Me,Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me,

Just saying the name of this post, could, for some, sound like a pleasant vocal warmup. This however has nothing to do with singing. It’s about the people, that always put themselves first. The days of chivalry might be extinct, or close to it. In an age of equality, most people are quite alright with not holding the door for a lady, or failing to give up their seats on a busy bus. It appears to be the norm now, that youngsters remain seated, while visibly frail people are left standing.

I have witnessed first hand, people holding a door open, and then at the last minute walk away and let the door close before the person gets there. Is this some sort of twisted comic relief? If you are a healthy mobile adult, then you are truly blessed. There are a multitude of people that can not say that. The reason so many mobility shops are in business is because there is a significant portion of the population, that rely on walkers, canes, mobility scooters or wheelchairs to get around.

It isn’t some new age fashion statement, it is a necessity,. If you need to use these aids, it isn’t because you want to. There are people of all ages, that put themselves first without exception. As long as they are alright, then life is good. Yes, for them, but certainly not anyone else.

Naturally, we all try and look after ourselves and provide for our families and love ones. That is how it should be. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to consider other people though. Everyone, from the person on the street, to royalty, have feelings. We all, collectively make up mankind. Where is the compassion if we all only focus on ourselves?

No one, goes through life, without needing help from someone else at some point. Right from birth, we rely on people to care for us, until we know how to take care of ourselves. When we can stand on our own two feet, who taught us the skills to get there? It was other people Wether it is moral support from a friend during a rough day, spiritual guidance to find your own path. A mentor, sharing their knowledge, or an emotional port in the storm. We all will need each other along the way. Circumstances can change in a heartbeat. Roles can be reversed, and you could be the one in need of help.

Life is a complex blend of ups and downs… let’s look out for one another, a kind word, or gesture, could go a long way to making someone’s day better. If you already make a point of lending a helping hand, or putting yourself out there for others, may I say thank you, and keep up the good work. If you really believe that you are all you will ever need, perhaps this post might get you thinking. Next time someone needs your seat, let’s hope you will rise, and share with others less fortunate. Let’s do what we can when we can. That way we might just get a helping hand when our turn comes.

The Whirlwind Of Daily Living

In the whirlwind of daily living, is getting where you are going, more important, than being where you are? My sweetheart nearly got run over the other day by a driver, so intent on getting where he wanted to go, that he made a turn right in front of him. His only option was to lock the brakes of his bicycle and try and stop his natural momentum from dragging him under the vehicle. When it comes to a showdown between a bike and a vehicle the bike always looses. Thankfully, his bicycle handling abilities were such, that he avoided an almost certain collision which would have caused severe injury or potential death. If like cats, we have 9 lives, he used one up on that maneuver. The vehicle kept going, no apologies, or checking to see if he was alright. It was just as though nothing had happened.

If my husband had not been fully aware of his surroundings, he would not have been able to react, and the outcome would certainly have been quite different. Yes the driver was 100% at fault, but who would have been the one paying the price?

Just the other day, I was doing a routine crossing of a crosswalk, I had the walk signal and felt safe to cross the busy road. That didn’t stop a vehicle going at breakneck speeds running a red light, and passing inches from where I stood.

I am not talking solely about distracted driving, it’s more distracted living that has me alarmed. In the John Lennon song Beautiful Boy ( Darling Boy ) from his Double Fantasy album there is a lyric that goes

life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans.

A gifted songwriter indeed. The words are so truthful. Many of us can lay claim to fantasizing about a big lotto win, or a nice tropical vacation, harmless fun really, as long as it doesn’t begin to own our thoughts.

For a moment, bring your mind into this very moment, as you are reading the words before you. Don’t concern yourself with your ever growing must do list. Feel the joy of being alive, in this moment. Settle into the richness of simply being.

If you find yourself believing that you will be happy when ….. you find true love…. get rich… or own your own home perhaps, it just might mean that you are selling yourself short. What if you didn’t have a tomorrow? would you still spend your time the same way? is it that important, that something else occupies your thoughts?

We all need to be sensible. Yes plan for your future, just don’t live in it, until it becomes the here and now. Enjoy this day and this moment. Feel the world around you. Experience being you… tomorrow will unfold soon enough. Not only will it make each moment matter, you just might avoid killing someone, simply because you weren’t paying attention.

