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Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Go To Extremes

"Darling I don't know why I go to extremes
Too high or too low there ain't no in-betweens
And if I stand or I fall
It's all or nothing at all
Darling I don't know why I go to extremes"

- Billy Joel/I Go To Extremes

First and foremost, this is a great song. I had the pleasure of seeing Billy Joel perform it live in Syracuse (New York) during the Stormfront Tour. The live version sounded spot-on, and Billy Joel & band were about as tight of a touring band as I think you could get.

Anyway, as I'm sitting here with the notion that I want to write something...but not quite sure what that "something" may occurred to me that Friday was a relatively good day. Why so? Well I worked out, went for a long walk and ate a reasonable amount of food. Saturday was the opposite: I didn't work out, and I ate crap all day long. Today being Easter, the eating situation will no doubt not be improving much. Regardless of the day, date, holiday, etc., the one constant is that all of this is truly in my head.

In my head?

Yes, there is no outside force that forces me to have that donut.

There is no outside force that tells me "you really don't need to exercise today".

There is no outside force that tells me "you will feel better if you just sit on your ass all evening".

I am the master of all that I survey, on the inside that is. For me, consistency is something the rarest element in the universe, in that I just wish I could find some level of consistency in my life on the "right" side of eating right, exercising, activity, mental attitude, etc. At times it feels as if there is this gravitational force associated with bad eating and sloth that I fight against. It's akin to an episode of (the original) Star Trek, where the USS Enterprise is being held in orbit around some alien planet, and all that it's engines can do is to at best prevent it from crashing into the planet below. Yes, I'm feeling that way from time to time. I just want to be able to "break orbit" if you will.

Now I suppose the religious among us would say that this is the prefect time for an Easter analogy. In fact I could make one up now: Christ died for our sins, and that gives us the chance to live more holy lives, etc. I am not suggesting that this kind of analogy has no merit, but I will say that it doesn't really hold any personal commitment for me now in this time and place. Spiritually I'm somewhat a drift at the moment. Hell, maybe that's half the problem. Let's put it this way: I'm not holding much stock in an old white guy with a beard living in a cloud helping me out any time soon.

Back to the main thought at hand.

So what am I to do? Well there are things...small things...that I could do to help me make that incremental progress that I think is best. For example, I can keep the commitment to working out 4 days a week and try to drill it into my head that I really do feel better after spending time in the gym and that the overall benefits far outweigh the costs. I could also see about something like a list for around the house...something that would have small and big things I can tackle at any given time, which I think helps because I'm at my best when I'm active (and at my worst when I am not). There are also far bigger issues in my life that I have to deal with, but some of them really can't be tackled now...some must be handled in their own time. In fact, one of the things I've learned the hard way is that (and to paraphrase the Book of Ecclesiastes) there really is a time and season for everything under heaven.

On the positive side, if there is anything I am and should be appreciative of it's the fact that I do have the ability to self-analyze and self-correct. That may not sound like much, but I have people in my life who don't in fact have one or both of those attributes, which is in and of itself quite frightening. Imaging being locked in a cage, with the key to the lock being just out of reach? That's how I imagine suffering from mental illness must be like. On the flip side, while I sometimes view myself as being in that same cage, I've figured out that the door isn't actually locked, so reaching for keys isn't what's required...rather, simply opening the door is.

Happy Easter to one and all who may stumble upon this!

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