and listening to lectures, or sitting at my computer.
One Pound Per Month
I think I gained about a pound a month over the past year. That’s a lot of weight. I know it’s possible to gain more than that, but that was without doing anything ‘excessivly excessive’. Once before, when I was in Oklahoma, I lived a mile from a Braum’s Ice Cream store. I really like milkshakes, and I could easily use half of a box of ice cream in a huge milkshake. I also enjoyed the variety of flavors they had. So, at one point, I ate a container of ice cream every other day for a month. I did it because could, because I wanted to, and because it tasted good. I quit after I gained about ten pounds in a month. I think I lost those ten pounds later, or most of them, but I don’t remember now.
Easy On, Not-So-Easy Off
The number beside the letters BMI (body mass index) are bigger than they should be. If I were the size that goes with my ‘healthy’ BMI, I’d “look like a stick”, or so I say. In reality, I’d be slim, and I’d look healthy. I do not, in any way, endorse ‘fad diets’. I’m not even fond of most of the ‘diet’ books and ‘diet’ companies.
Weight Loss vs Good Health
What I am looking for is good health. I have been lucky enough to be healthy for my entire life to this point, in spite of my poor choices in nutrition. I’ve probably eaten enough good (healthy) food to counter-balance a lot of my ‘bad food’ choices. But, I’m also at the point where the balance is tipping, and it’s not tipping in the ‘healthy’ direction. So, it is imperative that I make changes now, and make them lifestyle changes, not ‘fad diet’ changes. My goal is good health, from this point forward, not weight loss (although that will happen if I change how I eat and how much I move).
Driving at Night
The other night, I was driving down a road where there was a stretch of nothing but businesses. The fast food signs were large and bright, advertising their specials.
I said to my friend, “They should just say, ‘Let us help you kill yourself.’”
Sugar and Fat
We both eat too much and exercise too little. Way too many people in this country do that. I hope that people in other countries, those who think life is better in the USA, don’t take on our unhealthy habits. We eat too much. We move too little. We’re getting fat. We’re developing heart disease and diabetes. We’re developing high blood pressure and having heart attacks and brain attacks (strokes).
Advertising Changes Behavior
Some people like to say that advertising does not influence decisions people make. Even a brief look at the advertising industry in this country shows evidence to the contrary. We buy what is advertised. That’s why companies spend billions on advertising. They know that no matter what we say, we ARE influenced by ads. (This is why the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of unlimited campaign contributions and advertising by businesses was so wrong. Likewise, the recent ruling, by elected officials, that elected officials are not acting unethically to steer contracts to contributors is also wrong.)
Feeding Us to Death
If our enemies want to kill us, or even merely control us, all they have to do is feed us to death. We are willing slaves to advertising. We willingly buy fast food, even though we know very little of it is good for us. We willingly move to a larger size for a small price, even though that little bit extra every time adds pounds and cholesterol we may never be rid of. We buy snacks and drinks out of the vending machines that are located in almost every place we go. We buy huge boxes of food (often with questionable nutritional value) from warehouse stores. We are willing sheep, following as we are directed by availability and advertising, traveling as a group to our own individual early graves.
It’s Not Too Late
We, as a nation, are puffing up like balloons. This is no slur on big people. I’m talking to myself, too. I am concerned for myself, and for you. I see every day what inattention to health (including good nutrition and exercise) can do to the body. I see in my own body that all it takes to gain weight is just to eat what I want, whenever I want. And, the irony of that is that I don’t even think I eat “that much”.
Do You Mind?
I ask her every time. I email her what I’ve written, or I tell her what I’m going to say, and I ask if it’s okay to quote her. I don’t want to use her comments without her permission.
I See Her Often
We lived in the same town before, for most of my life, actually, but I was away for awhile, and now I’m back. I try to see my parents as often as I can. I’m in that ‘sandwich’ generation, the one they say is caught between the needs of their parents and the needs of their children.
It’s Not So Much About Needs
I moved back home, back to the same town, with the goal of spending time with my parents before they needed me. I did not want to come back only because they might need my help. I wanted to be able to enjoy them while they did not need me.
I Asked If She Read My Recent Posts
Sometimes, after I’ve written a new post, I email it to a few family members and friends. My mom was on the short list for the new posts for myhealthblogs blog (this one, Walking Back Home). I saw her this evening, and I asked if she read the new posts. Yes, she did. Did she see where I’d quoted her? Yes. Was it okay with her? Yes. In fact, she said, she was pleased that I had remembered what she’d said.