Just think how that would change your life forever, and the lives of the people that love you. This agonizing future is preventable just by being in the moment… face it, you wouldn’t kill someone intentionally, does that change the fact that someone could be dead because of your actions? No my friend it doesn’t. Life is all about choices, don’t choose to be mindlessly attempting to do many things and achieving nothing.

Fears

Fears, we all have them, wether we admit it to ourselves or not. It might appear silly to you, when someone is frightened of something that to you seems easy. You need only take a moment though, to envision your own fears, and you can’t help but begin to relate.

Fears of hight, storms, falling, animals, flying, swimming, or even being alone …. the fears are as individual as we are. We aren’t even restricted to only one. One fear could even intensify another one. My goodness, what a tangled web we find ourselves in.

Avoidance at all cost, is a common remedy. That might work for a time, however sooner or later, despite our best efforts, we find ourselves face to face with one of our fears. Now what!!!!

Do we run, seek professional help, ignore it and hope it goes away, or face the fear. What was that last one???? Face it, I would rather die. Well no, not really, but it will probably kill me, right? There we go again our minds race, the heart is clearly pounding, to the point that we swear it can be heard miles away. The sweat begins and the knees shake, making us barely able to keep ourselves from falling into a heap. Yes, there is much work ahead, if we are to be victorious.

There is a big difference between being nervous and being scared. On my , there would never be a reason to do this list. I am fine with never jumping out of a plane voluntarily as an example. I can have a rewarding life without that. Fear of death is common, and yet it will happen. We just don’t know when or how. So we can consciously avoid some fears, but for others, we just have to allow ourselves to feel the fear.

Not knowing how to do something is often fearful. Everything we do has had to be taught to us. As a child, life is full of firsts, we are in a constant state of learning. As we age, we somehow get to a point that we think we know all we need to know. Then when something new comes along it’s frightening, because we didn’t know we would need to know something, and hadn’t planned for it.

I find, if you challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone on a regular bases things become slightly less scary. The challenges, are still there to be faced, however I seem to be more able to stay calm and carry on.

You can’t just paste on a big smile, grit your teeth and get through it, not authentically anyway. You might have met the challenge for now, but the fear will take centre stage, when faced with the same demons later on.

We don’t know what we don’t know. One thing is true though, there is far more that we will never know about, than what we draw on as our own personal knowledge base. Be open minded. Like a window that is shut tightly. Nothing can get in, if there is no way to enter.

Ask someone for help, watch how others cope. If this is a life long fear, then acknowledge that. If the fear pattern has been part of the very fibre of your being for decades, don’t expect a quick fix. You can do a band aid repair, or you can deal with building a new ability. It’s always a choice of a quick temporary fix, or a slow and steady change.

Don’t let age be an excuse not to do the work. It’s just an excuse to avoid the situation, in hopes that it will go away. You can’t teach an old dog a new trick, may or may not be true as it pertains to a dog. For people though, the only time we stop learning is when we choose to.

There is always a price to be paid

 

Because I was beyond hopeless, with anything athletic growing up, it is not much of a mental stretch to imagine how elated I was, when I got to grade 12 and physical education was no longer a mandatory part of the curriculum, Hallelujah !!! I graduated at 16, so my structured physical activity stopped at 15 and I was just fine with that.

if you think about it though, we all get 11 years of physical fitness up to our graduation from high school. Then nothing, if we live into our 80’s or beyond, that means 60 years of being sedentary, unless we move because we want to. No wonder so many of us are in a mess.

When we are small, all we want to do is run around and play. Through play, we discover and develop movement. It’s all a natural part of growing up. In school there is structured physical activity. Wether we are naturally gifted or not, each sport season is cycled through each year, in the hopes that we learn a little about almost every sport under the sun.

I have said before, that the only reason I passed any physical education class, was for one of two reasons, rewarding my genuine effort, or the teacher didn’t want to deal with me again for another year, because clearly no one could get through to me when it involved moving my body.

When you aren’t athletic, spare time is taken up, not by team mates, practices and games, but by studying or hanging out with the family. At home, I was just me. It didn’t matter, that I couldn’t do gymnastics or balls slipped through my hands rather than me catching them.

