Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Self-Care is the Opposite of Selfish

I am writing this post one day after my husband’s 75th birthday. As I’ve said to many people, it’s a little hard for us to fathom that David has reached this landmark birthday, given that he was only 21 when we met and 24 when we married on April 9, 1968. How time flies!

Yesterday, I reported on Facebook that David does not eat or want sweets, so there was no birthday cake or any other kind of pastry for him on his big day. Every morning, he prepares a very healthy breakfast for the two of us; it includes a variety of fresh fruits and raw vegetables. So yesterday, I stuck a single little birthday candle in one-half of a strawberry, lit it, and sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He thought that was fun and funny.

A few hours after that, we went to a good, local café that offers senior discounts. The waitress told David that he could have a free birthday sundae after his meal, but he refused it. She laughingly offered it to me instead, but I refused it, too. She seemed more than a bit surprised by that.

After  lunch, as a present to himself, David took the day off from working on jobs for editing clients of ours and worked on his own writing; that’s his 29th book. He also worked out in the basement for a couple of hours, as he does at least nine or ten hours a week. He mainly lifts weights, but he also stretches and uses our Schwinn exercise bike. I am filled with admiration for him and his amazing self-discipline.

It occurred to me yesterday, more strongly than ever before, that taking care of one's own health, as David does so well and consistently, is also the best gift that one can give one's spouse and other loved ones.

Here is my reasoning behind that statement.

Self-indulgence in things that are bad for us, like sweets, alcohol, and smoking, while pleasurable for a few minutes at a time, can actually be very selfish.  That is, those things are harmful not just to us and our own bodies, but also to the health of our closest social units, given that they contribute to long-term illness (such as diabetes or liver disease or lung cancer), often saddling us and others with long-term financial burdens and shortening our lives.

David has remarked more than once that he cares for his body not just for himself, but also for me. Perhaps if more people started thinking the way he does, pondering the fact that self-care is also care of one's loved ones, we would have much better health in our society as a whole.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Clutter-Clearing Equals Satisfaction

(This post was originally composed as a letter to a friend, Patty Fletcher. She liked it so much that she suggested I  re-work it as a blog post, then send it back to her so she could re-blog it. Thanks again for your interest, Patty.)

Yesterday, October 6, I took the day off from editing and taught Spanish, did the dishes, did some laundry, mopped the kitchen floor, and then packed up a sizable box of old VCR tapes for a second-hand store. I also cleaned off all the shelves of the bookcase they were on and organized the VCR tapes we are keeping (for now) and many DVDs of movies.

That last task alone, all the work with the VCR tapes and DVDs, took me at least two hours and was very tiring, as I have a VERY hard time getting down on the floor and then back up. It is quite literally painful for me. But I figure that I need to practice. We do get down on the floor and then up again in the exercise classes that I teach, a few times per class, but there, I have a nice foam exercise mat and a weight lifting bench to push myself up on, using my arms. I'm sure it would be easier if I could lose the 20 or so pounds that I need to.

Anyway, David (my husband) praised me for what I accomplished yesterday, and that made me feel good. Sure, it's fine when you can figuratively pat yourself on the back for a hard job well done, but it's even better when you can get praise from another person.

This was just one small step toward my gigantic total job of clutter-clearing, but it was a significant one, and getting it done made me feel good. Also, it's a bookcase right next to the front door, thus highly visible, so it's good to have it a lot neater.

Tonight we go out for a nice dinner with our son and his girlfriend. David's 75th birthday is tomorrow, the 8th. We will go out again next Sunday with two friends. They are old friends with whom we almost always celebrate our various birthdays: in January, May (two of us have May birthdays), and October.

It’s hard for us to believe that David is about to turn 75. That’s because we met when he was just 21 and I was 19, and we married when he was 24 and I was 21, close to 22. We were married on April 9, 1968, 50 years ago this April. How time flies!

My two-part birthday gift to David is a vow to take better care of my own health (with him as my inspiration) and to keep working steadily on clutter-clearing. Here’s to many more years of good health and happiness, plus a cleaner, neater house for the two of us!