This Powerhouse is Condemned

Condemned.

Photo by shiny red type @ Flickr.

My life, as of late, has taken a turn for the seemingly impressive. I say “seemingly,” because while it might look impressive at first brush (what with all my exercising and writing and to-do list-making), I assure you, things are getting rather questionable on the inside.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m lazy. If laziness were a career, I’d have $4.2 billion dollars and a vacation home in the Caymans. Little Richard and I would eat caviar and laugh big, open-mouth, tiny black pearl-coated laughs. That’s how good I am at being lazy.

However, recognizing that people don’t actually get paid (in money or caviar) for doing nothing, I decided I should do things that successful, active people do. Basically, I should pretend to be successful and active and hope no one spots my ruse. So, that’s what I’m doing. Specifically, I’ve been exercising at least 6 days a week for two months, I’ve been dieting for a month, and I’ve been writing at least 750 words per day for exactly 107 days. In a row. It makes me look kinda awesome.

But there’s a catch.

See, what I expected to happen was that it would be hard at first, maybe even mostly unproductive, but then I’d start seeing changes. It’d get easier. I wouldn’t curse the alarm every single morning. I expected to put in the hard work, then magically become super me who can do exercise and productive things without every fiber of my being screaming to lie down and watch The Only Way is Essex. But no. That is not what’s happening at all.

Every day I struggle to get up. And it’s getting worse. Now, instead of thinking, “I’m so tired, I don’t want to get up,” I think, “I want to quit. Should I quit? I just don’t want to do this anymore.” I drag myself through the entire workout and slump down exhausted afterward. And then I pound out my 750 words, which often include the phrase, “I really freaking wish I wasn’t doing this right now.”

And weight loss? Not happening. Last week I was so discouraged that my best friend and I decided that I shouldn’t weigh myself anymore. I should just take measurements. Because if I’m gaining muscle it’ll throw the weight thing off and I don’t need to upset myself with a number. So this week I tried just measurements. No change.

I’m facing the very real possibility that nothing will change from here on out—that this is it.

But We Just Exercise to be Healthy, Right?

This look is probably not in my future.

Everyone says that they’re exercising for “health.” I do. I try to tell myself that even if I don’t end up looking like those Pinterest photos, the overall health benefits are worth it. Everyone says that. And I think most of us are lying.

We want weight loss. We want sculpted body parts. We want “that sexy v shape” (oh, lord does that phrase make me angry). But you know what will make you really inspect that belief? If you run and stretch and pull and lift and crunch and cut out sugar and reduce fat and do everything you’re suppose to do…and your body says, “NO! This area here is a flotation device. We are keeping it for survival! Run all you want, bitch!”

I am unhappy with this arrangement.

My friend Anna keeps reminding me that I’m in the normal BMI range, and maybe I should be happy with that. Happy with being healthy. I have to wonder why I’m not. I think it’s because I can make Jabba’s face with my belly if I want to, and I have yet to find a use for that ability.

Jabba the Hut Portrait

Not a great look for abs. Photo By San Diego Shooter @ Flickr.

So, again, I’m confronted: Do I really want to do this—the exercising, avoiding foods, eating truckloads of salads, getting up early—do I want to do this if nothing changes from here on out? If I end up looking like a person who doesn’t exercise, will I still do it? If I look like someone who doesn’t eat right, will I eat right anyway? If I don’t gain any energy, if I don’t like it any more, if it doesn’t make me feel accomplished…if nothing gets better…will I still do it? If  the answer is yes, then by golly I might actually be doing all this for my health. In fact, that’s all I’d be doing it for.

Those questions rang through my head on my cool down walk home today. And the louder they rang, the clearer this was to me:  I have to let go of my expectations. Not just let go, I need to mourn them. I need to burn an effigy of the “ideal” me . I thought about how hard I’ve been working, and how the results aren’t showing. I decided that I have to let the expectation that things will change die like a neglected Ficus. In fact, maybe the Ficus is already dead and I’m just now showing up to its funeral. I thought about all of this and I cried my way home, having buried in my mind the hope of looking slimmer, fitter——better.

On the upside, I’ve been making this banana-peanut-butter-cocoa shake and it’s so delicious I could punch a goat in the mouth. So there’s that.

If You Don’t Live Forever, You’re a Sucker

Plastic mannequin head with futuristic v shape

Mannequins are going to have scary faces in the future. You don’t want to miss out on that. Photo by Horia Varlan, on Flickr.

I kind of want to live forever. I know it’s crazy. I just…I do. Because I just have this feeling that if I die—if I slip in the bathtub and break my neck or die from an aneurism while pooping (those are real reasons people die, y’all)—I’m going to miss out on AMAZING stuff by like 5 minutes. And wouldn’t that be terrible? I mean—to die right before life and science get REALLY cool? I don’t know if I could stand it. Even beyond the grave. I’d be haunting the crap out of a bunch of people.