Don’t Be the Smallest One
She did not tell me not to have friends who were bigger than me. She said that I should also have some friends who were not bigger than me. Why? Because I’d not realize how big I was if I was with people who were bigger than me. And, she wanted me to think smaller (for my own body), not bigger. I do think it was all about health. She doesn’t usually seem to worry about things, but my eating habits have been on her radar for most of my life.
Milk and Ice Cream Every Day
When I was growing up, I drank milk like there would be no tomorrow. I ate ice cream that way, too, way into my adult years. I never made the connection between milk and my stuffy nose until I was in my twenties when I saw an allergy specialist. But, I don’t regret the great pleasure I took in whole milk and ice cream. My bones are strong, and I’m sure that is partly due to all the Calcium and Vitamin D I consumed in my formative years.
Peanut M&Ms for Three Months
When my mom said it was okay to quote her, and said she’d read the first three posts for my Walking Back Home blog, she made another quotable suggestion. She asked, “Are you going to write about the time you ate Peanut M&Ms for three months?” I told her I did not remember doing that, but I totally believe I might have done that. She reminded me that I bought LOTS of huge bags of Peanut M&Ms with a plan to give them away. But, since I didn’t want to prepare food to eat, I just ate Peanut M&Ms for three months. I don’t specifically remember that, but if it is not true in every detail, it’s probably close.
Recent After-Valentine’s Day Sale On Candy
I did something similar recently. I went into a drug store to buy a gift for a friend who was in the hospital. They had Valentine’s Day Peanut M&Ms on sale, so I bought some, of course. But, in my usual way, I did not buy a simple small package. I bought a big bag of each of two color schemes so that my friend could select which one she wanted. And, I bought a second bag of each color scheme for myself. As it turned out, my friend was not able to eat candy, and I ended up with four big bags of Peanut M&Ms. I ate one on my way home (a two hour drive). I gave two bags to my mom. (Maybe I did that. I’m remembering it that way. More likely, I gave her one bag and ate the other one.) And, I ate the fourth bag while writing blog posts. Yes, she was probably remembering correctly, and I probably did live on Peanut M&Ms for three months at some point in my life. I could probably totally enjoy doing something like that now, too. But, I don’t plan to ever do something like that again (assuming I really did do that!) ;)
No Peanut M&Ms tonight
I don’t have any more. That’s probably a good thing, because if I had them, I’d want to eat them. And, I probably would eat them, too! That makes me lucky, I guess. I’m lucky I do not have any Peanut M&Ms tonight. Since I don’t have any, maybe I’ll just go to sleep. Really! At least, I’ll give it my best effort.
I’m A Night Person
It’s more normal for me to be awake late at night than early in the morning. I guess I was made that way. From what I’ve been told, I was that way by the time I learned to walk.
Out of Sync With the Rest of the World
I’ve never minded being a night owl. In the past, I’ve thought of it as my time for ‘creative work’. Even now, I tend to write blog posts in the wee hours when I’m not sleeping.
The Magic of Benadryl
I’ve used Benadryl to help me sleep when I’ve needed to go to sleep in order to wake up early the next day (or else risk being up all night and getting no sleep at all). I’ve treated it like a magic pill. But, I read somewhere a few months ago that it can inhibit the ability to remember information, so it’s not a good idea to take it when studying. In the past couple of weeks, I found more information on it that said that when used long-term, it can affect the brain in ways that look like memory loss or dementia. I’m paraphrasing here, but it was enough to convince me that I need to stop using it to put me to sleep more than once in a while.
So, I’m Awake … All Night Long
I hope I won’t be awake all night long, but I’m writing this post at 3am, and I’ll be surprised if I’m asleep before 430am. And, I’m supposed to be awake and meeting classmates to study at 10am. We met at 10 am today (yesterday) after I was awake for about three hours in the middle of the night. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. (I hope I never really know what that feels like.!) It took several tall refills of Panera’s coffee before I felt fully human again. By 8pm, I could barely move, and I fell asleep on the couch for about an hour. Now, I’m up again, and I’m showing no signs of slowing.
Why Does This Happen?
The obvious reason for my insomnia, my best guess, is a mixture of having a ‘night owl’ nature, and working a whole string of overnight shifts recently. I don’t work any set shift. I just work now and then, when they need me. But, when I worked recently, I worked overnight, and I did parts of five nights in a row. So, it should not surprise me that I either cannot fall asleep, or I wake up in the middle of the night.
What Am I Going To Do Now?
