Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It does not matter....but it matters a lot

I have spent the last week with my parents. My Dad has dementia - mixed Alzheimer's and vascular - which is a cruel condition.

It is painful to watch his bewilderment at the world, terrible to see my mum's heartbreak at losing her man, yet wonderful to see them both retain such tenderness towards each other.

It made me realise that so much of all the drama in life does not matter, including all the petty debates around diet and exercise. All the energy that we all expend studying and writing on training and eating mean little in the end. 75 or 80 years on this earth are pretty short.

But I am also thinking of what does matter.

  • Love and relationships
  • Happiness
  • Health and function.

It is that last one that keeps me going here on this blog. Health and function If there is any thing that I can do to avoid ending like my dad I want to try to do it. Brain health, sufficient strength, balance, functional movement (climbing stairs, getting out of a chair) good bowel function, life without a catheter - you don't often see those as goals on your training blogs but when we look to our 70s or 80s they are what is important.

Further up that list: happiness. Dad said to me in a moment of clarity, "Get out and enjoy the world son."

I will.

That means training and mountains. It means fewer 10-12 hour days at work. More walks. More laughing.

Love and relationships.

The most important. And that includes the spiritual side of life. Lots to write there.

Och well. Back to reading about exercise and whether a potato will kill me.


Nick said...

Great blog post! :0) Hope things go as smoothly as possible for you and your family...

Torrey said...

Amen. It's easy for me to forget exactly _why_ I do crossfit, paleo, intermittent fasting, and other challenging things. Sometimes I get caught up simply in taking on and overcoming challenges, or worse, in feeling superior due to my fitness! Thanks for the reminder of the real, important, long-term goals.

christa said...

Lovely post, thank you for sharing this.

FeelGoodEating said...

I'm sorry and I'm happy for you.

My dad had a stroke this summer in august. He's 79. He made it through pretty good.

It effected me profoundly.
I'm 44.

Since August, my stress has pretty much disappeared. What on Earth is there to even worry about??

I love my kids...but I don't worry about them anymore. I just love the shit out of them.

My mum and dad, yup, they will be in another place im a few years from now. I don't worry about them, I just love the shit out of them.

My amazing girfriend...I'm getting married to her as quckly as possible...I don't worry about her our future or us, I just love the shit out of her.

As to work...I have left every day at 17:30 since august. When others look at me or frown at me for being the first one out the door when the "bell rings", I don't worry about it. I smile and say "i've got things to do and life to live"
I don't worry about work anymore. I do a good job and i give it my best when I'm there...If they don't like me or fire me, so be it, there will be other jobs.

I cook delicious real food, sometimes I eat a bit too much and sometimes I don't stop after 2 glasses of wine. I excercise the way I LIKE regularly, I don't worry about it any of it at all.

Life is to be enjoyed!

I'm sad you have to see the struggle that your dad has to endure...I'm happy that you wrote this post as it shows clearly what's pointed out and understand the only things that truly are and the only things that matter!


Txomin said...

Indeed. Perspective.

louise said...

thanks chris, great post.

Tim Anderson said...


I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I too share the same goals you have. My grandparents on both sides of my family suffered from Alzheimer's.

Life is short. And happiness and relationships are what matter. I do believe health and function lend themselves well to happiness and relationships. Hard to be happy or have good relationships without health.

Keep fighting the good fight. Do what you can and pray for the rest.

God bless.


Sifter said...

I could've written your post. My dad has vascular dementia, a www2 combat medic with two bronze stars for bravery. My mom just passed away Sept 11 at age 93 from heart failure. health and function, balance and longevity... these are my targets. Pales this and sat.fat that are talmudic pilpul. It's like listening to religous zealots from the middle ages. Good post!

Chris said...

Thanks for all the good wishes. I actually wrote this after being awake all night watching my dad sleep so it could have been more articulate, but I was "tired and emotional".

@marc - a great comment that has hit home. Thank you so much. Your wisdom is inspiring.


Anonymous said...

Chris, dare I say this is your best post ever! Thanks for sharing your "emotional" moment in a fashion that puts everything in perspective.

It has been said that in cases of dementia the person is transferring themselves slowly over to the "other side" as opposed to suddenly at the moment of death. Hopefully the idea of an intact person spanning dimensions will be of some help to you at this time.

On a lighter note:

No one on their death bed was ever heard to say they wished they'd spent more time in the office.

So get out and enjoy the world.

Todd Hargrove said...


Sorry to hear about Dad, that must be incredibly tough.

Just wanted you to know that your blog is one of the reasons I got started thinking and writing about things that don't matter but do matter.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear about your father. Watching a parent suffer is never ever simple is.

As we discussed earlier this year all of this obsessive competitiveness to be "right" overshadows the original goal: obtaining health. Looking good naked helps but health is job 1.


Rod said...

There is a rythm to life that gets lost in all this day to day experience.What is the best path that leads to an understanding of the nature of our life? Maximizing our mind/body is certainly a core thing.Great pecs that help you get you layed eventually arent enough.Our demise and death are always lurking in the background.Perhaps is there is no answer, only thy experience.My father had alys. dementia and now sets in a satin bag under my coffee table.The man I knew would laugh about that.

Abandoned By Wolves said...

You have my sympathy and best wishes. I too am losing a parent, to "dementia with 'lewy bodies'", and it's hard to see them fade away.

And like you, I also am trying to do whatever I can to avoid that fate and to stick to what's really important.

Good luck!