"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn"
These clever words are sung by Jim Morrison from The Doors in the song 'The Wasp'. They often play through my earbuds as I run. Yes I'm one of those annoying people that exercises.
As I sweat profusely, my shirt grossly sticking to my torso, I think about the line, how true the words are and how they apply to many facets of life.
If you've ever read through these pages you'd be familiar with the story about how I was once a super fatty that ate crap food, eventually becoming unhealthy as a result, then had some kind of life epiphany, starting growing veggies in my backyard, sourcing my food from places other than just the stupidmarket, as a result I got much healthier.
I have a fairly basic approach to better living, and that is, generally speaking, to embrace a life of eating mostly food that begins as real food ingredients, you know the stuff the government tells you you should eats lots of, things like vegetables, fruit and a little meat. Although I publicly advocate for a better understanding of health, I'm not telling anyone that to be healthy you need to embrace a range of new wellness fads. In fact I think a lot of them are a load of shit, I think they confuse the situation and polarise what is needed for good health compared to what contributes to poor health.
Health is relative, and some people are convinced that if a packet of 'food' states its healthy credentials then it must be healthy. It's absolute trickery, and we're better off with food that has no printed credentials, nothing printed on it at all is preferable. Health can be achieved by making simple changes, it's as simple as cooking with more vegetables or eating vegetables at all. You'd be surprised with what many people are eating, our populations health is a mirror that no one can deny. I digress.
Back to the excellent line from Mr Morrison.
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn"
The more I hear the words the more they set off sparks. I relate them to my own personal story, I imagine the sliding doors (The Doors....get it?) to other versions of me that could have existed. I could have stayed the path, continued to get fatter and sicker, no doubt ending up in the box, six foot under a lot earlier. Alternatively, I could have turned extreme and morphed into a green smoothie, coconut loving vegan yogi, kefir fermented, ancient grain, activated almond and choo choo berry wellness kind of person. I'm not suggesting that any of these activities will make you unhealthy, it's just that they're not the only way to get healthy, and definitely not what kept people relatively healthy for eons (not discounting the threat of black plaque, small pox and silly wars etc). Instead I went middle of the road, sensible, common sense, practical, logical and achievable (and by the way, foraging wild mushrooms and eating wild shot rabbit isn't what made me healthy, eating real food is what made me healthy, carrots, cabbage, tomato etc). The end result is that my medical vitals are in better shape, I feel better, and most important of all is that my buns look much better in a tight pair of jeans.
Lets re-cap the big picture story.
1. Because of my actions, my health declined, and at some point I realised I needed to make changes in order to improve my health (whilst understanding and accepting that my health would never return to that perfect optimal state, but could be significantly repaired).
2. I then made deliberate effort required, implemented the necessary changes, and I repaired (over many years and I continue to repair).
Does the story sound familiar? Let's examine another similar example.
We have acknowledged that our planet is in a poor state of health, a result of our collective actions. We also know that we could make changes which would result in an improvement of earth's health. We're currently at that point, that sliding door moment where we're required to make a choice, do we do something or do nothing. Only time will tell which door we've chosen.
What is profound (if only to me) is the relationship between giving a shit about my personal health and giving a shit about environmental health. For me, the two seem to go hand in hand. They shift back and forwards, they linger in the distance, pulling and pushing, influencing in my life choices. Allow me to elaborate. Years ago I wanted to reduce my impacts on the natural world by growing my own food, as a result I suddenly found I had a bucket load of fresh produce, which I then ate, which improved my health. Seeing the mash up here? The more I understand about real food, the importance of core ingredients of cooking, the more I want to support the places where that produce is grown with regenerative agricultural practices at play, simply because the fresher and more naturally produced the food is, the healthier it is for me. See the pulling and the pushing? It's like a porno stuck in a loop.
I wonder how amazing the world would be if we turned off the TV's, if the advertising had little effect on us, if we returned to some of the sensible old ways, ate better food, the stuff that starts as a carrot, an onion, an eggplant and thus improved our health. I wonder if doing this, in learning to realign our value system we'd fall head over heals with supporting good agriculture and in turn reduce at least some of our environmental impacts.
I don't have all the answers, but I'm fairly comfortable with the choices I've made, and I have a fair idea what to do going forward. But these choices only impact directly on me, my family and to some extent my local community. Hang on, think about that. Positive changes that impact on you the individual, your family and your local community. Wow I wonder what impact that might have. If we all did that, wouldn't it change everything?
Today I read an article about survivalist preppers, making ready for the Apocalypse. Maybe in 20 years time this article will be redundant, the world will have spiraled into chaos, Trump will be the overlord and computers won't even exist. Sliding doors people, sliding doors.
Here is a recent photo of me, pre-apocolypse, but post-veg box delivery. As you can see I have some 'scars' from the old version of me, but also note the something unusual on my face, a smile. That's because I'm happier than I once was. I have less, I also have more.