We’re Only Human

We all get old, eventually.  It’s one of those few uncontrollable aspects of life that none of us can escape.  We can, however help to alleviate what happens as we age.  Most of this involves having good eating and fitness habits and staying away from the nasty things that can potentially bring our existence to an end.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions of being “old” per se, but some age is often felt rather than gained.  I have to admit that in recent years, my blocks have gotten a bit slower, my techniques a little sloppier and my ability to get up and go has got up and gone (Yes, I just referenced an earlier blog post of mine!)

The shirt I just got yesterday

It really doesn’t take a great deal…  A few too many break days, skipping meals or lack of sleep and your health can easily start to fall off the rails as you get older.  This is especially true for Type 1 Diabetics who depend on a proper balance to keep things in check.  And balance really is the key!

Start by getting proper rest.  The average adult requires between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.  As long as you’re getting it all at once (unlike me, who occasionally cluster naps) it should go a long way to helping you rejuvenate yourself.  Many of your body’s systems are working at resetting and/or resting while you do. This is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t eat heavily before bed.

And while we’re talking about food, make sure you’re getting your three meals a day and that they’re properly balanced with vegetables and proteins to help with muscle repair and growth.  It’s okay to have some cheat days now and again, as long as you don’t go overboard.

Last but not least, get some damn exercise.  Even when you’re sore, tired and just plain fed up… it gets exponentially worse if you just sit back and do nothing.  You have to keep moving.  Movement is life.  Even if you just start by doing some light stretches first thing in the morning, it’ll help to get the blood flowing, make you more alert and start your day off properly.

All of these points become increasingly important as you collect more birthdays. Muscles become less flexible, joints are less limber and if you don’t keep up with everything, you may find yourself seizing up. ☯

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You Chose Poorly…

Free will is a hell of a thing.  By its very definition, we misinterpret free will as something we have complete control over.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, our free will allows us to make choices, discern right from wrong and choose the path on which we walk.  But that doesn’t mean that these choices are always in our best favor.

Over the years, one of the things I’ve noticed is that people usually don’t acknowledge the destructive nature they have on their own lives.  Often causing their own suffering, they make choices and do things that anyone watching from a distance can easily see as wrong or improper. But we rarely ever realize that on our own.

Free will allows us to act at our own discretion.  However, our discretion is not always in our own best interest or the interest of those around us.  That’s something I’ve learned the hard way, especially in my line of work.

Choice can be difficult, especially when you leave yourself without options

I’ve often written that opinion and advice are simply that, and a person is free to accept or reject that opinion and advice at their leisure.  But as intelligent beings, we must acknowledge that opinion and advice must be at the very least heard if not accepted.  This is because it’s often the only way to genuinely realize that we may be on the wrong path.

Then again, someone else’s opinion or advice may be incorrect as well.  After all, we’re all different and one person’s perspective may not be the same as ours.  The important thing to remember is simply this: if the choice you make causing damage or suffering in another, it’s wrong.  If the choice you make causes damage or suffering within your own life, it’s wrong.  And last but certainly not least, if you make a choice or cause an action that you KNOW to be wrong and you do it anyway, it’s definitely wrong.

It’s often difficult to see beyond our own immediate wants and needs, and sometimes the prospect of screwing someone else over (for lack of a better term) to meet our goals may seem appealing and even ideal.  But I can promise that all things eventually come out in the wash.  And if you’ve done wrong, that wrong will be exposed. So do right.  Be honest.  Be true. You’ll be amazed at the feeling of freedom you get from always being honest and doing right.  And you’ll come to find how much easier and less complicated it is.  Choice is never easy.  Hey, it’s not meant to be.  But knowing what the end results will be should be a no brainer. ☯

“Sight” Is More Than Just What You See…

The room is dark, impossibly dark.  The only light comes from a small 40-Watt black light that almost causes my white karate gi to glow in the gloom…  My eyes can’t adjust and I can’t see a thing.  There are audible creaks in the floorboards, telling me that I am not alone in the room.  I sit still, trying to let my ears, nose and skin “feel” the room.  My legs are braced and my hands are posted. I close my eyes, since I can’t see anything anyway.

