I’ve known my best friend for most of my life. We went to the same elementary, secondary and high school, stayed in touch throughout the college years and we still regularly hang out. We share love for rock music and great movies, although these days we often end up discussing cultural, social or political matters instead. It does sound a bit snotty, I guess. But at one point you might take a look around, and realize that there is a very limited variety of topics you speak about with the majority of your buddies and acquaintances. To put it bluntly, these people either have no idea whatsoever about certain issues (and most likely won’t ever become aware of them, unless the Facebook timeline brings the enlightenment right in front of their faces), or simply don’t care, as they have to deal with mortgage payments, shopping lists, children’s school assignments, work projects, planning holidays and watching talent shows. Of course, those things are important. Yet for the large number of folks who build their lives around all the chores and responsibilities, self-improvement and their own needs and wishes never come into picture.
So I was having a conversation with my BFF few weeks ago, and I was honestly astonished by the sheer amount of thinking and actual action he puts into personal growth. This dude is working from home, so he’s not that familiar with the classic nine to five system (I can’t even imagine him having a job like that), but on the other hand he certainly has a different perspective on life because of it. My buddy certainly lives a comfortable life – and while I shouldn’t have been, I was still somewhat surprised by his problems with stress and occasional mental exhaustion.
It made me realize that people of today can’t really live a life without worries, no one can. Kings can be dethroned, millionaires can become beggars, the happiest marriages may go astray. Everyone has to constantly evolve, make life decisions, choose paths. Every now and then this friend of mine sounds like some motivational coach (and I consider most of them frauds and complete waste of time), but I do feel slightly moved by some of his reflections.
Lately he’s been preoccupied with the notion of a healthy diet and exercising, and it kind of resonated with me. I had an unusually active summer this year, lost like 5-6 kilos, and although I love to turn it into a joke and say that there’s something scary going on with me, in fact I wish to keep up with the changes.
I didn’t give up on bacon. I did not sign up for the gym either. I’m not inclined to turn my whole life upside down all of a sudden, that’s not in my nature. Though the step-by-step method might just bring the right results in the long run. Consuming smaller portions of food and a no-no to the late night stacks already help a lot.
Being 190 cm tall helped to camouflage the 98 kg of weight but I knew I had to do something. I only needed the stimulus which would break through my stubbornness. The summer garden work and the friendly advice did the trick. Now it’s P.C. to say that as long as you’re happy with yourself, you can be extra large or super skinny and others should not criticize you for your ‘size’.
And that’s bull (the political correctness deal is ludicrous as well, but it’s a huge topic to cover). While the concepts of body-shaming or fat-shaming tend to get ugly, first of all you ought to consider your health, but also accept your limits and realize that extremes should be avoided. When a photographer needs to use a panoramic view to fit all of you in the picture… there’s your clue, really. Or where’s the happiness in throwing up your today’s lunch to lose few grams? Ricky Gervais talks quite a bit about obesity and how the society in general views weight issues in his comedy routines, and I largely agree with his opinions.
Let’s get back on track. I don’t necessarily have my lifestyle worked out to the same degree as my BFF, but I have given it some thought since. I believe I’m still in the early phase of my adult life and although my character has already been more or less shaped, there’s still room for improvements in other areas. I refuse to accept that I could become one of the people I mentioned in the beginning – those constrained by obligations and duties.
Despite the fact that I’m done with studying (at least for now), I’m still hungry for knowledge. Be it information about the Japanese musicians from the 60s, latest NASA discoveries, or unraveling some weird paradoxes, I want to learn new things. I suppose that’s what humanities do to a person. There’s a time for lewd jokes and goofing around, there’s also a time for getting philosophical.
I really like how many people these days start to think for themselves. Young mothers care for their children all the same, but actually pay more attention to themselves and get active. Older people go back to university, kids pick up more extra-curriculum classes. All these decisions help you grow as a human being, especially if you do them of your own accord.
Never fall into the trap of assuming you don’t have what it takes to get any better, or that you’ve achieved everything.