It bothers me to my core to see the way people treat their bodies these days. While thousands of years of evolution have given us special physical abilities to move, run, climb, push, lift - most people don’t exercise. Most don’t take advantage of these amazing gifts. Most people see exercise as a cumbersome nuisance.
People today eat food that’s processed to the point where it could be classified as poison. Sugar is sweet to taste but is the main reason why there is more and more type-2 diabetes. Or people - young people especially - don’t eat, thinking that they will magically become more attractive or to somehow punish themselves.
This time of year, I am particular pensive. The question that I am going to be focused on this year is: why are we so self-destructive, especially to our own bodies, when we know better? Or, looked at another way: how do we learn to love ourselves again? And by ourselves, I mean: how do we learn to love our bodies again?
Love of anything involves commitment and discipline. Love should never be taken for granted. Just as a person who is disabled or sick longs for ability or health, love is something that we often miss only when it’s not there. What needs to change about the way we live, the way we see ourselves, and the way that we behave to engage with our outward physical presence in the world? Just starting a conversation here…
First of all, I want to say thank you to all of you who have chosen to follow me. I’ve noted with great satisfaction that the number of people following my blog go from single digits to 130+ in about 3 months and I really appreciate your support. Also, WillBraham, thanks for your comments especially. I haven’t figured out how to reply to your kind comments which is why I have not replied.
In any case, this blog is about goals for 2012. Let’s face it, 2011 was a tough year. There continues to be high unemployment here in the US and a massive potential economic crisis over in Europe continuing to simmer. We still don’t know whether or not the Euro will collapse. US public debt is skyrocketing while housing prices have fallen (and with it, consumer confidence). On top of all of these other challenges, Steve Jobs passed away - he was arguably one of the most productive and visionary CEOs of all time. Add then there is this horrible Penn State / Syracuse news. Gabby Gifford’s extraordinary recovery is probably the most remarkable and optimistic story of the year.
In my view, right now we are witnessing a crisis of leadership. We have good leaders, including Obama, but not great ones. And this particular epoch in our history calls for great leaders - someone like Winston Churchill. I am hoping that in Nov 2012 we select a leader, whether Obama or someone from the Republican side, who has the strength of character to get this situation under control and restore our confidence in a viable economic future.
Next year, 2012, I see as an important year for myself personally. Like you, I’ve been delaying my big life goals in favor of the needs and demands of today. Three years ago, I had the goal of breaking free from my job and starting my own company. I did that and it’s gone well. Very well, but I’m still not doing what I really want to do. What I really want to do is something that will benefit the health of a lot of people. I want to help people fall in love with their bodies again, and to embrace physical exercise as an essential part of their lives.
On Tumblr, I see a lot of young people, people in school who are struggling with their body image. My heart sinks when I read about young women contending with binging/purging, or taking pictures of herself in which she appears nearly skeletal. I see these pictures and I think about the fact that my own daughter will one day have to deal with some of these major life challenges. I just want to issue a blanket statement that you are all very beautiful just as you are & please try to enjoy this time in your lives.
What I see in my travels, though, is a country that is getting incredibly fat and out of shape. I was on an airplane two weeks ago, and they ran out of seat-belt extenders. One sleeping guy was straddling two seats. Next to him was a crumpled bag from McDonald’s . I’ve written about this in my blogs this Fall & have interviewed some doctors about the underlying causes of the problem. From an economic standpoint, all of this obesity is becoming more and more of a burden - I saw one study estimate that the medical cost of obesity will be $344 billion by 2018 (when you take into consideration the fact that obesity contributes to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, joint replacement, depression, etc.). As a result, I regard obesity as one of the major sources of risk to the future of our economy & our country.
While I am formulating plans to figure out how I can make a contribution, I have a feeling that 2012 will be a year of great opportunity and great change. I’m not sure as yet what that change will look like, but I’m starting to meet with folks that I think can help, starting to develop a strategy and an idea of which folks I need to move this process forward. It’s difficult and frustrating in trying to accomplish this big goal when I need to pay a lot of attention (12-14 hours a day) to my current business, not to mention my running.
From a running perspective, I have a 2012 goal there too: simply put, it’s 5K in under 18 minutes. I’ve done a 5K in 19 minutes about 5 years ago. So I essentially want to beat my former self. What is your personal fitness goal for 2012?
I also challenge you to think about your goals - not necessarily losing 3-4 pounds, passing that next exam, or saving for that mountain biking trip to Moab, Utah - but the big-picture goals. The “how I want to put a dent in the universe” type of goal. Now more than ever is a time that demands creative thinking, vigor for change and the horsepower to deliver.