Posted in about me, differences, know better do better, mental health

Traveling through life on a different train

This is something that I’ve thought of in defensive and angry contexts but am now thinking about when I’m not triggered…

Some people who I talk to totally understand weird crazy shit in my brain. I can talk about a reaction to something that I know isn’t a rational or logical reaction, and they get it.

Some people…don’t.

It’s fine that they don’t. In fact, how unsarcastically amazing for them that they can travel through life without this thing in their brain that makes them not react in unhealthy ways.

That wasn’t one of my cards. Am hyper-aware of that. Done lots of therapy. Am relentlessly working on myself and trying to heal wounds from decades past that keep getting ripped open by assholes present.

I suspect, at this point, that this will be a lifelong process.

Part of me is envious of people who don’t have this problem.

Part of me wonders if they’re just lacking self-awareness and don’t know they have this problem. (Unlikely.)

Part of me knows that they have other problems and we just don’t happen to talk about those, or those aren’t problems I have and am therefore not hyper-sensitive about, so they don’t set off the same reactions.

Part of me is grateful for my path, because while it has been really hard much more often than I’d like, it’s made me a hell of a person now. And I know that all hell I go through now or recently or soon will only serve to make me better.

Because I’m introspective. Because I’m resilient. Because I own my shit, learn from it the best I can in the moment, and move on to the extent that my crazy brain will let me.

Which is not to say that people who have had a mentally easier life can’t or don’t have any of those qualities—anyone could have any of those qualities. And the act of living through struggles doesn’t grant you introspection or learning—we all know people who have been through hell and are bitter, nasty, judgmental people as a result.

I was recently introduced to a podcast: Armchair Expert. Dax Shepard, a person I was previously unfamiliar with, chats with a different person each week. I’ve only listened to a few episodes, but I’m enjoying it. Easy on the brain, which is what I was looking for. (Most of my podcasts induce a lot of thinking, and I wanted something…different.)

Anyway, he sat with Jay Leno on a recent episode. What was striking to me about it was how differently they’ve experienced certain similar things. Dax points it out several times—”so that’s how a mentally healthy person thinks about that” (or similar). Which is what got me to thinking about it. Even though this is supposed to be a podcast that doesn’t make me think.

Oh well.

 

Posted in exercise, know better do better, physical health

Entropy

I’ve been a little bit sick—not enough to stay home in bed, but enough to be exhausted, not mentally sharp, and need extra sleep—and so for your Friday, I’m offering you something written but not by me.

I had this saved on my computer. It’s the text of an email several years old. I don’t know who wrote it. (I have a couple of guesses.) I apparently didn’t save the email, or, more likely, it was sent to an account that is no longer active. I loved what it said, copied, pasted, saved … and didn’t consider that I didn’t save the header.

But it’s fantastic. I love it. And I think you will, too. And if you know who wrote it, let me know. If you wrote it, let me know and I can credit you. (And if you don’t want it posted here, I’ll take it down.)

Without further introduction…

This New Year was subdued at our house. My wife’s parents suddenly have a flood of health problems. I’ll spare you the details, but the usual stuff, diabetes, arthritis, hip replacement and, unfortunately, cancer.

They’re in what I call a degenerative cycle. One condition feeds the other. It’s a challenging cycle to break out of.

On the flip side of that, there are regenerative cycles also. You make one positive health change, which triggers another and so on.

Here’s a critical difference between the two. Forgive me for going a little physics geek on you, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says that in a closed system, things move toward higher entropy. In other words, stuff naturally falls apart. It’s a fundamental law of nature.

People too. If you do nothing (i.e. a closed system) you fall apart, no effort required. That’s the driver for the degenerative cycle, entropy.

Regenerative cycles are a fight with entropy. Energy is required and, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says, you can’t do that in a “closed system.”

So, what does all that mean for your health?

Sitting still, doing nothing, is a bad plan. That’s the way of entropy, the path of “falling apart.”

A regenerative cycle is powerful. It’s like a glider catching an updraft, minimal effort, lots of reward. But it requires energy from outside to get it going and maintain it.

In health terms, outside energy can be many things; family and friends, religion, the food we eat or new ideas and information.

I don’t know what your inspiration will be, your “outside energy.” But, watching my in-laws as they struggle with their health, I’m acutely aware right now, the upward spiral is one heck of a lot better than the downward.

Seek your inspiration. Welcome outside energy. Find your upward spiral.

Do it today, old man Entropy never sleeps.

 

Posted in about me, know better do better, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Privilege

Every now and then, something crosses my path that rattles my thinking.

These are all examples of things that I had literally never thought about until someone else shared it.

• A post on Facebook pictured a wedding shop window display with a mannequin in a wedding dress in a wheel chair. The caption included, “it’s the first time I’ve ever seen disability portrayed in a shop window.”

• An article about Marie Kondo talked about people who blow back against her in ways that are racist against her and her culture, and that those people aren’t taking her in context.

• The same article talked about how the blowback against book decluttering is classist—both owning so many books and having the space to store them.

• “It’s a privilege to learn about racism instead of experiencing it your whole life!”

• The number of people who responded negatively to the following sentiment…and how they have no idea how lucky they are never to have been on the receiving end: “As Esquire editor Dave Holmes tweeted, ‘To anyone who’s ever been any kind of other, the goofy malice in that MAGA kid’s eyes is instantly recognizable.’”

What have you run into that gave you pause and made you consider—even if only for a moment—that you’re lucky that you’ve never had to think about that before?

Posted in meandering, thoughtfulness

Webinars

It’s been a while since I’ve attended a webinar. Nearly every one I’ve been to has been disappointing. Often, introductions are 10 or 15 minutes long. Content is thin, at best. I’m on board with selling your program at the end of the webinar, but I don’t think that your pitch should be longer than your content. And introductions don’t count as content.

So I gave up on them.

Mostly.

I went to one the other day—first one in years—on common mistakes in desert gardening, and it wasn’t the best way for me to spend that hour.

I did find out the common mistakes.

And the solution to each: don’t do that.

(I can’t imagine giving a webinar on mistakes in healthy living and letting the solution to each be “don’t do that.”)

Her course sounds like it might be good–and might go into more depth on trouble-shooting–but her webinar sounded like it would be good.

For me, this dissolves trust.

Friends, be assured that if I offer a webinar again, I will honor your time and include usable content.

Posted in audience participation, follow-up, food, physical health

Follow-up to the dinner post

Last week, I answered a reader question about dinner. Planning. Dealing with busy evenings. Dealing with low energy.

When I posted it to social media, I asked what others do for quick, easy meals. Here’s what people shared:

  • breakfast for dinner
  • We just had make your own taco night. Fry’s has great vegetarian already-seasoned meat crumbles you literally just put in a skillet and heat up for about 5-8 minutes. I cut up the black olives while it is heating and put out all the toppings and tacos/tortillas. The girls love this and it is so easy and quick! We also heat up black beans for those who may want them as well.
  • pizza on flour tortillas baked in the oven

Great ideas!