Friday, March 25, 2016

Not a bad Good Friday

Without intending to be irreverent, I want to draw upon the metaphor of Easter Weekend; namely, rebirth. My focus upon this normally atmospheric subject began with a much earthier event yesterday afternoon. I had just consumed a large piece of Key Lime pie (liberally decorated with rosettes of whipped cream), the third piece in the previous twenty-four hours!  Seldom does pie last more than twenty-four hours in our household.

This admittedly delayed awakening to the dangers of sugar shamefully flies in the face of science. My only defence is that it took me years to confront the equally flagrant realities of cigarettes and booze.  But eventually I did. I quit cigarettes at age 50 and booze at age 65.  Not exactly a hideous rush towards avoidance, I know!  At age 67 I have decided that it is now time to deal with the problem of obesity.  There is a certain convenience about doing so at this time of my life.  First, I've had just about all the chocolate and sugar I'll ever need; I can hardly cry deprivation.  Second, considering the statistics about weight and age, there is a chance that I might commensurately extend my tour on this planet.  Third - and this is possibly the real motivation - it is an opportune time to trade in my current wardrobe (I basically wash and wear the same stuff every day).

I believe I know what works to accomplish my dietary objective. Recently I have reinforced this knowledge by buying prepared foods.  The hard truth is that prepared foods don't begin to compete with the satisfaction of raw vegetables and a vinaigrette of oil and vinegar. Simple is good. I've already got breakfast under control - fresh fruit and pitted prunes, thin slices of Black Forest ham with cherry tomatoes.  We seldom "do" lunch anymore. The evening meal is crudités, meat or fish and a leafy lettuce salad.  For dessert, fresh fruit and plain yoghurt.  The challenge is to resist the usual suspects - bread, cheese, peanut butter and pecan pie.

The tougher battle is to re-engineer my attitude to food.  It's really the same issue as I was previously forced to address concerning cigarettes and booze - entitlement and denial. The entitlement issue is the mistaken characterization of privilege (specifically the privilege to indulge).  The denial issue is the misplaced inscription of negation (specifically the negation of desire).  On the basis of those theories, if indeed they were of any substance, the goal is to indulge desire.  Granted it has a thrust to its purpose but it nonetheless fails to address the change of gratification and passion. If it helps to blame the aging process, then so be it.  What works for people at different times of their lives changes. If nothing else, it is the privilege of youth to abandon any care for the consequences of their actions.  Older people know only too well that they are bound to live with those results. Most likely I am allowing far more intellectualism to this debate than is deserved.  Old people like me are probably just as visceral as any youth; what however differs is the direction of the provocation.  In a word, things become more bland with age, and that means old people can begin to let go of detail and complication, opting instead for easy and simple - or if I were to elevate the narrative, unadorned and unembellished. Essentially I find that I feel better if I avoid the historic indulgence of desire.  If that is not convincing, then the tact is to resist buying the usual suspects (bread, cheese, peanut butter and pecan pie).

One regrettable factor of aging is that in spite of what one eats, quantity really matters.  No longer is it as easily possible to "wear off" what one has added. This however is a relatively small hurdle.  I am convinced that on balance the choice of raw vegetables over - say - lobster macaroni will ultimately enable one to keep things under control. Meanwhile one must refashion the objective of living by choosing a path which doesn't include the usual stops along the way.  There was a time when I thought about pausing for a cigarette or stoping for a drink. Habit, mere habit.  Coughing and headaches have lost their attraction! This isn't of course a prescription for everyone.  There are those who needn't side-step these perceived perils.  But ultimately the decision to seize one's own resources requires an uncompromising gesture. Jump and hang on!  Simple!

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