Don’t Worry, Be Happy

There’s a lot wrong with me physically. I’ve had double-bypass heart surgery and two procedures to place stents in my chest and legs to open up clogged arteries. Both of my original hips have been exchanged for titanium substitutes. My feet hurt most of the time due to gout, and I have to walk slowly because I have peripheral artery disease. There’s more bad stuff, but you get the idea. I’m 69 years old now, and tell people I expect to live forever. Of course forever at my age may not be all that long.

 In spite of my less than mint condition, however, I’m living a pretty happy, charmed life. At least I think so. I retired recently, and am getting to spend my extra free time these days volunteering. Helping students from around the world improve their English is especially gratifying. I may have a fixed, limited income, but I really like my new freedom.

Which brings me to the point of this particular blog––the cultivation of a “You Are What You Think philosophy.” After reading what I have to say here, you may very well think that my physical deficiencies are minor compared with my mental state. But I honestly believe that many people are slowly killing themselves by their thinking more than their bad habits.

It’s not that you shouldn’t try to eat healthy, for example. It’s just that obsessing about your diet is worse than all the pizza and hot fudge sundaes you may consume. When I talk about obsessing, I’m talking about stressing and worrying and regularly depreciating your willpower. Whether it’s food, your health in general, money, work or your relationships, your thinking or attitude matter a lot. If you can stop sweating both the small and  big stuff, you’re going to be much happier and live longer. Period. I’m no doctor, and if I turn out to be wrong about this you’re welcome to dance on my grave or toss my ashes in the nearest dumpster.

Many people work themselves up over a variety of things. I certainly am among the guilty. As a parent, I could have done much better. I don’t have as many friends as I would like because I’ve gotten too comfortable being alone. There’s always a reason not to exercise. Sometimes I worry about my Social Security and Medicare being cut. It bothers me that we have the world’s largest military budget several times over.

But ever since I had my heart surgery 10 years ago, I’ve focused on the important things I have rather than what I don’t have. You really can choose to greatly minimize your worry and stress. Though I love sports, sometimes the tension of a tight game gets to me. When that happens, I simply turn off the radio or television. I do the same when the news is so bad it begins to upset me. Or when I get too riled up over some political issue. There are a few commentators who push my buttons, so I push my remote and turn them off.

I like my life too much to worry excessively and do myself in. When I’m down to my last hamburger, I’ll have it with fries.

 

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