A Plea for Logic


I’ve got a lot of frustration & angst coursing through my veins right now, so I will forewarn you that today’s post will not be the most optimistic or warm & fuzzy thing you’ll read today.  Nor will it be particularly organized or coherent (at least at times).  But I do promise that it will be inspirational; it’s just that inspiration sometimes has to come in the form of a swift kick in the rear.frustration 1

In case you should find yourself becoming offended at any point while reading this post, please remember the following things:

  1. These are just my opinions, & no one is under any obligation to agree with me.
  2. I write these posts as much to myself as to anyone else.
  3. I really do care about people, & my goal is to inspire others to achieve their fullest potential in life, but I’m slowly becoming more & more aware of the fact that doing so sometimes means being very blunt & risking offending a few folks.

Anyhow, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts & hearing a lot of things lately that just grind my gears to no end.  Everywhere I look I feel like the world is running completely counter to what is logical & sane (at least in my mind).  I like to think of myself as someone who is capable of balancing both logic & emotion to live a fulfilling & enjoyable life; that is certainly one of my greatest goals in life which I seek to pursue daily.  While I learned long ago to stop expecting the world around me to be logical, it still irks me to see how completely illogical so many folks are in our world today.  To be fair, I seriously doubt society in general is any more illogical now than it ever was, but all I know is the world as it is now, so that’s all I can truly address at this time.

logic cartoon

Anyhow, here are some of the things that have been particularly irksome to me lately:

  • College students begging for/demanding free education
    • Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that college tuition has risen drastically in the past few years & is clearly out of control. However, expecting college education to be free is just ludicrous.  Unless you want to pay well over 50% of your income in taxes, expecting to pay zero tuition is just absurd.  There is no such thing as free healthcare or free education anyway.  It’s all paid for in taxes.  Duh!  Is it fair that so many college graduates end up in loads of debt that they can’t afford to pay off because they can’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage?    No!  But life’s not fair, & no one forced you to get that liberal arts degree that you should have known from day one wasn’t worth the paper on which it was printed.  Sorry.  This isn’t the 1950s anymore.  I know when we were kids we were told we’d be sold for life if we just got a college degree, regardless of what the degree was.  That was a lie.  It might have been true 40 or 50 years ago, but it isn’t true now & really hasn’t been for quite some time.  If you aren’t willing to put in the extra years in school to get an advanced degree that actually makes your undergrad years useful, then don’t even bother getting some kind of worthless psych or sociology or women’s studies degree.  Just go to technical school & learn a trade that allows you to actually have a decent career & won’t land you in loads of debt for the rest of your life.  You’ll be far better off in the long run.  Another great way to avoid massive student debt is to work your butt off so you can get a scholarship(s).  You can also strategically apply to schools to which you know you’ll be an outstanding candidate which further increases your odds of obtaining a scholarship.  (P.S. That’s exactly what I did, & it worked.)nothing is free
  • People who either demonize all police officers or worship them all as heroes
    • I don’t see why it’s so difficult to admit that there are plenty of good police officers while there are also plenty of corrupt ones. I think it’s pretty obvious that we do have a problem with police brutality in this country, much of which is directed at minorities.  However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to treat every cop I meet as if he’s some deranged psycho.  Why is it so difficult for people to understand that you can support justice by demanding that police officers be held responsible for the actions they take & prosecuted if they truly act outside the lines of duty without hating all police officers everywhere?  This isn’t a black or white issue, guys.  We need to take each case on a case by case basis, rather than making blanket judgments about all cops everywhere based on one or two sensational cases that wind up in the news.police brutality
  • Our society’s continued acceptance & even promotion of obesity
    • As a nurse I’m continually confronted with the horrible health consequences of obesity, from diabetes to heart disease & so much more, so this is a subject that has a lot of personal value to me. Once again, I don’t see why it’s so difficult for people to understand that I can speak out against obesity without hating or being rude to all obese people I meet.  Would I ever treat an obese patient as somehow less than human just because of their obesity?  Absolutely not.  That should go without saying.  But does that mean I have to support the continued acceptance & even promotion of obesity within our society?  Absolutely not.  While I’ll gladly admit that the average fashion model is scarily skinny & likely unhealthy because of that, I don’t think that means we need to swing the pendulum the other way & demand that current models be replaced with truly plus size models who are easily 50-100 lbs overweight.  I don’t know why moderation is such a difficult concept for Americans (& people in general) to grasp.  To me it seems obvious that men & women can be healthy at various sizes, & some folks are going to be naturally a bit skinnier while others are naturally a bit plumper.  But it all has to be WITHIN REASON.  Trust me, I’m not some paragon of fitness virtue.  I recently got my body fat tested, & it was 26.9%.  That places me squarely within the healthy range for a woman my age, but my goal is to get down to 22%-25% so that I can be even healthier.  I’ve lost 3.5 inches off my waist since August, & my goal is to lose 1-2 more inches in the next few months.  I’m not perfect, but I do hold myself to certain standards, & I take action when I see that I’ve gained a few pounds/inches & don’t look or feel as good as I’d like.  What no one wants to talk about is that no one has ever become obese overnight.  No one has ever gained 50 lbs while they slept!  These things happen gradually.  And, yes, I know that is why some people say it’s so easy not to notice, but that has never made sense to me.  No one goes from a size 8 to a size 14 overnight.  When your clothes get tight or no longer fit & you have to buy new ones, how do you not notice that?  It is always possible that I am just an asshole, but those who know me in real life can attest that my actions speak otherwise . . . My point is I’m really not trying to make anyone feel bad about themselves here.  I’m just trying to be a voice of reason in a world that seems to have lost all sense of logic.  The truth is I really do care about people, & when I see how many of us are quite literally killing ourselves with obesity, I cannot be silent about that.  I want people to be healthy & happy & feel good about themselves.  I certainly don’t expect everyone to be a size 2 or a size 6 or to look like a VS model.  I’m not any of those things myself.  But when I see that 2/3 of Americans are overweight & 1/3 are obese, I know that this is a problem I/we cannot just ignore.