What can I do now? How can I go to sleep at any reasonable hour, now that I’m trying to avoid the Benadryl? I still think it’s a great drug and it works wonders. But, if the literature I read is correct, it should only be used infrequently. That takes it away as an easy 3-or-4-times-a-week sleep aid. (sigh)
Pretending to Sleep Put Me to Sleep (at least one time)
Last night, I was able to go to sleep on my own and quickly. Maybe it was because I was exhausted from working close to 60 hours during the middle of the night. That would be a very good reason. But, I told myself this was the reason. I lay down and closed my eyes and pretended I was asleep. I don’t really know what that means. But, that’s what I told myself I was doing. I decided to pretend to sleep. Maybe it worked. I was asleep in less than one minute!
Sleep Schedules and Physical Health
It seems to be a given that people who work night shifts are physically all out of sorts, or can be easily, because of the messed up sleep cycle. I’ve read that working nights also weakens the immune system, makes people more prone to disease, and shortens the life span. That would not surprise me. I have no sources to quote, so consider these comments anecdotal and third-party, at best. But, that’s why I’ve not been jumping to work a night shift in my next job. The shift pay for working nights is sweet, but I’m trying to look down the road and imagine my physical health. Will I be healthier if I work a day shift or if I work a night shift? I’m guessing days are easier on the body and long-term health. This exhaustion and insomnia are certainly running me down in the short-term.
Another New Blog
I’ve started another new blog. My goal is to help myself change direction and become more healthy as time passes, rather than less healthy. My first post was the last post on this blog, Living Well Until We Die. This post includes my second post on Walking Back Home.
Why I’m Here
I wrote this as my ‘about’ page, but it’s really just a post that explains my purpose in starting Walking Back Home on Health Blogs. (If you want to write about health, you can sign up for a free blog on healthblogs.org.)
Why Am I Here?
No, I’m not asking an existential question. I finally quit asking that question a few years back, maybe in a previous decade of my life. I used to try to figure out the meaning of existence, of my existence. There are many possible answers, some based in religion, some based in science, and some random thoughts of friends like the one who said, “I don’t wonder about the meaning of existence. There is no meaning.”
It Is What It Is
Whenever it was that I decided I did not need to know why I was here, I gained a certain freedom to live without trying to figure it all out. I’m still prone to asking questions that are too big for answers, once in awhile, but more often now I try not to ask those questions. It seems so much easier to simply want to do something good before I die.
“Why” Reduced to a Pithy Saying
I like the saying that says, “If one person breathed easier, because you lived, you did not live in vain.” Or, something like that. But, seriously, I don’t want to look back on my life at some future point and think of all the wasted potential. Ha! I don’t even want to look back on my life now and think of all the wasted potential! That’s too depressing!
Missed Opportunities, New Opportunities Ahead
I have lost many opportunities in my life by being afraid to discover what I really cared about and by not being willing to live my life to the fullest. I have been afraid, far too many times, to take chances and put myself on the line. I have been indecisive, and I have never been entirely sure what I should do with my life. And, the years have continued to slip away behind me. Unfortunately, I’m still that way to some degree. But, in spite of my self-doubts and indecision, I’ve plowed along.
Remembering My Grandmother’s Garden
I’m thinking of walking barefoot in the dirt field that was beside my grandmother’s house. It was bigger than the entire piece of land my current house sits on. My grandmother worked hard, and planted, and hoed, and weeded, and harvested and canned vegetables. I only visited. I did not live there. But, at least once or twice I had the opportunity to walk behind the horse my uncle used to plow that garden.
My Life as a Garden
I’m thinking about my life as a garden, a huge field. I’ve been walking behind an old, slow horse that’s wearing a collar and pulling a plow with a single blade. I’ve been plowing that field, behind that horse, slowly, up one row and down another. It’s taken my whole life to be who I am now. That’s nothing profound. It’s true for each of us. We are who we are in this moment. We have behind us what has been. We have before us what will be. All we can know is that we have a piece of land (who we are, and how we live). We can till and fertilize the soil, and plant, weed, and water the new growth. We can thin out the parts that aren’t worth keeping. It takes a tremendous amount of work. We can just let it go, and let it grow however it will. Or, we can work the garden. As with a garden, there is much that is up to me, and there is much that is beyond my control.
So, Why Am I HERE, On Healthblogs?
Well, for one thing, I know the person who started healthblogs.org, and she’s been asking me to blog here for years. But, I’m not really doing it for her. If I were, I would have done it years ago. I’m doing it now, because I want to find a way to hold myself accountable for what will happen next in the ‘garden’ of my life, at least in the areas that depend on me for making the right choices and taking the right actions.
I’m at a point in my life where I need to do more than know that I need to move more and eat less. It’s not really about food or fat or diets. It’s about health. I’ve eaten what I wanted for long enough that my BMI is higher than it should be, and my cholesterol is creeping up. I’ve lived more in my head than in my body for most of my life, and I’ve thought about being physically active way more than I’ve ever been physically active. I’ve valued the life of the mind. But, even that life is at risk if I let inactivity and wrong foods, or too much of my favorite foods, take away my physical health.
