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Current Thoughts on Life Change

“The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.”–Dr. Samuel Johnson

Said another way:  the only thing in the world you can truly change is yourself.

And that job is plenty hard enough.  The focus of this blog, one of them anyway, is how to lock in the positive life changes I have made in the past few years–weight loss, healthier lifestyle, career change to name a few.  Here’s the update on where I stand since this blog began in September:

  • Exercise–after a month-long hiatus due to my needle in the toe incident, I am now back to working out daily.  I was running 18-22 miles a week in early October; still cannot run far without a lot of pain but am putting in the equivalent of about 12-14 miles a week of running by using the Arc Trainer at my gym.  My long layoff extended to weightlifting as well and I feel pretty weak but getting better everyday.  At semester’s end I will be meeting with Industrial Strength fitness trainers and will finally get a professional plan instead of half-assedly applying the latest workouts I see in magazines.
  • Diet–Thanksgiving was last week and I did an ‘OK’ not eating everything in sight.  I did however drink everything that didn’t have a goldfish swimming in it, which continues the theme I started in Chicago.  Beer, wine, vodka, gin, sambuca–none of these are low on calories and full of vitamins.  Sambuca I especially love, it’s like the black jelly beans of liquor.  People either love it or hate it and, sad to say, I love it.  All that aside, I have made strides in again eliminating refined flour, all sugar and simple starches from my diet.  Breakfast is back to oatmeal, lunch is small whole wheat sandwich or soup, dinner is small cut of meat, vegetables and brown rice.  Time to set a new weight goal, and to once again place my diabetes in the forefront of my mind.
  • Weight–speaking of weight, I am virtually level from where I was when I started this blog.  I find this hard to believe because I feel much more like a fat tub of goo than before.  I think this can be attributed to the lack of exercise, especially weightlifting.
  • Other Bad Stuff–I’ve been sneaking smokes, started after my injury.  I can feel it in my chest that it’s affecting me and my fitness level has been harmed because of it.  Time to put the clamps on again.
  • Family Life–Kids have maintained straight-A averages.  My wife and I have about 20 minutes of conversation a week due to our schedules; we hope to get away together for a few days at the end of the year but, even with discounted airfare provided by ‘buddy passes’, my medical bills will likely kill that plan.  My mother has mostly healed from her fall.  And after Thanksgiving, I can say I hate kids–yours, mine and anyone else’s.
  • Anything Else?–I’ve given up politics completely.  It was my sharpest focus for more than 20 years but it’s wasted energy right now and I need every bit of that I can grab.
  • School–The class that requires this blog is the one that keeps me up at night.  It’s a sisyphean task; it’s like standing on top of a ball and still trying to keep the plates of the rest of my life spinning.  Blog entries, Twitter, chats, readings, events, a 5 gallon bucket full of new terms and programs of which I’ve never heard much less operated, projects–I frankly don’t have that much to say to the world, at least not barked on command like a seal.  Just seeing if you read these posts, Dr. Mac–I actually love the class and the challenge, even if I’m not always up for it.

So my ass is not necessarily fatter but it is softer–insert your own joke here, and even THAT is a joke, perhaps a better one.  My kids see Mom and Dad work like Japanese beavers and for the moment at least are emulating us.  Having both my wife and I in school sucks even more than I’d have thought.  Time to lay off the alcohol, pasta, potatoes and smokes and get back to running and soccer and generally looking and feeling better than 90% of the people my age.

To echo “Blazing Saddles”, Dr. Samuel Johnson’s right: the only thing I can change is myself.  But more than that, I believe the best, most honest and true motivation for doing so is also myself.  My kids, wife, family and friends may benefit from the necessary changes I make or they may not.  They may benefit greatly and not even recognize it.  That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t give up smoking because it might enable him to live to see his grandkids; it means he should give up smoking because it is good for HIM, not because it is good for someone else.

Life changes motivated by how we wish others to view or feel about us are doomed to fail.  Why?  Because others will never appreciate the efforts and struggles enough to satisfy us.  The foundations for true change lie only within ourselves.

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  1. December 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Oh yes. Yes I do. (insert snarky emoticon here).

    RE: “School–The class that requires this blog is the one that keeps me up at night. It’s a sisyphean task; it’s like standing on top of a ball and still trying to keep the plates of the rest of my life spinning. Blog entries, Twitter, chats, readings, events, a 5 gallon bucket full of new terms and programs of which I’ve never heard much less operated, projects–I frankly don’t have that much to say to the world, at least not barked on command like a seal. Just seeing if you read these posts, Dr. Mac–I actually love the class and the challenge, even if I’m not always up for it.”

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