I embraced work life, I enjoyed it all, even the shift work. This, to me, was what being an adult was all about. I had a sedentary job, sitting at a desk, moving only to get to the lunchroom for my break. It was a very, rule oriented job at the beginning. You had to put up a flag, to be relieved for breaks or for a call of nature, and wait for someone to give you the OK to leave. It seems barbaric now. As a teenager though, I didn’t question authority. I thought even calling adults by their first name was a big deal. Challenging them was not something I would do.

As the years progressed, I got different jobs within the company. As my husband would put it though, I drove a desk, and did so proudly, for almost 30 years. This might seem crazy to be saying this only now, but…… was I destined to have my nightmare neurological pain all along, because of my lack of movement? I am not saying, that it was the only cause. I have MRI’s that would back that fact up, but it certainly didn’t help.

Somehow I had slipped through the cracks. I was never shown how to move properly. So when the pains began to invade my existence, I did the only thing I knew. I stopped moving, because it hurt. Heck it wasn’t hard, because it wasn’t as though I did tons of stuff. I began to watch a program today called Forever Painless, with Miranda Edmonds-White. In it, she said, that not moving was just as bad for you as smoking is.

I have never seen a sign, or television ad telling me of the need to move. For smoking, the government regulates the age we can legally purchase cigarettes,. Cigarette brands are obstructed from view so that minors aren’t tempted. There are multiple taxes on each package as a deterrent. Governement supported programs to help you quit. You won’t see ads recommending any cigarette brand, that is illegal. Only when I watch very old programs on the television, do I ever see anyone smoking. Now E cigarettes are all the rage. Yes things are being done ,both good and bad, to tackle the problems associated with smoking.

When it comes to moving though,or lack of it, there isn’t anything like those things available, that I am aware of. You don’t find tax breaks to cover gym memberships or fees for sports teams waived. If I owned even a fair size business, I  would provide access to a good gym for the employees. It could really cut done costs of sick time, and lower stress levels.  Things got continually worse, when I did nothing, and that choice stole my health. Monthly passes to a local rec centre so that people could remain active, has to be a better use of money, than the huge cost associated with dealing with a medical condition that has been made worse by not moving.

The cost to the medical health system for me, was in the thousands, no, likely more like hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you factor in the surgeries. I am just one person. I didn’t compound things by smoking or drinking, but just like the smoker or alcoholic I ended up in the same place, filtering through our medical system.

Even a small amount of movement is beneficial, that benefit compounds over time. The more that you do, the more that you can do. No, I am not suddenly running marathons, or triathlons, but I most certainly am moving.

I hear you, “how can I move if it hurts” ? I asked the same question, then I sat down. How well did that work out for me? I would be on the verge of some even more horrific medical nightmare by now if I hadn’t moved.

There is that voice again…. ” my pain is my pain, you just don’t get it”. Well I think I might have a good idea. Let’s say, you are right, I haven’t had your pain, you are quite right there, and you haven’t had mine. It isn’t a contest.

What I will say though is this, if we are even remotely similar, you want the pain to stop. It doesn’t even matter what the cause of the pain is. Unless you physically are immobile, move what you can. If you are able bodied enough, simply don’t ask someone else to do something you are capable of doing. Take your own dishes to the sink. Carry the bags of groceries, weight training has great benefits. Under proper supervision, weight training can increase bone density. That means less risk of breaking our bones. Who doesn’t want that.

Park your car a block or two from your destination and walk. Make the effort to take the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator.  Even housework, is exercise. Just like brushing your teeth is a daily ritual, make your own movement magic a daily thing.

I don’t care if my medical plan paid for my surgeries, or if my pain medication was partially reimbursed by insurance. No matter what the cost…. The personal price is  just too high . Don’t let your quality of life became diminished, beyond recognition. Life is too short, no matter how long we live, to agree to let that happen. Each day matters.

If what I am suggesting, is beyond you today, make time at every opportunity to visualize your success. Visualize the movement. Make yourself battle ready when the day comes that you can commit to moving.

This might be considered a rant, when actually that’s not it at all really. This is nothing short of a battle cry. My personal battle cry is the song

FIGHT SONG by Rachel Platten .

The chorus sums things up perfectly.

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My powers turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

Be that warrior that is inside you, and get a move on.
If you are blessed to be pain free, but know someone that isn’t, take a moment and send this to them, or direct them to this blog post. That one small action could change everything for that person. What do they have nothing to loose and everything to gain.