Then I feel it: an almost imperceptible movement of air against my skin…  I instinctively block, but I’ve miscalculated.  Something strikes at my calves and I fall to the floor.  I roll out of the way before the strike I know is coming drops down on my chest.  I turn and post in the direction of the attack but nothing reaches my ears but silence. Then, something strikes my head. Suddenly there is too much light as all I can see are stars fluttering in the darkness.  I can feel my body twist around as my head snaps from the punch…

Once again, my other senses try to fill in the gaps of information caused by the darkness; a light movement of the air and a rustling of sanforized cotton coming towards me.  I block and feel the strike of another person’s limb against my arm. Without through, I grip the opposing limb and throw out a focused front kick that impacts against something that feels like concrete.

“Enough.”  The lights come on and I’m temporarily blinded by the sudden change.  I see my Sensei standing there in a dark, black gi, removing a black face mask that covers everything but his eyes.  My head is ringing from the punch he delivered and I’m grateful that the lesson is over, despite the impression it left…

That was a sparring match I had with Sensei almost twenty years ago.  Most of us are limited by the visible light we see around us. We rarely consider that the world exists, whether the light bounces off of it or not.  This means that the world can still be perceived if we’re willing to open our other senses to it.

No, I’m not gifted with some mystical skill and I wouldn’t bet sure money I’d win a fight, fought in total darkness.  But because of the light that surrounds us, we often take our other senses for granted. There is so much of the world that can be opened to us if we acknowledge our other senses; our hearing, sense of touch, sense of smell…

Don’t forget that the world doesn’t exist because of the physical light that allows us to see it.  If you open yourselves up to the other possibilities, you’ll be surprised at what you may have been missing. ☯

Money Won’t Make You Happy, But It May Buy What Will…

Bruce Lee has been quoted as saying, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”  Life certainly presents it fair set of challenges and the cost of modern living doesn’t alleviate those challenges.

I’ve been hearing people quote the first part of my title, all my life.  I’ve heard it from my entire family, in sources of entertainment, from friends…  The worst one is hearing it from some celebrity who is like worth several hundred million dollars who goes on a talk show of some sort and says, “Money won’t make you happy!”  I think that’s an easy statement to make when money is certainly not your issue.  And while I agree it may not make me happy, I’d like to find out for myself haha.

To be honest, if I won the lottery today there would be so many things I would do tomorrow.  I would likely work harder than I’m working now, because I’d be doing SOMETHING with that money.  Retire? Are you kidding me?  I’m the kind of person who’s unable to sit still for very long.

I would invest, purchase property and likely start a business.  I would participate in charity initiatives.  Life would become busy in a significantly different way.  And one NEEDS to stay busy.  As a wise friend said to me today, “I’m not afraid of hard work.  That’s how hopes and dreams are made.”

Am I going to win the lottery tomorrow?  Statistically not, but should the statistical unlikely occur, I would concede that the money wouldn’t make me happy.  But the change I could instill in the world possibly might.  It’s not about what you’ve earned or what you own that defines life, but what you do with the life you have that defines you. ☯

Through The Eyes Of Another…

Kids are great!  No, seriously… they’re totally awesome (as I rock gently while downing yet another shot of whisky).  All jokes aside, children genuinely are a wonder.  They are the only way to indirectly ensure one’s immortality, and they allow a brief glimpse into one’s past.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my son Nathan, do something and think, “Wow, I used to be JUST like that!”  And with the arrival of my second son, Alexander, I’m sure the comparisons will continue.

