Sunday, October 4, 2009

Slowing down...and perspective

I've not posted much over the past few weeks and my posting in general I think will be slowing down

For some of the time I was visiting my Dad who is not well at the moment - various problems including sudden onset dementia. It is quite frightening to witness and puts all this stuff into perspective.

Perspective in a number of ways

  • What is really important is family and friends (and faith I might add) , not obsessing about training / diet. Keep it simple.
  • BUT...health is so important and it is vital to do what you can to keep it and build it
  • However....you are not immortal. We will all die one day and this body, no matter how well built, how fit, how healthy it once was will decompose. Reflect on that

I love this stuff, don't get me wrong, but in some ways it doesn't matter at all.

17 comments:

Stephen said...

That was very moving and very insightful. I'm a bit of a lurker on this blog but find it really inspiring and helpful.

In terms of health and fitness, for me it is also important to focus not so much on long term goals, like aging but on the benefits to the everyday things that matter, like family etc. My primary goal in training is to allow me the strength and the stamina to be a good parent. Being a bit of an older dad, i'm very aware of how much benefit being fitter brings in terms of the quality of my time i can give to my kids. I know this because i feel the huge drop in my energy, enthusiasm and sheer physical ability to keep up with them when for any reason my training tails off for a while. I keep it very simple, just bodyweights and running, (though i'm increasingly looking at the Mark Sisson ideas about excercise thanks to discovering them here), but it makes all the difference to the things that are really important in my life. That to me is truly functional training.

Stephen

Chris said...

Thanks Stephen. Good points you make

Lurkers are welcome....

Calvin said...

Hey Chris,

I'm sorry to hear about your Dad's condition and all the accompanying hardships that you're having to go through too.

In my own life, I've already lost one parent to a terminal disease; while I miss my Mom, I tend to have an attitude of gratitude: e.g. I'm grateful for all that she gave to me; all the memories; that I was able to have my last goodbyes (too often people just get the phone call); that she didn't suffer too long as many people do (the end wasn't pretty, but at least it wasn't drawn out with numerous surgeries, pain, and low-quality of life); that she lived a pretty darn good life with 5 fine children that she is proud to have passed the torch on to . . . .

Your perspective comments really "hit home" for me. For instance, I too put relationships as a priority in my life, rather than accumulations of stuff. Ask anyone on their death bed what really mattered the most in their life and I doubt that many will say all the stuff that they accumulated (that they can't take with them), or that they wished they'd worked more. No, it's about relationships, with others' and I'll include with self too.

I too am a believer in the "keep it simple" (KISS) principle; in addition, I'll toss in a generous application of the 80/20 principle too; time and again, I come back to these basics and try to apply these philosophies to many areas of my life (e.g. work, relationships, fitness).

Your last perspective comment:

"However....you are not immortal. We will all die one day and this body, no matter how well built, how fit, how healthy it once was will decompose. Reflect on that"

My reply: I totally agree; furthermore, I will add that if people don't put their faith into religious afterlife, chances are that they will apply themselves more fully to living in the short time that they have here.

Best regards,

Calvin

Rannoch Donald said...

Chris,

Nail, head. Bang. It has taken me the best part of 30 years to get to a stage where how I practice (a much better word that train which has the implication of a finished result whereas practice is always about the work in progress) reflects me.

People ask me constantly for a prescription and whilst I can offer a ton of suggestions in reality people need to find things they want to do. Even better, that they love to do. Yes, some of the basic stuff can get a little dull but it's the spring board to the fun stuff so you need to get on with it.

It took me a long time to realise that often the qualitites we aspire to physically are infact the least useful, the very aspects that lead to injury. To be the fastest, the strongest, the toughest, the last man standing. They all come with a price and that price is often, ironically, your health. So sooner rather than later we have to embrace the activities that promote resilience and longevity.

To be the last man standing must be very lonely place.

For me, this weekend, I started back on the Tai Chi road. 20 years on from my last class, the time is right and I undertand what it is giving me in return for my efforts.

So give me a challenge, one that involves people, a little sweat and a lot of fun, something than I can practice on my own.

We need to embrace discomfort, it's a learning tool. We need to avoid distress, that's when the fun stops and the pain starts.

And in between we need to be nice to ourselves and nicer to everyone else.

To quote Sam Harris (yeah I know, I do it alot)

"Living long enough, each will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything we love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”

Add Buddha to the mix -

"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection"

So if there is a prescription, for me, that might be it.

R

Anonymous said...

lurker here, very sorry about your dad. wish you the best and good luck. Great post on perspective, it's a shame most of us (myself included) either never get it or get it too late.

Chad said...

It's taken me a long time to learn just that. Perspective...oh, and to make your workouts fun, something you want to do!

I love your posts and always will when you can make them. As the Irish say, "all the best."
(We visit my wife's family once a year up in Donegal).

Good luck.

Craig B. said...

Chris- More of the same from me. Blessings to you, your Father, your family.

Craig

Chris said...

thanks guys

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Well put.

Rannoch Donald said...

Someting I wanted to share from a while back...

http://simplestrength.com/2008/08/#

R

Chris said...

That was a good post Rannoch. Thanks

JLL said...

I disagree with the "we will all die one day" -- or perhaps one day, yes, but hopefully, that will be more than a hundred years away. Life extension is the future, and I hope to be there to witness it.

Best of luck with your dad.

Rannoch Donald said...

Life extension is the future. Well, it would have to be, wouldn't it? ;)

That's almost worth getting on a T-shirt.

Best of luck with that, let me know how it goes.

R

Chris said...

JLL

....er you are going to die one day. I came across a statistic th other day - 10 out of 10 people die. Get used to it.

"Life extension" just puts off the inevitable.

Forget life extension...think about life enhancement.

Billy Oblivion said...

I lost my father 10 years ago.

He was either (there was some confusion) 64 or 65.

He over 290 pounds when he died of either a heart attack or a stroke (at his weight and age there was no point in doing an autopsy, he died in bed alone).

He never saw his first Grand Daughter dance. He never saw his second son get married. He never met his three (current) grandsons.

Because he was 290 pounds and the only "running" he did was to the bathroom.

This stuff isn't important, but it's critical.

Routine exercise, especially stuff involving the visospatial parts of the brain (i.e. tossing a ball around, playing tennis or even golf) help keep the brain active and delay the onset of dementia (delay. Yes, we all wear out and die).

Spending your life in the gym picking heavy shtuff up and putting it back down, well, it's *a* choice, but maybe not the healthiest one.

However spending PART of it there is absolutely critical.

Joakim said...

Moving, Chris. Thanks for sharing.

Hope things are well under these circumstances.

You mention´faith´ - well, what about it? What kind of faith and why is it important? (it´s a serious question, I do not want to open yet another God debate here...)

Warmly,
Joakim

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