A common complaint that I receive from readers is that I have an unfair advantage. That is to say, I do not have a “real” job, and I do not have kids, which gives me a leg up on being able to make lifestyle changes that are too difficult for a “normal person”.
Personally, I find the idea that suffering from a brain-bending disability gives me some kind of an advantage a little off-putting. Be that as it may, I am fond of telling people that the time exists in any schedule to make lifestyle changes. It is simply a matter of finding that time and repurposing it.
This week we are enjoying our yearly ritual of our nephew spending his spring break with us. And I am suddenly finding that maybe there is something to these complaints after all.
The Iron Fist Marathon Event
Since our surgeries last year, Lor and I have a pretty fixed schedule. I get up and write for a minimum of two hours every morning. We spend 2 hours at the gym every day. Since I began my Personal Trainer program another few hours a day is spent on coursework. Meanwhile, Lor usually works while I am studying. We fit in meals, television, gaming, and errands around that core of six – eight hours a day. (7 days a week, by the way, no 5-day work weeks for us.)
Yesterday, the three of us spent over eight hours binge-watching the first half of the “Iron Fist” series on Netflix. (Totally recommended if you are a comics geek like the three of us.)
I will grant that at least we managed to make it to the gym yesterday. But that is it. I spent maybe half an hour writing. No time was spent studying. Lor took the day off. And I, predictably, worried.
The Shoe On The Other Foot
Lor was philosophical. We only have a few short years to spend with our nephew while he is young, she pointed out. Soon, he will have no interest in traveling a few hundred miles and hanging out with his aunt and uncle for weeks at a time. We need to take advantage of the opportunity while we have it.
And I completely agree. But my concern was this: if we had our own child at home, would every day be like this? Am I a complete hypocrite for telling people that they have the time to make lifestyle changes? Does my disability really give me some kind of leg up on getting healthier that most do not enjoy?
I spent most of the day grumpy as hell, unable to get out of my own head. I am sure that Lor and my nephew would have been happier if I had just left them to enjoy the marathon while I worked through my crisis.
Be Good To Yourself
But here’s the thing: I am getting more out of this visit than I have in a long time. My increased health has meant that I have been more alert, more engaged, and more interested in my nephew than I have been in past years.
Thanks to surgery and lifestyle changes, I can reasonably expect to be around when he graduates from high school. And from college. I will probably be present at his wedding, and for the births of his kids.
If he was my son, could I afford to have not made these changes, no matter what the daily cost in time was?
Yesterday, and the rest of this week, will be aberrations in my schedule to be sure. But every minute I get to spend with my nieces and nephews is time well spent. If I worked at a “real” job, there is every chance that I would have taken the majority of this week off from work entirely.
We have plans for hikes, for a visit to a trampoline park, to play laser tag during this week. None of which I could have done last year. I would have dropped him off, then waited for him to finish. This year I will participate in all of it.
All because I have invested the time.
Your Personal Challenge
So, no, I do not think I am a hypocrite. I think the time is there in every daily life to get healthy. Maybe you can’t join a gym because of time constraints. But you can skip one tv show a day and work out at home. You can walk while at work. You can make changes to your diet.
An hour out of every day today will mean a whole lot more tomorrows to spend with your loved ones.
Playing Lazer Tag and binge-watching Iron Fist.