      Graph showing world obesity rates by country.

      We’re lying to ourselves if we say we don’t have a problem.

  • People who stereotype all Muslims as terrorists
    • Since I’m being blunt today, I’ll just say it exactly how I see it. ISIS sucks.  They are a true personification of evil.  HOWEVER, just because a small group of radical Muslims has acted in such astoundingly inhumane ways does not mean that all Muslims everywhere are terrorists or potential terrorists.  Throughout history, horrible injustices have been carried out in the name of every major religion.  Fundamentalists & radicals of all religions can become dangerous terrorists.  It just so happens that at this point in history a lot of them are Islamic.  A thousand years ago, it was a different story.  And a thousand years from now (if we haven’t all killed each other off), it will once again probably be a different story.  The point is we need to stop making assumptions about people based solely on race or religion or any such factor.  As I said earlier about police officers, we need to take each individual on a case by case basis.  I don’t know why that is so hard for some folks to grasp.terrorism
  • People who refuse to accept the consequences of their actions
    • I think this is the bottom line of what really annoys me about so much of modern society. So many people refuse to accept the consequences of their actions.  I know it sucks to admit that you might be to blame for certain bad things that have happened in your life (not all bad things because obviously some things are beyond anyone’s control), but until you accept that, you’re not going to have the power to overcome the obstacles you face.  You’ll constantly be stuck playing the victim.  As one of my favorite high school teachers said, “Life’s not fair.  I’m not nice.  Get used to it.”  It sounds harsh, but it’s true.  Life ISN’T fair.  But there’s nothing to be gained by harping about it forever & ever.  This absolutely does not mean we should not work to repair some of the injustices in the world.  Of course not.  But if there is anything I hope to teach my future children, it’s this: you alone are ultimately responsible for the actions you take & thus you must accept any & all consequences of those actions.  If you have unprotected sex, you might get pregnant or contract an STI.  If you do poorly in school, you won’t get accepted to college.  If you choose a worthless major, you probably won’t get a good job out of college & you’ll end up in debt up to your eyeballs.  If you drink & drive, you might get a DUI & worse yet you might injure or kill yourself or others.  If you try cocaine or heroin or any other such drugs, you will probably get addicted & run your life into the ground.  If you choose to hang out with people who have no life goals & generally make bad decisions, you’ll probably end up doing the same crappy things with your life; you’ll still be responsible for those choices, but both positive & negative influences are real & should not be ignored.  The list goes on & on, but I think you get the point.choices

