Inertia is an incredible force – the urge to sink into a recliner and stay there for 20 or 30 years. During our last trip home, my doctors said “Wow, your cholesterol is really high. Even your triglycerides are high.” The way she said it, kind of awestruck, I almost expected a high five. There was none forthcoming. My cholesterol has always been the black smudge across an otherwise clean bill of health. Then, on the flight home, I could barely heft my carry on bag into the overhead bin. And it hit me; I can not live the life I envision without making some changes.
On the cholesterol front, I still have a low cardio risk score. “That’s good” my doctor explained, “Because I can’t treat you as long as you live in Budapest.” Cholesterol medication requires routine tests for liver function (that’s a bit unsettling). I must embrace the old fashion way – a forced acceptance that not all my problems can be fixed by a little pill. Let’s be honest, I have become a bit too familiar with the fried meat and cheese cuisine of Central Europe – lulled into a fantasy that walking, improved fitness, and dropping a few pounds created some bizarre immunity to a crazy and unhealthy diet.
I ponder the bigger point – this isn’t just about cholesterol. Our life is active. And as we move forward, it will hopefully become more active. My careening suitcase could have brained the woman ahead of me had she not leaned forward at the perfect time. A few years ago, I could have lifted this bag. My needs are simple: to bike, hike and dash thru cities and train stations; lug my own stuff and not drop dead in the process. I have some work to do.
A city life helps. We walk everywhere. This week, I mixed in some easy running. We bid restaurant life farewell, focusing our meals around the fruits and vegetables ubiquitously available at stands throughout the city. But all the fruits and vegetables in the world are not going to lug my bags. Pat is a gym faithful. With great sorrow, I accept a gym membership is in my near future.
The effort required in all of this frankly stinks. But there is no pill I can pop which will carry my bag and jog when I am in a hurry. A few months ago, we arrived in Zagreb three hours late at nearly midnight after the trams had stopped running for the night. Sometimes you just have to grab your things and schlep a few miles.
Discipline doesn’t come easily to me. My inertia lies in a comfy chair and a good book. I never imagined a retirement of jogging and weights and tabouli. I envisioned a life with no goals, no feedback of any type, no one rating what I just did or telling me what to do next. Just as I expect freedom, I hear a voice – my voice – coaching me. My own frailties whisper their feedback in my ear. I write my goals and objectives. And I accept some things in life are never going to change.