Round is a shape, but not a very good one
There’s an odd, paralyzing kind of fear that, when faced with mortal uncertainty, descends on a person like a fog of befuddlement. It’s like being stuck in a circular room with no corner in which one can hide. We all have those moments in our lives; they can be defining moments, or moments that make you stick your head in the sand.
Last year I came face to face with one of my greatest fears. And while it didn’t completely overwhelm me, it never really went away.
Face it, like those moments, we all have our deepest fears.
Mine happens to be death.
Dying terrifies me on so many levels: I believe in God and in heaven; I believe that true faith and an honest belief in good will get you there; I’m not sure I believe in hell, at least not that of the fire & brimstone variety. Yet in spite of believing that there is something else that follows this life, it scares me.
The seed of that fear is, I suppose, the questions that have the tendency to take on a voice of their own during quiet times. What if I’ve screwed this life up? What if the things I should be accountable for but don’t have the guts to own up to bite me in the celestial ass? And what if I’m wrong, that in spite of the faith that gets me over bumps in the road, that after this there’s nothing?
I can’t abide the idea of not existing.
There’s an entire theological spectrum that does sometimes eat at me, but it would take too much time to sift through it, and it would terminally bore anyone who bothered to read it. Or it would piss them off.
I had an epiphany of sorts; I’ve had it before, one of those light bulb moments that makes you grunt “duh!” because you get it, but I actually got it this time.
I’m feeding my worst fear. I’ve set myself up with a lifestyle that, aside from fits and starts and frustrating failures, is leading me down the path to the one thing I fear most of all.
My nutrition sucks. I don’t inhale food the way an addict does cocaine, but I make poor choices. I go for the easy fix, whatever is convenient, whatever makes the least mess to clean up, because frankly, I hate cleaning up. If I had a kitchen fairy who could wave a magic wand and the kitchen would be instantly clean, I’d cook every night. Well, most nights.
My physical activity is inadequate. Sure, I exercise, but not at the level of intensity that I probably could. There’s another fear that holds me back there—the fear of movement, because of chronic pain—but I allow that fear to hold me back.
My goals have been typically unrealistic. “Lose weight” isn’t good enough. “Lose 70 pounds” isn’t much better. I need to set a series of smaller goals, and be specific in how I intend to achieve those goals.
And yeah, I’ve been watching Dr. Phil.
I like him; he can be abrasive, but he seems to strongly believe in personal accountability, and I appreciate that.
My personal epiphany came while watching his show; I can’t even specifically recall exactly what was said or by whom, Dr. Phil or one of his guests, but I started thinking about my deepest fear—one I was already keenly aware of—and what it really meant.
That annoying little voice that often compels me to get up and do the dishes, or finish a particularly difficult chapter, piped up something along the lines of, “You are headed straight for the white light at the end of the tunnel if you don’t make the changes you know you need to and get yourself back into some semblance of shape, and for you this shape is not round.”
I hate that voice, mostly because it’s usually right. It’s the voice that also corrects me (and I sometimes ignore) when I think I hear M&Ms calling to me, or when I use having FMS and other assorted physical problems as a reason to not get up off my ass and work out.
That voice also keeps telling me that in the vein of being realistic, I need to remember that I’m not 20 anymore, and I don’t need the body of my 20 year old self. That person was thin, but not terribly fit. The voice keeps reminding me that at age 30 I was 30 pounds heavier than at 20, but in terrific physical shape, with little body fat and lots of lean muscle. And the voice tells me I might not be able to get that back, either, but it’s a hell of a lot more likely than trying to ever squeeze into a size 8 again.
So. Someone at WWDN started a 6 week exercise challenge and I’m joining in. It starts on Monday, so between now and then I’ll work on setting up some realistic goals for myself, take a good look at why I do what I do and why I don’t do what I should, and hopefully work up the nerve to face some of my own personal demons.
We all have them.
Fear of mortality is mine.
While it’s inevitable that someday I will take that last breath, if I stake a stand and do what I can to stave off the end of my personal life story, maybe I can stare down that personal demon until I’m ready to accept it.
Like, when I’m 120.