During our college days, veteran psychologist Guy Wolfkill often raised his index finger in a solemn admonition which came to make a lot of common sense to us. “If you want to live the fullest life for the longest time,” Dr. Wolfkill warned, “you must learn to sacrifice present pleasures for future benefits.” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it isn’t, at all. In fact, your daily habits are almost sacred to you, and your appetite is usually the most sacred of all.
Said less cleverly: If you are determined to have a genuinely happy life, you must pay the price. it is not expensive in dollars, but it is in sense. It comes only by self-control, not by luck or special blessing, except as you may have long-lived ancestors whose heritage of health may give you some advantage. And the better an ancestor you are–if you can look ahead that far–the more grateful your descendants will be for their heritage of health.
Wouldn’t it be great if science could discover a magic pill which would bring health to everyone! Or would it? We agree that our society would be in a much worse situation than it is if scientific discoveries had not added twenty years to our lives.
Yet medical science is baffled by new diseases it can neither explain nor cure. And it has made more than a few errors: drugs which have backfired with serious side effects and treatments which have killed more than cured. Would you welcome insights on some fundamentals of health which were given to man a long time ago, not only to remedy disease but also to prevent it–and early death?
Suppose you find that you can stop the knock in your car’s motor by either reducing its compression or buying a higher octane gasoline instead of your current brand. Which would you choose?
Julia and I hung out on the porch yesterday afternoon while Oliver recharged with a twenty-minute power nap (gawd, I wish that’s all it took for me to recharge…). While we were out there I drank my coffee and took in what was around me – the sun, the breeze, the earthy summer smells, the bubbly sound of children’s laughter drifting from nearby backyards, Julia pretending to water our flower graveyard garden – and I thought about all of the people in the world who will never get to sit on their porch and enjoy little things like these. I suddenly felt incredibly fortunate.
After dinner, before the kids and I left to meet Dave at work and trade cars so I could go on and get a massage, I wrote a little ditty about it: We were restless, but Oliver’s nap had us tied to the house. We decided on the porch, me with a coffee in one hand and the baby monitor in the other, Julia carefully carrying a bowl of Cheerios and apple slices. I settled in one of the elderly wicker chairs left by the previous owners and curled my hands around the warm mug while Julia darted up and down the porch, pointing out birds and flowers and such.
All the statistics say the same thing every year–the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. In my opinion, setting a goal weight by a certain date is stressful and can cause a major blow to your self-esteem. I’ve been there. I see the numbers on the scale say the same weight for a few weeks when I expect a loss, get frustrated and then my motivation goes out the window.
The smart thing is to set a goal that centers around a healthier lifestyle. For instance, rather than cutting out all junk food cold turkey, set a goal to eat an extra fruit (or at least one, in my case!) a day. Or stop buying white bread and buy whole grain or wheat (I’d do this but my hubby would freak out!) Once you stick to healthier alternatives, you’ll no longer want the junk you were used to!
I am personally setting a goal to work out at least 3 times a week. Hopefully, it will become normal for me and lead to other healthy choices and some weight loss. I have about 15-25lbs to lose but is that part of my resolution? NO! Because if all goes to plan, that will be the end result and I won’t be fussing over the number on the scale. As long as I reach my goal of exercise 3x per week, I’ve done my part.
Do you heed advice or throw caution to the wind when living as an expat in a foreign country? Just in Istanbul alone, I could write a series of books about stories of how expats get ripped off, but more than that, allow themselves to do so with the desire to save a buck. Recently, I’ve again observed this in action where a few questions ahead of time would have saved many headaches.
In June and July, I wrote a series on home crime, finding an apartment, and then moving. Oddly enough, one of my favorite writers for Today’s Zaman, Kathy Hamilton, wrote about her home invasion during this time too. Then on Monday this week, I marveled at her again, who evidently, doesn’t read my blog or heed advice. Well, maybe she’s just a fiction writer who spins a great story. If not, I understand her disappointment and pain. I noticed that she just went through a move from hell due to the movers.
Recently, I saw a local news story on the topic of toxins in the home. Although I have heard these concerns in the past, I personally haven’t looked into the issue with much detail. After seeing this news story, however, I knew I had to get more information.
I have done some searching online and am surprised at the lack of information that is provided on many products that are used every day to wash our homes, our bodies and store/cook our food. A lot of products we use in the house are alarmingly labeled as a health concern or have “no data provided”. Apparently, it’s not necessary for all chemicals to be tested before they are released to consumers. So, the assumption that if it’s being sold, it must be safe, isn’t always true.
Starting in about an hour, Dave’s summer vacation officially begins. He’s taken six days off of work, bringing his grand total of Days Off (including weekends) to eleven. He totally deserves it – he’s been swamped at work lately. But we haven’t been together for eleven days in a row since Oliver was born. Naturally, there are pros to having Dave off for eleven days:
The parent-to-child ratio will be even. This is big because I’m convinced some nights Julia sneaks into Oliver’s room so they can come up with ways to wear me down to the point where, if Julia were to ask if she and Oliver could play in traffic, I’d say yes.
There will be another adult warm body to assist me in pulling Oliver down from the ceiling furniture while hissing, “Oliver! Get down from there!”
Dealing with Oliver’s early morning mudslide shits will not be my sole responsibility.
The chances that Dave will take one – or both – of the children out during the day, giving me some glorious alone time, are high. (Are you reading this, Dave? Hint, hint…)
I might be able to sleep in a few mornings, which means I could take a walk on the wild side and stay up past 9.30pm. Rebel yell!