I think it was the iPhone that did it. Not the first iPhone, but the comparison between the first one and the current one. Because here’s the deal: if you bought the first iPhone, you got an 8GB cool phone with texting and apps and stuff for a whopping $599. That’s a pretty penny. No subsidies. No free phones for AT&T users. You just walked up to the counter, gave them your entire wallet, coughed up a little blood, and you got a fancy doodad in return. Now—just five years later—I can get an iPhone with eight times the storage space, more battery life and a much better camera for $200 less. Or, if I don’t feel like paying ANY money for it, I can get the iPhone 3GS that’s still better than the first one for exactly zero dollars. What a difference 5 years makes. In 5 more years they’ll be stuffing iPhones in boxes of Cap’n Crunch.

And that, friends, is the world we’re living in. Except the iPhone—as cool, glorified and worshiped as it is—is no where near the coolest thing on our horizon. If we can make it another 50 years—shit’s gonna get crazy cool. And that’s why I want to live forever. Or at least for another 50 years. Or 100. Yeah, 100 sounds better. Reasonable.

Anyway…

For your enlightentainment (mashing words together is fun), here’s a brief review of stuff that is going to happen to you if you don’t go and die like a sucker before the tech evolves. Better go get you some vitamins, because it’s gonna be worth it.

Fix Skin Cancer with a Band-Aid

Umm…yeah. With a freaking band-aid. Or, rather, a patch. Same thing. You put the patch on your arm for 3 hours, then a few days later for another 3 hours and—shazam!—no more skin cancer. That’s being tested right now. Isn’t that crazy?! The current treatment for Basal cell carcinoma involves burning, freezing, scraping or zapping with radiation. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather slap a patch on my arm. It’s like those stickers from Trader Joe’s, except that it HEALS YOUR FREAKING SKIN.

Print Some Organs on Your Home Printer

“Keep your liver, Mr. Donor-face-guy,” said everyone on the transplant list, “I’ll just print one up after I’m done printing the banner for my daughter’s birthday party.” Okay, it might not be that simple, but I kid you not, people are PRINTING. ORGANS. Printing them! Like a coupon for Trader Joe’s. Except that it goes in your body to save your life. (Trader Joe’s really needs to up their game.)

Anthony Atala at the Wake Forest School of Medicine has done some stunning work with regenerative medicine.  The school is working on printing skin with a souped-up inkjet printer that would totally change the way wounds and burns are treated.

Skin is cool, but they’re also working on printing hearts. Hearts! It takes 40 minutes to print with a desktop printer, then 4-6 hours later the muscles are contracting. And because these things are comprised of the patient’s own cells, there’s no need for rejection meds. The body just says, “Oh, sure. That’s cool. You belong here.” Work is being done with all kinds of 3D printing, and an 83-year-old woman just received the first 3D-printed jaw transplant.

Is your mind blown? Mine is. Cra-zi-ness. This stuff is happening right now. Can you imagine how cool it’s going to be when I’m 132? Real cool, you all. That’s how cool.

Stop Driving the Car Like a Schmuck—Let the Car Drive Itself

This one’s already happening, too. Steve, the first user of Google’s Self-Driving Toyota Prius, is legally blind, and—I assume—feeling like a badass. Granted, he used the technology to drive to a Taco Bell, so clearly he needs some guidance on where to actually go (Umm…Trader Joe’s. Obviously.), but hey…we all gotta start somewhere. Clearly, the technology is perfect for people like Steve because it opens up really practical solutions to problems he faces. But it would also be perfect for people like me who are tired of wasting drive time not practicing hip-hop finger dancing. I mean, come on.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of stuff that’s being developed right now. Like I said, 50 years from now—who knows!? We’re in a time where the technologies that are being developed are working in synchrony to create exponential growth, understanding and revolution. And, dammit, if I die two years before I have a Speech Jammer gun, a cyborg mouse, or an iPhone that can cook me lasagna, I’m gonna be pissed.

So what do you think? Will you be drinking bloody marys in a space car with me? Or does a robot-filled super future scare the plasma out of you? Don’t be shy, friends, let’s talk this business out.

Mr. Mraz Teaches Love 101

Love ? I love love love you.

Photo By @Doug88888 @ Flickr.

This week I’d like to talk about love. Specifically, what Mr. Jason Mraz has to teach us about it. But first, look at these freaking girls:

Isn’t that the cutest/most awesome thing you’ve ever seen? That much talent so young…whoa. I could squeeze their little cheeks straight off.

Now that we’ve got that cuteness out of the way, let’s talk about how this song is basically all you need to know about what you should want in love. That’s right. Mr. Mraz just covered the whole kit n’ kaboodle in one pop song. Impressive, sir. Impressive.

So, let’s break it down. Here’s what you should be looking for in love:

Someone Who Thinks You’re Freaking Amazing

When I look into your eyes
It’s like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
There’s so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you’ve come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

Do you hear that crap?! Those are like EPIC compliments. Big, gorgeous, gushing, not-at-all-gun-shy compliments. That’s how compliments should sound coming from someone who loves you. You should feel better than you think you are. You should be blown away. And notice that he didn’t say anything stupid like, “You’re keepin’ it tight” or “I love that booty” or some other trash. He’s not just ogling. He’s complimenting eyes and the soul behind them. He’s complimenting the person, not the body the person is in. A+, Jason. A+.