I See It All the Time. It’s Time to Make It Personal
I work in health care. I can look at myself, and those I work with (other employees), and see people who do not take care of their bodies. We carry too much weight. Our feet and knees and hips hurt. Look at us, and you’ll see people who walk with a limp or some kind of adjustment to gait, trying to manage to work 12 hours on concrete floors. We eat junk food and take-out. We work long, hard hours. We abuse our bodies trying to take care of other people who have abused their bodies. Believe me, when I help you, after you have abused your body for your entire life, I am putting my own body at risk. I have to constantly remember to ‘work smart’ and use good body mechanics in order to avoid hurting myself while trying to help someone who cannot help himself or herself.
A Matter of Perspective
I’ve not been my ideal weight for decades. I’ve not been grossly out of range, but I’ve let it creep up. It’s easy to feel small and healthy when the people you know are bigger and less healthy. I’ll give you an example. Several years ago, I briefly tried to live in a healthier way. (This is something I’ve done off and on throughout my entire life. I’ve tried to think of it as being healthier, not as dieting. I’ve just tried to change the way I eat, and that’s usually lasted a short time, before I’ve returned to eating the foods I wanted to eat.) I must have lost ten or fifteen pounds. My neighbor and friend, someone who weighed more than one hundred pounds more than I did, said, “You’re anorexic! Have a hissy (hysterectomy), and then you can eat all you want.” I still do not know exactly what she meant, because I was bigger than two anorexic women combined, and I don’t know how a gynecologic surgery would lead to the opportunity for unlimited eating without consequences. But, that friend was always good for interesting comments and memorable stories, so it did not matter if it made sense to me. It made sense to her, so I filed it away, and eventually I went back to my less-than-healthy, or at least inconsistently healthy, food choices.
Is It Not Too Late For Me?
After my bigger-than-me friend insisted I was anorexic, my mom suggested I get to know some people who were smaller than me, so I’d not be able to feel small beside them. She was not saying anything bad about my bigger friends. She was trying to get me to see that my perspective was warped by my environment. She made a good point about how we make choices, and how we rationalize behavior. Much of how we see ourselves is based on our experiences and our perception of the world around us. When people decide to change behaviors, they have to change environments. When people want to stop drinking, they have to stop going to bars. But, how can we stop eating too much of the wrong kinds of food? We can’t just stop being around food. If we live in a world where we are all eating too much and exercising too little, it seems like the normal thing to do. So, how can we change? How can I change?
Why I’m Here, Revisited
This brings me back to why I’ve decided to write this blog. I’ve signed up for healthblogs.org, because I’m not very good at taking action. I’m a procrastinator. I’m not very good at doing what I need to do for ME. I’m good at taking care of other people. I’m not so good at taking care of myself. I’ve seen what not taking care of oneself does to the body. I’ve seen the damage done by people who did not mean to hurt themselves, good people who just lived their lives and ended up with all kinds of health problems. There is no reason for me to end up that way. I have seen what happens when people don’t take care of themselves. Why do I still eat things that will increase my body mass, my cholesterol, my triglycerides, and my blood sugar? I do not currently have problems with all of those things, but I could, and I probably will if I do not make specific changes to take care of my body. I have seen the damage people have done to their bodies by living ‘normal’ (in this country and this culture) lives. I will have no excuse if I become a victim of my own inaction.
My Amazing Diet (2 weeks of my entire life)
I won’t ask you to exercise with me or change your eating habits. That is a personal decision that each of us must make for ourselves. I don’t even know if I will be able to do it. I know I should do it. I know I need to do it. I know how I felt in the past when I was my best body size and my most fit. I know how I felt in the past when I ate an amazing diet (specific food choices, not ‘weight loss diet’) that I’ll write about some day. I’ll probably try to eat that way again, with the food choices that made me feel so amazing. I only ate that way for two weeks of my entire life, and it was almost twenty years ago, but it was so good, and so amazing, I still talk about it. Why have I not eaten in that amazing way for all this time, knowing how good it made me feel? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe it has been a combination of inertia and eating foods I really enjoy (with lots of fat and sugar and salt in them). Those foods that treat us so badly taste so good.
My Invitation to You
For most of my life, I’ve taken the easy route. Now, I’m trying to change direction and change the future course of events. I invite you to walk with me, and keep me company, as I begin walking back home to my best and healthiest self.