If there’s anything I hope to convey in this post it’s this: stop blaming others for the mistakes you’ve made or for the bad things that have happened in your life.  Own up to your failures & realize the power that lies within you to improve your own life.  To be clear, there’s nothing to be gained in self-flagellation, for none of is perfect & we’ve all had our fair share of screw-ups.  But until we accept that each of us is ultimately responsible for our own lives, we’ll be forever stuck in the cycle of victimhood & we’ll never reach our full potential.  It’s scary to realize how much power we have over our own lives, but it’s also invigorating & exciting & the best thing any of us can ever do for ourselves.lamb of god

I’ll end this post with a link to a song I found last night that helped inspire this post.  My husband is a big fan of the Richmond, VA-based metal band lamb of god.  Thanks to my husband playing their albums over & over in the car, I’ve slowly started to like some of their music as well.  When I came across this song last night, the lyrics struck such a chord that I felt I must share it with y’all today.  Listen, enjoy, & be inspired.

In case heavy metal isn’t your thing, I’ll share my favorite lyrics below which are spoken towards the end of the song:

“Now is the moment when everything can change

You are completely responsible for your own life

And no one is coming to save you from yourself

So stop blaming your problems on any & everything else

It does not matter one tiny f—ing bit

How unfair you think the world is

It’s only what you do right here, right now,

Right this f—ing instant that matters

It’s your choice to sink or swim”randy blythe prison

(Just for some background, Randy Blythe, the vocalist & lyricist of lamb of god, spent over thirty days in prison in the Czech Republic in 2012 for a crime for which he was eventually found innocent & acquitted.  Despite knowing that he could face up to 10 years in prison, he chose to return to that country to stand trial because he felt that it was his responsibility to do so.  He has also overcome a long history of severe alcoholism.  The point is this is a man who definitely has the right to say these words to us because he has lived them out over & over again.)

 

When 10 lbs Feels Like Mt Everest


This is going to be a hard blog post to write, partly because it’s just a painful subject for me & partly because it’s frankly embarrassing, but sadly I think it is necessary for me to write & share this in order to make the changes I need to make.  Or at the very least I think it will be helpful in holding me accountable to make those changes.  And let’s face it, I need all the help I can get or I wouldn’t be in my current situation.weight loss

What is my current situation, you ask?  The answer is I’m about 10 lbs overweight.  Now I know that in a culture where obesity is basically the norm, complaining about being 10 lbs overweight might sound a bit absurd, but throughout my life I’ve always tried to hold myself to higher standards than the norm, not just in regards to health but with everything.  But the sad truth is that over the past few months I’ve noticed that my clothes don’t fit as well & I just don’t like what I see in the mirror.  I’m hoping no one other than my husband has noticed this, but that isn’t really what matters anyway.  What matters is that I know I’m not as healthy as I want to be (or should be) & I don’t have the confidence I had when I was just a few pounds lighter.change yesterday

