I look around me and I see crowds of people – seriously generations of them – who are not up for it. Nevermind that I haven’t even bothered to define what ‘it’ is. Just fill in the blank. A marathon? A 5k run? The meteor, should it ever hit? The zombie apocalypse. Or – you know – stuff that actually happens: flood, fire, some accident where you might just be called upon to be The One.
Or – fine – let’s not be so morose. How about a full afternoon of playing with the kids? Or getting to the top of three flights of stairs without being out of breath?
I’m serious about this. Serious, the saying goes, as a heart attack.
NPR just ran an article explaining the ridiculously unhealthy condition of our nation’s teens. I’m 44 and in better shape than the majority of our nation’s teenagers and – let me be clear – I am not proud of this. Quite the contrary. I am horrified. These kids will be toast in the face of any hardship.
Most of their parents, as well.
Let me say this in blunt terms: Get up off your ass.
Let me say this, too, in equally blunt terms: I fucking hate ‘health’ magazines.
These ideas are related, trust me. Because the health mags and the fashion mags are essentially the same, just a different aesthetic. Both promote largely unattainable eye candy and expect that it justifies itself.
It does not. Vanity is hollow and runs out of gas by the end of the block. Always.
Get up off your ass because it matters. It matters to your kids that you set a good example. It matters to your kids that you actually play with them. It matters to your loved ones that you are healthy enough be around for a while. It matters to your community that they have someone they can turn to when the going gets tough.
My parents come from the generation that rolled up its sleeves. The Great Depression and World War II. The rebuilding of the world, and being there for the person who needed you. And this was before ‘being there’ meant texting “Donate” to the Red Cross while you sat with your morning frappuccino and cake pop. It meant Being There.
The solution is not a pill. It is not diabetes meds or cholesterol meds or depression meds. It is not a computer or a smart phone or a tweet.
It’s doing something hard. Doing something that is deeply uncomfortable. Doing something that takes you right to the fence and makes you push it out a little farther.
Find out what you are capable of. Make yourself capable of more. You get one shot at this.