The ‘Best’ in the World
For so long, the USA has been considered ‘the most powerful nation in the world’. I suppose we still have that title, but we have to think twice about it these days, with so much of our real estate, business and debt owned by other countries. We’re still big and strong as a military power, but we’re struggling to keep that status, too. (I wish we could build schools and hospitals and assist with clean water and self-sufficient farming, more than fighting wars, but that may be just my ‘peace, justice, and equality’ dream. I am happy to know that we still do good things for countries facing emergencies (recently Haiti, and now Chile). But, this isn’t what I intended as my topic for this post.)
Is More Always Better?
What I’m thinking about right now is how being ‘the best’ is not always such a good thing. In the past century, we became a super-power. We had so much of everything. We, as a nation, had an overwhelming major helping of the wealth in the world. There are many people in this country who are currently struggling financially, and food and shelter have become primary considerations as discretionary income has disappeared for many. But, we are still a nation, for the most part, of people who have easy access to plenty of food (processed, fried, fat, sugared) and other chemical pleasures (tobacco, alcohol, drugs of every variety) and leisure (most of which requires nothing more of us than watching or participating with keyboards or remote control devices).
Being the ‘Best’ Is Killing Us
Having nearly unlimited access to food, drink and non-physical leisure activities might feel like living in the lap of luxury, or at least sitting on the couch watching tv while eating pizza or chips. But, our faster and easier way of life is taking us to a collective early grave. There’s really no original thought in this idea, but it’s something I think about often. We’re almost all overweight. We are not physically fit. We work, if we’re fortunate enough to be employed, in jobs where we do very little physical labor. We use food and other substances to solve every kind of problem we think we have. And, it’s killing us.
Genetics vs Personal Choice
I’m lucky enough to have some great (healthy) DNA from at least part of my ancestry. I came from people who worked hard, lived long, and died at an old age. I supposed that gave me a false sense of security and longevity. When I was younger, I looked at the ‘old heads’ and believed I’d be like them, living ‘forever’. It was only when I reached the years I used to think of as ‘middle aged’ that I began to think about my own mortality. Age + Work (taking care of people who have many physical problems) = Thinking more about the limitations of the physical body. Some people get sick through no action of their own. But, for most of us, and I am trying to make myself listen, there is so much we do that hastens ill-health, and so much more we could be doing to make ourselves healthy and keep ourselves healthy.
I Enjoy Food and Relaxation
I don’t think of myself as ‘piggy’ and ‘lazy’, but there is irrefutable proof (in my physical body) that I eat more than I need to live, and I do less physical work than is necessary to stay healthy, strong and fit. (I gained weight over the past year while I was in school about forty hours a week. And, I did not exercise regularly.) Why? I know better. Why do I not do better? It is easy for me to see how tobacco and excessive use of alcohol can destroy lives. Why do I not turn the mirror to myself and see that too many calories and too little physical activity have the potential to destroy my life? Too much of the wrong foods, and too little exercise, can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Why in the world would I eat too much and exercise too little when I know those behaviors could lead to future health problems?
I’ll Do It Tomorrow
I’ve lived my life eating what I pleased. It did not matter if it was fried, or sweet, or had more calories than I could possibly use in a reasonable time span. When I was younger, it did not matter. I could feel my bones, and I was lean enough. I was strong. I could do what I wanted. And, I ate what I wanted, and I did as much or as little as I wanted. Mostly, I’ve done as little as I wanted, not requiring myself to be physically active to keep in shape.
So, What’s the Point?
The point is that what we do for years and years without consequence will eventually bite us. And, how bad that bite is may be a matter of luck, but more likely it’s a bite we don’t notice until it’s so bad we can’t repair it. In this country, food and drink and tobacco and leisure have been available to us all for so long they’ve become part of our mindset. We don’t even notice how unhealthy we are. We don’t even realize we’re killing ourselves.
What Am I Going to Do About It?
What am I going to do about it?That’s a good question. A few months ago, a doctor I’d never seen before told me I need to exercise. I asked, “You mean I should lose weight?” He said, “You should not gain any more weight.” He pointed out how “unhealthy” people are where I work. He pointed out that I don’t need to be like so many others, becoming unhealthy while they help others who are not healthy. More recently, another doctor told me much the same thing. “What are you going to do about it?” My life of eating what I enjoy and using my mind more than my body have brought me to a place where I need to either make some specific changes (eat differently and exercise more) or begin developing physical problems (the way we all do when we eat too much and exercise too little).
