I was up at 4AM this morning. Yesterday was a rough day, and I didn’t sleep well. That’s unusual for me, because I generally sleep like a baby. But I was confronted by an unusual amount of angst yesterday, and I am having trouble putting it into perspective. I just don’t get why so many people are miserable. I am running into fewer and fewer people who really enjoy what they are doing. It’s more than a shame, it’s a waste [and waste is the original sin].
As Fr. John Sturm always beat into my head, you only get one shot at life – so you better enjoy it. I’ll always remember how much he enjoyed [and believed in] the title of the book we created from his weekly homilies “Life is a Dance, Not a Dress Rehearsal.”
You don’t need anything but an appreciation for the gift of life to make every day the best day of your life. We are all going to be dead for a very very very long time, so let’s make certain we are enjoying the brief time we’ve been given [by either some incredible cosmic fluke or by your own version of god].
In the big picture, life is incredible. What a time to be born? And what a place to be born in? When we look back 12,000 years ago, the world population was only an estimated 15 million people, and since then there have been 100 billion of us who have taken a shot at life on Earth [93 billion of whom have passed on after living to varying degrees of happiness]. In the Bronze Age, the average life expectancy was only 26 years, while today it has climbed to almost 70 [with life expectancy in Japan leading the way at 84+ years]. Not surprisingly, women are now outliving men by an average of 5 years.
Seventy plus years is a long time to go without enjoying it all.
Currently, there are 7 billion of us still navigating the adventure of life with an average age of 30 [which puts me at double the average age]. So, when you look at the predicament that most of the 100 billion people have been born into over the course of time, being born in the United States during the middle of the 20th century was an incredible stroke of good fortune. I try to never lose sight of that fact. And, although we can always make life better, it’s important to appreciate just how lucky we are.
This morning I am refocusing on making life better. It starts with my personal health and well-being, and from there I need to focus on my family, work, friendships, and community.
About a decade ago, I created a chart for a young woman who was working with me to chronicle her progress as she navigated life. Years later, while at the Cleveland Clinic for my bi-annual check up, the ‘Life Coach’ there suggested a similar chart. I’ve decided to break out my original chart for a monthly review of my own progress [or lack of]. It is based on 1-10, with 10 being the best it could be. Your original numbers are nothing more than a baseline, what counts is the delta in your numbers from month to month, year to year.
This morning, I broke the 170 pound barrier. I am just 2.5 pounds from my all-time fat. What’s distressing is that just a few years ago, I was down to a very healthy 154 pounds. And, although I feel great, I know I am putting myself at risk for a variety of ailments, especially diabetes. It’s time to get serious. I don’t need to go on a diet, I simply need to eat better and exercise more.
I’ll update this post every month. We’ll see how I do.
May 8, 2020 Update: This morning I was 153.8 pounds. I’m 66 and feeling great.