That’s me at the top, and my son Nathan on the bottom, both at 1 year of age

With another Halloween come and gone, I’m left remembering aspects of my childhood and how I dealt with them.  I was faced with many dietary and health restrictions due to my Diabetes.  Having been diagnosed at the age of four, I really never had the opportunity to go door-to-door like all the other kids.  My mother had some friends who would provide things like raisins, apples and “sugar-free treats” (it wouldn’t be until decades later that I would discover how many carbs and how sugary all of those other treats actually were).  But the prospect of a genuine “trick or treat” outing was nonexistent.

Enter: Nathan.  It’s difficult for me to draw a line sometimes, because I realize and acknowledge that he isn’t limited by the same health restrictions that I was at his age. He turns into an absolute hell-spawn when he eats sugar, much like any child; but I can’t resist allowing him to indulge in the ways that I couldn’t.  Maybe there’s a bit of indulgence on my part as well, since I get to experience it vicariously through his eyes.  Such is parenthood.

My little Lightning McQueen

Yesterday, my wife and I took Nathan to an artisan ice cream parlour.  Clad in his Lightning McQueen costume, he was treated to a free ice cream of his choice.  He chose triple chocolate brownie.  That’s my boy!  Tonight, he indulged in some jellybeans that were left over from last night’s trick or treaters.  Although we normally suffer through the after-effects of the sugar in his system, it’s hard for me NOT to allow him the pleasure, since I never had that pleasure myself.

Our Halloween jellybeans

Sure, I can take insulin dosages necessary to enjoy things now, as an adult.  But I can’t help but wonder how different my childhood would have been, had I not been limited and held back by Type 1 Diabetes. Luckily, Nathan doesn’t have that issue and can enjoy his snacks in the guilt-free way that any child should: by driving his parents nuts during the sugar rush! ☯

Who Replaced My Shampoo With Numbing Cream?

You would think that cold air would do something to awaken a person.  But the weather seems to be having the opposite effect on me.  With the coming of winter, I have to admit that my head feels all foggy and I’m utterly exhausted.

The result of this fog is that I seem to have a sincere lack of inspiration on what to write today.  Has that ever happened to any of you?  I’d like to say that it’s only the weather getting me down, but that would be an outright lie.

It wouldn’t be the first time I fell asleep at a keyboard!

Fatigue and even exhaustion can often be side effects of stress and depression. You can tell something is wrong if you’ve slept all night but yet still wake up, just as tired as you were the night before, when your head hit the pillow.

In any event, I think I’ll be taking a night to let my creative juices rest. Hopefully, I’m done answering my door for all the trick-or-treat kids in the neighborhood and can retire to my bed sometime in the next short while. ☯

The Second Time Was Much Sweeter…

I’m not one for being stubborn (as my wife shakes her head), but I wasn’t satisfied with how my sugar pie turned out a few days ago.  As a result, I did a search and found a French Canadian recipe that only included two ingredients (I may have mentioned this in the last post).

The recipe only involved 400 grams of maple sugar and 225 mL of whipping cream. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find maple sugar, so I chose to use brown sugar instead.  Most sugar pies these days are made with brown sugar anyway.

I started by mixing those two ingredients and heating it up for fifteen minutes to thicken the mixture.  Once that was done, I poured the mixture into an uncooked pie crust and baked at 345 degrees for about half an hour.  Despite a slight burning smell from some of the mixture bubbling over, there was a nice, warm aroma of brown sugary goodness in the house.

Way better attempt, this time

Once it came out of the oven, I let it cool for a while then put it in the fridge to let it set.  I had the benefit of having low blood sugar, so I gave in to temptation and had a piece. It was still a bit liquidy, perhaps from needing more time to set.  But it was good enough that I was sorely tempted to eat the entire thing!  It may not have been 100% like the sugar pies back home, but it was damn close.

A bit on the watery side but still delicious

It just goes to show what happens when you’re stubborn enough to keep at it until you get it right.  It may require a few more tries and a lot more insulin! ☯