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love You Tomorrow
I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll start tomorrow. I have to finish the xxx in my refrigerator. But, I just bought xxx. I guess it’s like not wanting to throw out cigarettes if you smoke or not wanting to get rid of alcohol if you’re going to stop drinking. How do you give up food? Pretty easily, in theory, if what you need to give up is the ‘too much’ aspect, or the candy and doughnuts and soft drinks aspect. It’s just not that easy. I wonder how the craving for sugar compares to the craving for nicotine, or any other substance one might try to quit. I’ve been telling myself for the past week that I’d start a new way of eating ‘tomorrow’. Then, I forgot to take my lunch to work, and I met my classmates to study in a place that sells food, and I wanted a quick pick-me-up at work and bought a candy bar.
Psychological vs Physical? Psychological + Physical?
Is the difficulty in quitting things that are bad for us psychological or physical? Is it a little of both? Just as prisons are no deterrent for most people who commit crimes, the distant specter of ill-health is no deterrent to most of us in this country. We don’t think about the possibility of developing diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. We don’t think about increasing our risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and dementia. It certainly has not gotten me into a good exercise plan or a better way of eating. What is wrong with me? I know exactly what I need to do. I have a very specific plan. Why is it so hard to do it? Is it inertia? What will it take to get me over the as-it-is-now way of doing things and into the how-it-needs-to-be way?
Just Do Something. Anything.
All I need to do is something, anything. All I need to do is start. All I need to do is to make one little change, and then another. But, not yet, not until after I finish the chocolate chip cookie dough and the ice cream. Funny. But, not funny. Hmmmm.
When I was a child, I often heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Why do we not hear that saying anymore? It is still true that healthy foods can keep us healthy. But, in our current culture and society, we are more inclined not to take care of ourselves and then look for medications to solve our health problems.
I greatly appreciate the knowledge and skill of health care providers, those who assess, diagnose, and prescribe and those who reset bones and do surgeries and remove ‘bad’ things. These are things I grew up with, and these are things I believe in.
Which Is Better?
So, which is better? What should we do? Should we try to prevent illness and disease, or should we go to doctors when we are sick? Well, if you ask me … and, you did not, I know! … we need both! It is clear that we are killing ourselves with what we eat, what we drink, what we inhale, and how little we move. And, we make it worse by worrying, feeling stressed, and letting things make us angry.
Can We Just Start Over?
What if we just start over? Can we do that? Can we stop for a minute and look at how we are living and then adjust ever-so-slightly and see how if feels? What if we drank one more glass of water each day and one less glass of sugary (or caffeinated or alcoholic) drinks? What if we ate one more apple or sweet potato each day and one less candy bar? What if we ate more fatty fish and less of other fatty meats (or, maybe no meat at all)? What if we ate dark green vegetables and avacados and whole grain breads and blueberries and olive oil? What if … ? The possibilities are almost endless, and I’m only thinking about food (not even reaching the point of moving instead of sitting for hours a day).
Can Food Be Medicine?
Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald thinks so. I don’t know her credentials, I only read her article. But, I like to consider any kind of primary prevention. I like the idea that we can take care of ourselves now and maybe avoid having to repair ourselves later. Dr. F published an article recently on Huffington Post entitled Let Food Be Thy Medicine: Top 10 Healing Foods Of The Decade.
Many fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed whole foods have properties that can benefit our health. Studies in the past decade have taken nutritional research beyond protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Chemicals in the plants called phytochemicals have been a specific focus in the past decade, offering benefits such as cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, and hormone regulation, to name a few.
Dr. F’s Top 10 Super-Foods
Spices – Turmeric, Cinnamon, Ginger
What’s So Great About Those Foods?
Read it for yourself, and see! ;) Let Food Be Thy Medicine: Top 10 Healing Foods Of The Decade
PS – My Mom Said …
I wrote this while visiting, and read this to my mom when I finished writing it. She said, “Is that something you’re going to post?” I said yes, and she said, “It’s easier to give advice than to take it, isn’t it?” I laughed out loud and asked if I could quote her. She gave permission. It’s true. I know the right things to do, but I do not do the right things enough of the time. I am definitely talking to myself with what I have written here. (Today, I ate both healthy food and junk food. And, I sat for most of 8 hours at school, and I’ve been sitting for most of the past 4 hours. I am definitely one who needs to “eat right and move more.”)
On the Last Day
I was in her town for parts of four days. I called her the third day, twice, but no one answered or returned my calls. On the fourth day, I made phone calls until I found someone who told me she was in the hospital. I stopped by to see her, soon after that call, on my way out of town.
Close to the End
I did not recognize her from the door, and I asked the nurse to be sure I was entering the right room. She was alone. Her face was covered with an oxygen mask. Her eyes were closed. She looked so different from the last time I saw her when she was smiling and gracious in her home.