Someone Who’s a Kick Ass Friend

And when you’re needing your space
To do some navigating
I’ll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

I am loving the crap out of this line. Not only is he supportive of the life/soul work people inevitably need to do, but he’s waiting, excited to see what happens. That’s what you want. Someone who’s waiting…waiting to see who you’re going to be tomorrow. Someone who’s convinced it’s gonna be good. You’re gonna be good. Love it.

Someone Who’s In It In It

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up

Love is hard. Not the beginning, usually, but along the road, it gets hard. It’s hard because life is hard. We lose our cool, we’re selfish, we’re needy, we get depressed…there’s a whole myriad of things that make life and love a tough gig. So when you’re thinking about loving someone for a long time—about inviting them into the forever part of your life—you want someone who’s dedicated. Someone who’s going to hold on as hard as you will. Someone who’s gonna do that because “God knows we’re worth it.”

Someone Who Writes and Sings Pretty Songs

Just kidding. (But it doesn’t hurt. I mean, use what ya got, people.)

I think everyone deserves love that’s potent. Love that rips right through you. Love that makes you forget what came before and incapable of imagining anything better. Everyone deserves to be loved in that way that makes you cry when you’re happy. Love that makes you thankful to be alive. Love that you can only meet equally if you love with your whole, entire heart. Everyone deserves that. Everyone.

Here’s hoping love finds its way to you.

Everyone’s Better Than You at Everything

Head in Hands

Head in Hands by Alex E. Proimos, on Flickr

The internet teaches us new lessons every day. There are nuggets of knowledge littering every IP address and data package from here to Nauru and back. Being the perpetual student that I am, I keep my ear to the ground and my eyes peeled for whatever enlightening bit the internet wishes to reveal to me and…I’ve finally discovered the #1 lesson that it has to offer:

Everyone is Better Than You at Everything

Yes. It’s true. Whatever you’re doing, you’re not doing it very well. There are many, many people—droves of people, really—doing what you’re doing, but better. For instance…

People Are Better Than You at Parenting

Whether they’re tiger mom-ing, French mom-ing, attaching themselves, or detaching themselves—WHATEVER they’re doing, it’s better than what you’re doing. They run play groups. Moms breastfeed their children in public until they’re 5 years old without batting an eye. Dads coach the soccer team and build tree houses fit for the queen. They’re masters of cognitive development. Of discipline. Structure. Diapering. At-home science projects. Themed birthday parties. Whatever there is to be done as a parent, they’re doing it better than you. You might as well ship your kid to the zoo. You’re doing a terrible job.

People Are Better Than You at Home Decorating

Sure, you have decent furniture. You have a photo or two matted and framed. You have an accent wall. It’s like you’re not even trying. Because you know what? People are decorating the crap out of their homes. People are out there, upcycling, DIYing and ombre-ing every surface in sight. They’ve woven chic waste baskets out of plastic bags. Their laundry rooms are like five-star hotels for dirty socks. Where you see a box of plastic spoons, they see a custom-painted, hand-made chrysanthemum mirror. Every last item they own is coordinated, organized, arranged and exhibited with the perfect blend of exactitude, whimsy and glamour. Your home, to these home decorating mavens, is little more than a “before” picture. How do you sleep at night in that?

People Are Better Than You at Working Out

People are doing it to it out there! They’ve got pithy sayings. They’ve got fancy shoes. They’ve got health shakes. They’ve got gym memberships. They’ve got ROCK! HARD! ABS! When the going gets tough, they don’t cry like you do. They don’t sweat like a weenie, they sweat like it’s their JOB. When they sweat, they say, “Sweat is fat crying! Yeah! Air kick!” Then they do some bicep curls and drink a gallon of lemon-cucumber-mint detox juice. Where the heck is your detox juice? Nowhere. That’s where.

People Are Better Than You at Being Productive

How are people managing being better than you at parenting, home decorating AND working out? Simple. They’re better than you at being productive. They have lists. They have organizational structures for said lists. They have techniques. They get up early. They power nap. They multitask teleconferences while bleaching their kitchen grout and whipping up a crock pot meal. They could live your entire life on Tuesdays alone. In fact, it’d be best to just try to slip your laundry in with theirs, or try to sneak your to-do list onto their fridge because—let’s face it—that’s about as close as you’re gonna get to being even half as productive as these life masterminds.

So there you have it: evidence that every single person on the internet is doing everything better than you. Of course, there’s also the possibility that people don’t photograph, post, or describe in elegant detail the shitstorm that happens before and after the shutter clicks. There’s a teensy, weensy chance that the internet doesn’t show us real people—it shows us über-people; people at their highest moment, with no trace of failure, messiness, or inelegance. It’s that, or you’re the worst possible human ever. One of the two.

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