The internet is full of experts. Real experts with credentials and half the alphabet in their titles. Self-proclaimed experts with more confidence and bluster than knowledge. Wily capitalists posing as experts to cash in on our every fear and imagined flaw.
I am none of these things. In fact, some days I’m the farthest thing from an expert a human being can be, and still walk upright. Sadly, the older the I get, the more apparent this becomes to me. I’m doing my best. Usually, that’s good enough, thank God (literally… insert comment about grace and prayer and all the people who pitch in along the way).
When the Daily Press Writing Challenge came out this week I immediately deleted the link. Write a blog post on “Health and Wellness.” Ya, right.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some things figured out. My house is pseudo-tidy, which is impressive to anyone who’s spent more than 20 minutes with our clan. My family’s routine is the right balance between flexible and predictable. My spiritual life is meaningful. My marriage is strong. My children are wonderful.
But I wouldn’t consider myself especially healthy in a physical sense.
I am overweight, overtired and overwhelmed.
I don’t think I’m unusual in this, although I do have a special mix of kidney problems, weak immune system and chronically injured/swollen/makes-creepy-noises-when-I-move joints. I may be developing arthritis. I’ve been tested for Lupus 3 times and they won’t rule it out entirely. Two of my four children have special needs and are A LOT of work. I have very little time to myself. Or money. Also, I love food. It is my drug of choice. Also, I’m not wild about exercise, never have been, probably never will be. I can rail about how unfair this all is and make excuses ’til the cows come home, but this is the way it is. This is the body I’ve been given and I need to take care of it. Probably more than most people.
I try. I really do. I’ve always tried. And I’ve often failed. Which brings me to this expert post. You see, I do have some degree of expertise in this area after all.
I’m the What NOT To Do Expert on Health and Wellness.
I have thoroughly and exhaustively explored these habits in my own life. I can say with expert certainty, they only ever make things worse.
- Over-schedule yourself – you SHOULD be able to do it all. Anything less is weakness.
- Stay up as late as possible. Then stay up even later. Sleep is for the weak.
- Compare yourself to others – if someone else can do it, you SHOULD be able to too.
- Don’t cater to introverted needs, that’s just selfish.
- Obsess endlessly about your weight and appearance.
- Measure your worth on the bathroom scale each morning and evening. Naked. With all but one toe hovering in the air.
- React accordingly. If you’ve lost weight – time to relax; you’re clearly a rock star and might as well celebrate (by eating and being lazy). If you’ve gained – time to give up; you’re destined to fail and might as well binge out on an entire box of Oreos.
- New Diet
- Realize that the latest health food craze or exercise routine or New Diet is your true Savior. Sorry, Jesus. You just don’t burn that many carbs praying.
- Put life on hold until you feel comfortable in a swimsuit/little-black-dress/jeans-that-fit-in-high-school. It’s not like your kids are growing up and you’re missing out on it all.
- Immediately assess how many people are skinnier/better dressed/prettier than you when you walk in a room (hint – EVERYONE).
- Make careful lists of all the ways you need to improve. Don’t bother with all that gratitude crap, you’re not Oprah. Guilt and self-loathing is the key.
- Take drastic steps to overhaul your life. Slow and steady is for losers and YOU DON’T HAVE ANY TIME TO WASTE!!!! Panic!!!!
- Fad Diet.
- Avoid being in pictures at all costs. Someday when you look perfect and act perfect and all the stars align… on that day you can show up in your own life.
- Everything you do is a test of personal worth. Every mistake is a failure. Every failure is absolute. It’s all or nothing, all the time. (For a really good time, apply this standard to everyone you meet. Make sure you point their failings out. People will really appreciate that.)
So here’s me, I wish I could say all these habits are behind me. They’re not. There’s a few I still fall back into from time to time. But I know them for what they are. And according to G.I. Joe, “knowing is half the battle.” I never argue with plastic soldier toys.