Just before I head out for a run, I wanted to share a couple of comments which speak to how vastly varied our ideas about health can be.
First, I got a comment from one person who came after me for having privilege:
It’s interesting that in articles like these, the authors hardly ever acknowledge that privilege played a part in their “hard work.” What do you do for a living? Do you work 40 hours a week? Do you have kids?
Look, while I’m not privy to her inner world or the conditions of her life, there are some breathtaking assumptions here. One, that I clearly don’t work long hours, and likely never really did, that I never had kids (that’s accurate) or that kids would keep anyone from an exercise routine, and that what I do for a living would have anything to do with my commitment to long-term health.
I’m sorry that she’s pissed off, or whatever is making her feel the need to come after me like this. However. I work, and always have worked, since I was very very young, anywhere from fifty to 100 hours a week. Especially as an entrepreneur. I’ve never not worked full time. Never had kids, but kids alone aren’t a reason not to exercise. There are umpteen ways to work out with kids, and with YOUR kids, which is a good idea. That’s another article.
I find it rather unfortunate that rather than inquire politely about the how-tos, and there are many, I get attacked for being privileged, which, and I could be wrong, assumes TONS of money ( bwahahahaha) TONS of extra time on my hands (BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and servants at my beck and call to go peel me a grape. I’m privileged because I’m White. But again, that’s a different article.
Will you please Grow the Fuck Up. I wrote back that there is a woman here in town who provides body building coaching. She’s forty, has SIX kids. SIX. And is married and has a household to run AND she has a full-time job. She picks up a bawling kid and walks her treadmill. Takes kids with her to work out. She finds ways. These are the folks who inspire me. I find people who get it done and learn from them. That’s a choice. Just as it is a choice to attack people for getting it done when there are other options available.
To make such assumptions isn’t just rude. It’s childish. You and I prioritize our health or we don’t. It starts with what we choose to eat. Then it is supported by finding ways to move. My whole house is outfitted with small weights, pull up bars and ways to invite me to take tiny exercise breaks all day long. I have not given myself the option to exercise. I just do it. At 68, I am running out of tomorrows, getaroundtoits. I exercise because it is too important not to, and late in life I became an adventure athlete, which means that if I’m not fit, I can die. That was absolutely intentional. But for me it’s also fun, although it doesn’t make my work weeks any shorter.
You can make a perfectly legitimate argument that my race gives me options that aren’t available to those of color, ranging from feeling safe out running (or walking or driving), to access to decent fresh food in food deserts in the inner city. THAT is fair. But that isn’t this. This is about the choices we make about how we spend the time we are given.
It is very fair to say that finding ways to move which fit both our financials and our situations can be a challenge. But if you’re determined my guess is that you will sort something out. It doesn’t have to be a balls to the wall training program. Just something that keeps you moving and feeling better. That often leads to eating more responsibly.
To that then, and to end on a much-preferred high note, there is this comment from Medium peep Arthur Vibert, which illustrates the polar opposite, in response to a piece I did on how some folks want to use devices to make aging easier rather than do the physical work to make them stronger:
…I would much rather continue training and keep my body in top condition rather than look for devices to help. I’m already resentful that I have to wear glasses now. The last thing I need are more devices lying around to help me move.
An interesting thing happened to me recently. One of the things that prodded me into getting back into shape was a visit to the ophthalmologist who told me he could see evidence of high blood pressure when I was getting a routine checkup. 5 years (and many workouts along the way) later I went in for another checkup and was told that my eyes were “immaculate.” I knew I’d brought my blood pressure down (as well as my resting heart rate which is now down around 50 bpm) but it was good to hear that it was positively impacting my overall health as well.
No matter what I do I’m going to keep getting older, but by exercising without compromise—and I do everything! My current favorite toy is my 40 pound weight vest. It makes push-ups a challenge again!—I aim to stay as mobile and healthy as is humanly possible.
I’m annoyed that it took me so long to get started down this path but I’m so happy to be here now! (author bolded)
Yesterday I read and commented on some very smart material by Dr Joel Yong, PhD, who pointed out that statins can cause more issues than they’re worth risking. Bottom line that I got out of his piece is that you and I can choose health via better food and more movement. Those two choices ALONE mean that health management by pills doesn’t have to be our future. It’s not only just too effing obvious but it’s also far easier than we make it out to be.
We can bark and complain and bitch that other people have it so easy, look, they have time to run or work out. OR we can do what it takes to carve more movement into our day, given the life we actually lead. The story we carry is the story we live out, day by day.
You and I can decide that our bodies and our quality of life are worth our commitment or we can live in an imaginary world where everyone else has privilege but us.
You and I have the privilege of life. That is our greatest privilege. We can spend that life being bitter or getting better. That simple. Nobody said it was easy.
But as Arthur points out, it sure does pay off.