I was doing some research on healthy body fat percentages for women, & if my bioelectric scale is at all accurate (it’s consistent if nothing else), then I am only 1%-2% above the upper end of the ideal body fat percentage for women my age.  Additionally my BMI has been fluctuating between 24.9 & 25.2 which is right on the borderline of healthy weight vs overweight.  Now I fully realize that BMI is not a very reliable indicator of true health status, especially for men, but even perhaps for women like me who lift a fair amount of weights.  But nonetheless I know that when I was just 5-10 lbs thinner my BMI was squarely within the healthy range & I can’t help but feel that I was indeed a healthier size then.  Not to mention I felt better about my appearance which inevitably led to greater confidence in all aspects of my life.  Call me vain if you like, but I think that is just biology at work, just human nature if you will.Ideal-Body-Fat-Percentage-Chart3

The upside is that I know for a fact that I am stronger now than I’ve ever been because I can lift more weights than I ever have in the past.  So even though my workouts have been pretty sporadic over the past year or so, I’ve still gained some muscle.  So that’s encouraging.  I’ve also started biking over the past month & I can already tell a difference in my cardiovascular stamina, so that too is encouraging.

However, the bottom line is my waist is too fat.  Unfortunately every single member of my family, on both sides, gains weight right around the waistline.  Not only is that, in my opinion, the most unattractive place to gain weight, but more importantly it is also the worst for your health because belly fat promotes higher blood sugars which promote inflammation which promotes heart disease, among other ills.  Sigh . . . The upshot is that, even though my mom would never wear a miniskirt, she still has amazing legs even in her 50s.  And even though I’ve got a few pounds to lose, I don’t have an inch of cellulite, never have had any, & probably never will, (if I take after my mom, that is, & statistically speaking that’s the likeliest outcome).belly fat

Now I know some people will say I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but the fact of the matter is I do need to be hard on myself if I want to stay as healthy as I can & feel as good as possible about my body.  My husband & I have been talking a lot lately about having kids & how we can best prepare for that eventuality in the next few years.  One of the things we’ve agreed on is that we both need to be in the best shape of our lives before even thinking about getting pregnant.  We have several reasons for this.

First, we want to set the best possible example for our children so that they too will lead healthy lives.  Second, there is research that shows that the weight/health status of BOTH parents at the time of conception can influence the child’s weight/health status throughout their entire life (in other words, if one or both parents are overweight when the child is conceived, that child will be genetically predisposed to being overweight as well).  Third, we have enough foresight to realize that trying to lose weight & become healthier AFTER having kids is a ludicrous idea.  We don’t want to start out with a deficit so to speak.  We want to have good healthy habits in place so that when the challenges of childcare arise we are less likely to continue with or fall back on unhealthy ways.

Wow, what an inspiration!

Wow, what an inspiration!

The good news is I’ve been in this situation before & resolved it in a fairly short amount of time.  I know there are no “tricks” or magic secrets to losing weight.  It’s actually very simple: eat healthier (more protein & veggies, fewer empty carbs), drink more water (quite often thirst is disguised as hunger), & exercise more (particularly weight-lifting because that boosts the baseline metabolism).  It worked in the past & there is no reason to think it won’t work again.lifestyle change

The trouble comes in following my own damn advice & realizing that there is no one to blame here but me.  Yes, there is far too much candy floating around the hospital, & yes, night shift is notorious for leading to weight gain for a variety of reasons.  But I like to think I’m stronger than those temptations.  And yet I won’t be until I stop blaming my circumstances, making excuses for myself, & generally floundering in self-pity. choices

So this blog post is my, albeit pathetic, way of saying no more excuses.  No more blaming my circumstances or anything or anyone else in my life.  I’m an adult with a good job, a wonderful husband, & a nice house, & someday I want to be a mother, & a good one at that (which is not to say that overweight women can’t be good moms . . . obviously I am not that short-sighted).  But if I want that to make that dream come true then I’ve got to live up to my own standards & lose these 10 lbs or whatever it is.  It might not even be that much.  All I know is it feels like Mt. Everest right now.  But people have climbed Mt. Everest, & by golly, I am going to be one of them (in this metaphorical sense only).excuses

P.S. To my friends/coworkers who may read this, please, please slap my hand if you see me eating anything that could be considered junk food.  I sincerely mean that.  I will thank you for it.