I may not appear to be a jealous person. In fact, I periodically suffer from intense bouts of wanting. Wanting what, you may ask? More. More what? More whatever: money, time, space, things, anything. Food used to be on that list. I don't actively suppress the feeling when it is upon me, but I do sometimes fool myself into thinking I'm controlling it when in fact I am wallowing in the feeling while it exists. In very basic terms, I like the idea of not being content. It reminds me not to become complacent, even though by most standards, I should just enjoy myself and be content.
And there is the crucial difference. I am both happy where I am, doing what I'm doing, being with who I am. At the same time, I am not content to remain where I am, doing the things I'm doing, being with who I am, for very long. If life is a journey, stasis is your enemy.
I have a difficult time explaining this to people. By nature, people want to "fix" things that are wrong if they can, and for whatever reason, this strikes people as being "wrong." So I don't share this with too many people. I've had an ongoing debate about it with my lovely wife for over 14 years now. It's really just the "human" side of what she would call "going with the program." The unhealthy part (says she) is that I attempt to control the path, the motion along it, and probably the weather just for good measure!
I don't disagree, but if you can understand your own motivations (forget everyone else's), you can effect real change in yourself. If you can begin to grasp what motivates others, then you have a real shot at changing the world. For the purposes of this blog, changing myself is the ultimate goal, so we will stick to that for the time being.
My motivations led me to name this blog after Leonidas, King of Sparta during the beginning of the 5th Century B.C. I've linked the wikipedia article for those who want to read about this incredible individual. Assuming you know at least what is posted there, I will not regurgitate anything unnecessarily in what follows.
Leonidas' death at the battle of Thermopylae was predicted. Ignoring the loaded connotations of the word "predicted" for a moment, I look at the result of my weigh-in at the start of this journey as the same as the fate Leonidas met at Thermopylae. What could these two disparate events have in common? Allow me to explain.
The society that was ancient Sparta demanded that Leonidas die defending the pass at Thermopylae. His other "choices" were to retreat or surrender. These were not on the table for the 300 Spartans. Similarly, an ambitious executive in modern corporate America finds himself spending hour upon hour beyond what "normal" employees do, because it is "expected" that to advance, you have to do far more. These extended hours can wreck havoc on the health and well-being of the person, because work eats up the vast majority of time each week. Do this long enough without some balance, and the result approaches Leonidas'. I am not saying that I am Leonidas. Leonidas actually died for the principles he believed in. I intend to survive. Does that make me a coward? Perhaps in a sense.
The culture of America as it exists today essentially pushes people down an unhealthy path, like animals to slaughter. I will not recount the endless statistics that describe "the obesity epidemic" that currently grips the country. I assume you're on board with the fact that it exists, and if our culture doesn't change in this regard, we are doomed. That said, there are people out there, living among us, who successfully go against the grain. These people ascribe to a higher ideal. Instead of accepting pink slime as food, because it's convenient, they actually eat whole grains, cook their own food (and some kill or grow their own), and generally ignore the stupidity of the rest of us. The path of least resistance, the one demanded by our culture as Americans, is killing us.
I can't tell you how difficult that last sentence was to write. For years, as my weight ballooned more and more out of control, I took solace in the fact that I "wasn't one of those psychos" who was "out in left field." Or something indeterminate like that. Maybe it's because I felt that I belonged to the majority, and staying with the herd was comforting. It isn't comforting any longer. The results of that attitude can be viewed in post number one. See link if you want to take a trip down memory lane.
To recap: Leonidas died honorably, beholden to the demands of his culture. I reached a point akin to the "choice" he had, and choose to honor my life, my wife, and my children by not dying early as a result of living a twisted version of what the American Dream seems to have become for so many. What this obviously oversimplifies, is what Leonidas' death achieved, and (likewise), what my survival could achieve. We will explore that idea in a future post.
As for the reason for this week's title beyond the obvious nationalistic nature of my post, Buffalo Wild Wings came to our town this week. We've been there three times this week. It's one of my favorite places (of the chains that I generally hate), and I still managed to lose weight this week.
Weight: 290.6 pounds (-52.0 lbs.), Waist: 52" (-7.8"), BMI: 41.7 (-7.5).