Can’t They DO Something?
She appeared to be sleeping. I could hear her breathing from where I stood, but she did not seem to be in any distress. I felt distressed looking at her. Can’t someone DO something to HELP her? She’s going to DIE! I set my coat on the chair, and took her hand in mine. I thought her eyes opened slightly, but she did not move or speak. I let go of her hand and she raised it up and moved it around, so I held it again, and it felt like she was holding my hand.
They Were In and Out
Her caretakers were in and out of the room. They did what health care workers do: dressing changes, vital signs, breathing treatments, exercising limbs, helping her sit up for a few minutes. The only thing she said was, “I’m so tired.” It was hard to hear her behind the mask. The people came in, one after another, sometimes two at a time. Her eyes stayed closed, but she stated her name and birthdate when they asked.
They Finally Left
When they finished all that had to be done, they indicated that I was free to visit. I moved the straight-backed chair to the other side of the bed, and sat down beside her, so I could talked to her. It was the first time I had talked to her since I’d arrived. There had been so much commotion. When they’d asked who I was, I’d said, “I’m a friend.” I still did not know if she’d opened her eyes enough to see me, or if she knew it was me. But, she’d responded “appropriately” when they’d asked her questions, so I knew she was awake and alert.
My Last Words
I felt so sad. I knew, believed, that she did not have long to live. I told her who I was, in case she’d not seen me and recognized me. I told her, “I finished my (school) program a week ago today. I’ve been visiting (a friend). I just found out where you were today, and I wanted to see you.” I also told her, “I brought you some M&Ms, but you don’t seem like you feel good enough to eat them.” I believed I heard a ‘no’. I also believed I heard a ‘no’ when I asked if she was hurting.
I Love You
I told her, “I want you to know I love you.” I told her I had to leave, but I would return. She said, “tomorrow?” I said, “No. I have to go home today. Will you be here next week? I will try to come back to see you next week.” She tried to answer. She said things I could not understand.
Close to My Heart
I felt so sad. I did not believe she would be there in a week. I felt like I should not leave, but my time was up. I knew if she was still alive in a week, I would come and sit with her and hold her hand. She seemed to want the company. I did not want her to die alone. I was crying. “I will always hold you close to my heart.” I was thinking, “I have to go, but I do not want you to feel alone. I don’t know if you will die before I return. What if I never see you again? I want you to know what you mean to me.” I said, “I will always hold you close to my heart.”
She Touched My Life
She was someone who touched my life when I was very young. She was a favorite adult for all my life, even though I never found her again to know her again until a year ago, over forty years later. Of course neither of us looked the same. We took a picture together. She said, “I look so old.” I thought, “Me, too.” She was a young adult when I was a young child, and something in the way she treated me stayed with me for my entire life. Something about her was so special that I carried the memory of her in my heart for my entire life.
Because of You
Here she was, in a hospital bed, too tired to have her eyes open, too tired to move, too tired to live. I have worked with many people who were dying. I think I know dying when I see it. I was so sad thinking the treatments would not bring her back this time. I was crying. I said, “The world is a better place because of you.” She responded. She said something like, “That’s something that’s good to hear.” I wanted her to know. I had told her before, but I wanted her to know it again before she died. She touched my life when I was very young. She made a lasting impression. I wish I could have known her all my life, but things don’t always work out the way we might imagine. I was so grateful to have found her again in the past year.
Her Last Words
She said things to me, but I don’t know what she said. I could not understand the words from behind the oxygen mask. The only things I understood that she said to me were, “Tomorrow?” when I said I had to leave, but I would be back, and her response when I said the world is better because of her. I have no idea what else she said to me.
Plans to Return
I had hoped that she would respond to treatments, and get better. But, I was afraid it was too late for anything else to help. I made plans to go back this week for three days to sit with her, but I looked at the obituaries every day for the news I did not want to find.
My Mother Told Me
I visited my parents in the late evening, and my mother said, “I have some sad news. (She) died.” I told my mom about our last visit, and we both cried. I said, “I should have stayed. I should have stayed one more day.” If I had realized she really was in her last hours, I probably would have changed my travel plans to stay with her as long as she wanted. I am so grateful that I was able to spend some time with her on her last full day on earth. I am so grateful that I was able to say goodbye in a way that let her know I loved her and would miss her, but will remember her always.
Our Loss Is Her Gain
I wish I had known her all the years in between my childhood when she touched my life and her last year when we met again. I only knew her for parts of two years of my life. I imagine that those who knew her and loved her for many years were blessed exponentially by how wonderful she was. My friend in that town only met her once, but she made such an impression that she is mourning her loss, too.
