I want to LIVE until I DIE!
By Larry John
I was sitting in my cardiologist’s office a few weeks ago and I looked around the room at all the “old” people in the waiting room waiting to see the doctor. As I observed each one…old, tired, wearing oxygen masks and wheeling their oxygen tanks, with their heads bowed down, barely conscious to what was going on around them…I said to myself, “I don’t want to live to be that old.” What I really meant was if the goal is to live to be as old as you can regardless of your quality of life I want nothing to do with it. The goal can’t be to live a long time, the goal has got to be to live a “quality life” for as long as you choose and then die. Thus I want to LIVE….really LIVE….until I DIE. So, what is really living?
Well to most “form worshipping” people part of that “really” living means to have a lean, well-shaped, six-pack stomach, no wrinkles, large perky breasts, or well- endowed male package, a sexy, tanned, correctly-proportioned, silky-skinned, perfect BODY. But is it possible to have all of the above and not be healthy? Is it possible to be the perfect weight and not have a healthy quality of life? Is it possible to look great but feel terrible? Is it possible to be so fit and firm and still have a poor quality of life? Is it possible to exercise so much and eat only the healthiest of foods and have a perfect body, but forget about exercising the mind? Is it possible that BODY POWER without MIND POWER or visa versa is incomplete living? Is it possible to be so focused on being healthy, fit, with zero body fat, with no toxins, the blood pressure of an 18-year-old, etc., and still live a sad, unfulfilled, empty, depressed, up-tight, no-quality-of-life LIFE? Is it possible to be so health conscious that you can never go out to eat with friends and family, have a piece of chocolate cake, eat a hot dog, have some ice cream, eat a slice of pizza, eat a taco, have a steak, have some spaghetti, eat a peanut butter sandwich, have some popcorn at a movie, drink some wine, have a hot cup of coffee in the morning, eat fish and chips, have a beer with a friend, or smoke a cigar with your buddy? Is it possible that you cannot really start a day with out jogging a few miles, lifting weights, swimming 100 laps, biking 20 miles, doing YOGA, going to the gym, walking two miles, doing aerobics, or playing a few games of racquetball, basketball, 9 holes of golf, riding horses, or doing jujitsu?
The fact is that “excess” in any and all of these and other physical activities will lead to an incomplete and unsatisfied life. I want a FULL life where I can love everything I do without judging any of my activities as good or bad. I want to eat what I want without eating in excess, without judging the food good or bad. I want to (as the Buddha says) LIVE IN THE MIDDLE. I don’t want to have a life filled with EXTREMES in any area of my life. Because I believe that in order to be truly happy we must ALLOW LIFE TO HAPPEN as we LIVE IN THE MIDDLE. I want to be healthy of MIND and BODY. I want to LIKE me without “judging” me for being good or bad. I want to live a COMPLETE life free of addictions and excess.
Now we all love to justify why we do what we do in life. The “extremes” and “addictions” of life normally lead to an INCOMPLETE life. If we eat too much we will get fat. If we exercise to the EXTREME we might develop bad knees. My Dad’s second wife used to say, “If you THINK too much you will go crazy,” but I am not convinced of that. The fact of the matter is that anything we do TOO MUCH or TOO LITTLE may lead to an “incomplete,” “unfulfilled,” and “unhealthy” life. Remember, HEALTH of MIND and BODY is like walking the razor’s edge. There is a fine line between too much and too little. Too little food may lead to malnutrition and disease. Too much food may lead to the same. Too much ice cream may make you fat. Too little ice cream may make you sad. It is not easy to LIVE IN THE MIDDLE. It requires a constant and personal evaluation of one’s self. You have to step back and observe your life and strive to avoid as many addictions and extremes as you possibly can. It is only by ALLOWING LIFE TO HAPPEN and LIVING IN THE MIDDLE that you can be truly “healthy” of MIND and BODY. When you are truly HEALTHY of MIND and BODY you have the quality of life that makes LIVING fun and exciting.
When the time comes that my quality of life comes to an end, and all I am doing is enduring life, I wish to die. I want to LIVE life….”really” live a quality of life LIFE…until I die. If that means I live to be 110 that’s great. If that means I live to be 60 that’s fine too. I want to live a HEALTHY, INTELLIGENT, WISE, life that is COMPLETE and FULFILLING.
Now I know that growing older brings a lot of changes to the body and mind. These changes can’t be avoided, but many can be delayed. I want a STRONG BODY and STRONG MIND for as long as possible. If I have to choose between the two (which I hope not to have to choose) I choose a STRONG MIND. I don’t want to live a minute longer than my MIND lives. To me a strong body without a strong mind offers no quality of life.
I find it almost humorous the way “science” tells us what we have to do to have a HEALTHY body and mind. The problem is they keep changing their stories. They say, “eat meat” then don’t eat meat. They say, “eat eggs” then don’t eat eggs. They say, “Exercise an hour a day,” then they say to exercise 30 minutes a day but only 3-4 days a week. Then they tell us to drink more water, but then they say don’t drink too much. Then they say caffeine is bad for you, but then they say if may be good for you. They tell us to stop drinking wine and then they tell us to have one to two glasses of red wine a day. They tell us that we should all take vitamins and then they tell us not to take too many or you may die. They tell us to eat more protein and less carbs and then they say that may kill you. They say that some medicines are good for your cholesterol and then they pull them off the shelves because people are going blind. As a pragmatic thinker I love the findings of science, but many times science, or the industries of science, seem to be controlled more by the all mighty dollar than anything else. I guess we just have to live in the MIDDLE and really listen to our MIND and BODY. Not any two of us are identically the same. That might tell us something about how we may need to evaluate “science” and their findings.
I have been a FAT MAN my whole life. I have never given much importance to eating healthy nor to exercise. But now I know that was stupid. I have had to make some “enjoyable” changes to my life. I now walk two miles a day, lift weights, jump on a mini-tramp, and watch what I eat. I eat what I want in moderation. I strive to not eat in excess. I strive not to “over-exercise.” I strive to LOVE life and ALLOW it to happen. I am growing older and I celebrate the changes in my MIND and BODY. My MIND is growing STRONGER and so is my BODY. Neither my MIND nor my BODY is going to be STRONG forever no matter what I eat, how much I exercise, the medicines I take, the supplements and vitamins I take, how much or how little I eat, the types of foods I eat, the addictions I overcome, or the excesses I restrict. However, being AWARE of all of these things, and more, will lead to a wonderful quality of LIFE while I am slowly dying. I just want to LIVE LIFE…. really LIVE LIFE…living in the middle…. allowing life to happen. I just want to LIVE until I die. Think about it.