I hope everyone enjoyed Jen’s installment last week. I know I did. She’s an amazing person, and an even better partner in life. I plan on more installments from her in the future. For now, though, you get a return to my ramblings.
It’s no secret that when I was younger, I really didn’t treat my body very well. I rarely exercised. I ate what can only loosely be considered food. Mostly McDonalds, Burger King, and other fast food fare. I drank about five to six cans of room temperature Coca-Cola pretty much every day. (Jen always called those my daily doses of battery acid.) I smoked a pack to a pack and a half of Camel Lights a day for a good fifteen to twenty years. There was a lot of promiscuity, alcohol, and other reality altering substances over the years during my twenties, and some of my thirties. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have stayed looking as young as I do today, or been in as good of shape as I was, into my forties.
That all began to change when I met, and began to date Jen, sixteen years ago. For the first time in a very long time, I had someone in my life who honestly cared about my well being. Not for any benefit of her own, not because she had any personal gain, but because my lifestyle was bad for me. And she cared about me. My health was a major concern for her, and because I was obviously falling for her, it became a concern of mine. I honestly didn’t give it much of a thought before then. If it felt good, at the time, I did it. I lived for ‘today’, and didn’t give the consequences of tomorrow a first thought, let alone a second.
As I said, that all began to change. Not all at once, mind you, but gradually, over several years. Over the next years, I quit smoking. I began to eat better. I began to exercise more. I stopped using the heavier drugs that come along with the world of the music business. I, of course, stopped picking up and sleeping with strangers. NONE of it was easy. In fact, I’m still in transition to this day. After a while, though, it all begins to become the norm, for the most part.
Now, I’m not saying I became a perfect human being, but I did become a better human being than I was before. Along with the concern for myself, I began to look at how I treated others as well. Let’s just say, beforehand, I was always more concerned about my wants rather than others. Not my needs, but my wants. The people I looked up to at that time were not necessarily the nicest people. And I was trying to emulate them. They had control. They had power. Watching them, I began to believe you had to be an asshole to get ahead. Jen taught me that that wasn’t true. Not by telling me, but by showing me with her own actions.
So, I began to take much better care of myself. Better than I had in my entire life, to be honest. This is why it has been such a slap in the face to have run into the issues that have plagued me in the past several years. From senseless deaths of several friends, including deaths from health issues, hate crime, and my best friend since our freshman year in high school completing suicide, to my own health issues. The latter, as you know, culminating in an MS diagnosis.
This is where I get my title from, this week. It truly feels like the better I was trying to live my life, the more life fought back against it. For my better, I was given worse.
Now, I’m not saying my life went to shit. In many ways it was better than ever. But, especially when it came to my health, while I was treating my body better than I ever had before, I physically was getting worse. These past two years, I’ve spent more money and time dealing with treatments and visits to medical offices than I have in the entirety of the years before. It’s frustrating and disheartening. Yet, I don’t plan on letting it stop me from continuing on with physically treating myself better. It’s more difficult now, due to the effects of MS, but I am looking into different pathways to feel better.
For example, next week, Jen and I are going to begin a twenty-one day cleanse. This………will……..be……….difficult! The first ten days are meatless. Then, eleven more days after, a regimen of a set and very controlled diet. If you could see my face, would see the blank stare of fear and disbelief at the idea of not eating meat for over a week. I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to eat, with meat being out of the picture. I’ll find out soon enough, though. I also don’t know how well I’m going to do with it, but I’m going to give it my best shot. This way, as I re-introduce items into my diet after the cleanse, I’ll be able to record which foods cause a positive reaction to how I physically feel, and which cause a negative. After that, I’ll have to make difficult choices, I imagine, of which foods on the negative list I deem worth the consequences. After all, if I have to cut out too many of the things I love, what’s the worth of it all? I wouldn’t want to live for forty more years eating things I don’t like. What’s the fun in that, right?
Yes, I will make changes, but I won’t give up the joy of living to simply live longer. I can’t remember who, exactly, said this; “The experts say that if I quit smoking, it will add years to my life. Hell, those will be the shitty years at the end, when I’m old and decrepit. What do I want with those years?” Even though I don’t smoke cigarettes any longer, I understand the sentiment. In the words of ‘Queen’, who wants to live forever? Certainly not I. I’ll take two or three more decades, but after that, I’m not so sure if I want to be hanging around much longer. It doesn’t look fun or comfortable. When in my seventies or eighties, I imagine I’ll be ready for the next adventure……if there is one. I don’t know that for sure, but we’ll all have to wait and see.
Until then, I’ll just have to hope that in the coming years, I’ll get better, rather than worse, in return for treating myself better. It’s really all any of us can hope for.
Well, that’s all I have for now. See you next Tuesday!