Don’t Ever Underestimate the Value of Your Love
Don’t ever underestimate the value of your love: your kindness, your thoughtfulness, your gentleness, your smile, your laughter, your words of encouragement, your support, your shoulder to cry on, your inspiration … all the good that you do. Don’t ever imagine that your life has no purpose. If you have ever been kind to a child, you have done a good thing in this world. If you have spent your life living in a loving way, you have added much value to this world. If you give a child a reason to believe in herself, or himself, you have done a wonderful thing. Don’t ever underestimate the value of your love.
I Was Not Talking About Gossip
I don’t like to be the subject of gossip, and I don’t particularly want to hear the gossip either. I don’t like to be clueless about the world around me, but I don’t want to be part of the negative swirl either. And, if someone is quick to say bad things about other people who are not around, what do they say about me when I’m not around?
Trying to Remember Why This Is Important
Well, of course it’s important. But, why did it come to mind? It just occurred to me. I don’t know what I was thinking about. For some reason, I thought about how I say that every so often. “I love a good story.”
Maybe I’ve Been Slow to Learn
Do you ever look back over your life in a flash-back kind of a way and just have a glimpse, a snapshot of moments in your past? Sometimes I cringe when I think of how something I did or said may have hurt someone. If we’re all students in the school of life, it is filled with lessons, and there is a lot of homework. And, I’m still learning.
I Like the Self-Told About-Self Stories
I admit, I don’t tell enough stories on myself. But, I do enjoy a good story. I like to hear people tell their own stories. They don’t have to be funny stories, just tales about life as they experience it. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time surfing and reading blogs. It gives a glimpse into the lives of others, a glimpse into the other bubbles.
I Should Write A Book
I should do a lot of things. Writing a book is right up there with cleaning out my car and preparing a lunch to take to work tomorrow. I rarely make much progress. I like to write. I like to have food for lunch. I like to ride in a clean car. What I do better than anything is procrastinate. (sigh)
Jackson and Greene Made It Happen
Whatever else these two men had on their ‘to do’ lists, they managed to put writing this book at the top of their list for the required amount of time. Now, they have an article on Huffington Post based on the book.
I Agree With Some of What They Say
I don’t know how practical or possible it is for people to be their own bosses, but I do know that when you work for another person or company you give up much of your autonomy. You do what you are required to do in your job. You answer to the ones who write your paycheck. This reality has its good points and its bad points. I believe in having a good work ethic and doing your job well. But, that is not what “The 50th Law” is about. It is about working for yourself and controlling your own life.
Master of Your Own Fate
The 50th Law addresses why you need to be the master of your own fate. I’m sure I could spend a few hours reading it and nodding my head. I have not had the courage or confidence to strike out on my own and be my own boss. I have only imagined that world, and I have not imagined it enough to make it a reality. But, the reality is that most of us stay in work where we work for others, because of the ‘security’ it provides.
Collaboration and Team Work vs Independence and Self-Reliance
In times like these, when so many people are unable to find work, there is no real job security. Maybe this is a good time for a book like this which encourages us all to look within and depend on our own ingenuity. It’s a little difficult for me, because I’m currently working with the ‘team player’ and ‘collaboration’ way of thinking and working. So, I don’t know that this book fits my life at this time. But, for those who need that extra nudge to find the inner strength and confidence that would enable them to be their own boss, here are a few lines from the article about the book.
Excerpts from the Article about “The 50th Law”
When you work for others, you are at their mercy. They own your work; they own you. Your creative spirit is squashed. What keeps you in such positions is a fear of having to sink or swim on your own. Instead you should have a greater fear of what will happen to you if you remain dependent on others for power.
You came into this life with the only real possessions that ever matter — your body, the time that you have to live, your energy, the thoughts and ideas unique to you, and your autonomy. But over the years you tend to give all of this away. You spend years working for others — they own you during that period.
Before it is too late, you must reassess your entire concept of ownership. It is not about possessing things or money or titles. True ownership can only come from within.
Think of it this way: dependency is a habit that is so easy to acquire. We live in a culture that offers you all kinds of crutches — experts to turn to, drugs to cure any psychological unease, mild pleasures to help pass or kill time, jobs to keep you just above water. It is hard to resist. But once you give in, it is a like prison you enter that you cannot ever leave. You continually look outward for help and this severely limits your options and maneuverability.
Before it is too late, you must move in the opposite direction. You cannot get this requisite inner strength from books or a guru or pills of any kind. It can only come from you. It is a kind of exercise you must practice on a daily basis — weaning yourself from dependencies, listening less to others’ voices and more to your own, cultivating new skills.