Sunday, April 2, 2017

I can’t believe I’m going to die. Please pass the peanuts.

My death. It’s been on my mind lately. I turned 50 this past year. Maybe that’s why. My two boys started high school and middle school respectively this past fall. Maybe seeing them grow up so fast is a reminder. I’m coming up on the seven-year milestone of Amy’s death. Something about the number seven. I’m not into numerology, but it is still a 7. Maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe its my health. I’ve had some suspicious abdominal pain, not bad, but still led me to the doctor and my first colonoscopy. Everything is clean as a whistle!

Maybe it’s my weight. I’ve gained a few pounds and I am now determined to shed them. I feel good when I’m around 190-ish or so. Right now I’m on the high side of 210 and recently topped out at 218. My diet hasn’t changed. I eat pretty well. Nearly vegetarian, not much sweets. I could cut back on alcohol, but it’s really a few glasses of wine over the course of the week and not every night.  I do have cravings, though, and portion control, even of good food, is something I continuously need to watch. When I was 16 a single serving of pasta was three plates full. Now it’s the size of my fist? It’s hard to retrain my brain on that one. And a bowl full of peanuts? That’s my go to snack, or was. When I actually looked up the nutrition facts on line (1 cup has 828 calories!), I was shocked to (re) learn I was getting almost half my daily caloric ration from peanuts and peanut butter.

But its also exercise. I used to go to the gym and lift 2-3 times per week, and also run, and play basketball. I’ve become sedentary. I have a number of really good excuses: Two knee surgeries over the past several years (left and right meniscus), ongoing plantar fasciitis that makes running difficult, and most recently, Achilles tendinitis. But those are just excuses. I can walk. I can do crunches and planks. I can curl a dumbbell. I just haven’t been.

Aside: I’m sharing all my medical history here, now, since we can kiss our online privacy goodbye. Might as well get ahead of the news cycle on my ailments.

I’ve been going to an acupuncturist lately. I've been going to her, on and off, over the past 15 years. First, for a shoulder ailment (lingering discomfort from a minor shoulder separation (bicycle crash), and torn biceps tendon), then to help with my grief after Amy died, and now, for the Achilles. And also this general feeling of malaise that has emerged with my present sense of mortality. 

It’s been helping. I don’t know if I actually believe that I have blockages of Chi and that sticking a needle in the right place releases it. But I do know this: I feel better. Lying on the table anticipating the needles (which don’t hurt), forces me to become very aware of my body and become relaxed. It’s almost meditative. I leave feeling calmer, yet also alert. And the affect seems to last.

Lori and I had a conversation recently. We have 20 years left. 20 we can count on, with confidence, baring an unfortunate accident or an earlier that statistically likely cancer, or something like that. The Social Security Administration has an online calculator that says I can expect to make it to 82. That means I have a 50/50 chance of that. Another online calculator says 88. That’s better! But I can’t bet on that. It’s a coin toss bet. And those last few years might be good, active, healthy years, or they may not be. So, for planning purposes, I’m going with 70. Okay, maybe 75. 

Then I look back the past 20 years. Whoosh! Everyone is right, every song is right. It goes by quite quickly.

As the Buddha said, “you’re gonna die – just get over it!”

Or something like that. Meanwhile, I’ll pass on the peanuts.

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