A Thinking Man

What Men May Want to Know


By Don Wright

What’s the best advice for having a long and healthy life? Can there be any one set of guidelines that suitably covers everyone? Even though we’re all basically the same, we’re also unique individuals.

By now we’ve all heard the merits of low-fat, high fiber, exercise, etc. But there are groups of people in different countries that flaunt those edicts and still live well. Any Google search will turn up some of the oldest living people, but in asking them for a secret to longevity, you don’t get anything that will apply across the human spectrum evenly.

As the comedian, Lewis Black said, “They asked this old guy his what he ate that allowed him to reach such an advanced age and his answer was that every morning he fried two pieces of toast in fatback and washed it down with a glass of Thunderbird wine.”

Which means that we don’t know – no one knows. What’s good for one might kill another. As Lewis Black allowed, “We’re all like snowflakes.”

So what is a person to do? My answer is pretty simple – moderation. Moderation in all things. And of course I’m not the first person to write this, but it does merit lifelong consideration.

We all hear the taboos of eating fast food. But some of it’s pretty damn good. Drugs are bad for you, but Doctors dispense tons of it every day. Alcohol is bad for you, many people are against it in any form for many reasons, religion, addiction, values, etc. Exercise is good for you, but there are thousands of different regimens and programs, which is best?

Only you can answer what works best for you. At this time, the one thing that’s guaranteed is that you are going to leave this place sooner or later. If possible, we all want to leave later. And we all want to make it to that later date as healthy as possible.

We have those among us that are health fanatics. They will only eat foods verified as organic. Good for them. There are vegans among us and I salute them all. There are those that gobble vitamins and supplements, or only drink bottled water, or only eat white meat. Many people won’t eat this or that because they don’t like the taste or texture, I’m one of those people and I’ve received shit about it all my life. It’s amazing to me that someone will roll their eyes and almost go into a trance over a steaming bowl of onion soup – which, to me, smells like armpits.

Again, what works for you might be the best answer. But with the underlying idea of moderation. We’re extremely creative beings. There’s too many opportunities to experience other’s creativity during our short visit on this world. To restrict one’s self from occasional taboos or treats might mean a life that would have been much richer otherwise.

I smoked for a short time during my youth and I still say it’s a shame that something that’s so enjoyable is so bad for you. Been there, done that. I don’t think I’d want to exclude alcohol from my life, but I also know what my limits are. I was lucky to find out very early that praying to the porcelain God was not for me. Recreational drugs. Again, we’ve all seen the devastating effects of the most dangerous and addicting drugs out there. But, tribal Peoples all over the world use potent drugs in their rituals.

The take-away is this, be content with your lot. If you’re overweight – you know what you should do. But if you’re resolved that this is simply your life, then enjoy it. If you’re a couch potato and you don’t have any energy – you know what you should do. But if you can’t make yourself exercise, don’t beat yourself up about it and be miserable. In my estimation, the guilt that we inflict on others and burden ourselves with is more damaging to our systems. Like a low-grade inflammation of the soul.

So free yourself to simply be. Your lifestyle might be that you end up checking out a little earlier, but if you truly enjoyed your visit, who’s to judge? What it all boils down to is that this is a personal journey and no one can take it for you.

In place of anything else you might embrace – “moderation in all things,” may well be the best sign to tack up on the wall of your consciousness.

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