Saturday, July 23, 2011

Inspiration for a Boomer Birthday

Several days before my birthday I heard about a 61 year old about to swim from Cuba to Miami.  Diana Nyad isn’t just anybody.  She’s one of my public radio “friends.” After 30 years of retirement from competitive swimming, she decided to try it again (she’d tried it before in 1978).  Talk about grit, optimism and high performance.  It’s a great story.
When my birthday came and I was about to go on my morning run, I decided to make it count.  Instead of the usual pre-work 4 miles right from my house through the neighborhood, I was inspired by Diana’s story.  I went to my favorite running place and ran the 5 I really felt like running.  I was rewarded with a white heron, some deer and a fawn, the wind on my face and a feeling of freedom.  I got to that sweet spot of running where your legs, arm and breath are all in perfect synchrony.  I was grateful that at my age I can still do an easy 5 miles in a beautiful, serene setting and that I was able to take the time to make it a little more special that day.
There are so many small ways to make life a little sweeter.  You don’t have to swim 104 miles.  How can you turn something routine into something just a little more special?  Be inspired.
From Diana’s story, AHorse With No Name, America

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sex Selection And Other Parental Control Issues

When I read about parents in India and China selecting forthe sex of their children, at first I thought it had nothing to do with the parenting issues I address with clients.  Then I started to wonder.  Sex selection is a choice you can make in utero that is not based on the medical status of your fetus. One physician suggested that you can choose whether to be a parent, but you can’t choose whether to have a boy or girl, or a tall or short child.  Obviously ne never saw My Sister’s Keeper (which raised some similar and fascinating issues).   Of course when it comes to gender, it’s not whether you can choose, it’s whether you ought to choose.

My interest is more about what happens later.  Say you choose a boy, does he then have to go to medical school?  Play the piano?  Marry a woman of the same class and race?  Where does it end?

As the article states, regardless of the reason…sex selection prioritizes the needs of one generation over another, making having children more about bringing parents satisfaction than about responsibly creating an independent human being.
Think about that.  Then ask yourself how much your decisions, vis-à-vis your children, are about meeting your needs, and how much they’re about creating an independent human being?  An independent human being would be one you would accept (as in accept their preferences), trust (as in trust them to do the right thing) and respect (as in listen when their opinions or choices differ from your own.  Raising an independent human being might mean that this human’s choices would not be the same as your choices, that the right thing for you might not be the right thing for them. 
I think the whole selection issue raises some very important and interesting ideas to contemplate as parents of children any age.  Most adults I know can still feel the disapproval from their own parents from just a glance or a sigh, and continue to live with that burden as parents and grandparents themselves.  That’s definitely not the kind of future relationship I’m hoping for with my child.  Consider where you fall on this issue, and how it affects your relationships with your kids and parents.  It’s never too late to make a change.
Daughters, John Mayer

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is Your Goal to Be Good, or Get Better?

Having just written about getting healthy, I’m struck by the relevance of be good vs get better goals in the pursuit of health.  Actually, they’re relevant in the pursuit of many things, perhaps most things.  Check out Heidi Halvorson’s book, Succeed, for more on these issues.
A be good goal is one in which you are trying to show how, well, how good you are.  Getting the A, the promotion or the win is usually a be good goal.  Get better goals are those in which, you guessed it, you’re trying to get better in some way.  Learning the material that goes into getting the A, getting your skills to the next level because it’s exciting and fun and that gets you the promotion, winning the game because you know you’ve trained hard, played your absolute best and the win is just the icing on the cake, these are about getting better.
If being good is about success, getting better is about the journey.
What does this have to do with getting healthy?  You can see how it works.  A be good goal for health is to lose 50 pounds.  Look folks, I lost 50 pounds.  How cool is that!  A get better goal is to work on healthy, mindful eating by selecting a healthy eating plan and asking the mindful questions every time you want to eat something.  You know that you’re learning something, mastering something and growing as you put this get better plan into place.
It’s the same with going to the gym.  I’m going to lift 50 pounds by September vs I’m going to find some things at the gym, in the park or in my house, that I can do 3 times a week  that I enjoy enough to do week in and week out unless I’m sick or dead.  And maybe an exercise buddy would help, something you can do if you’re getting better, but is more difficult to do when you’re trying to prove you can be good. 
Consider your goals in any area.  It’s all about how you think about things.  In most cases, a reframe to a get better mentality, much like a growth mindset, will keep you moving and give you a much happier ride.
GettingBetter.  The Beatles.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Real Men Get Healthy…And It’s Not Just for Men

Men don’t see to their health the way women do.  It’s just a fact.  That means they don’t get screenings they need and don’t get go to a doctor for health problems they notice.  No, not all men, but too many.  There are many reasons including the idea that it’s not macho to ask for help, that it fits with the higher risk-taking seen among men and that it’s related to emotional suppression.

Men who are self-reliant, real men perhaps, tend to take better charge of their health.  It’s not self-reliant as in doing everything on your own, it’s more like knowing you need to take control, because no one else will.

Women are not immune to some of these same difficulties.  I’m the first to admit that I can be too macho at times.  Witness me forcing that yoga pose that my body is really not ready for.  Ditto suppressing difficult emotions and taking undue risk.

What’s a man or woman to do?

*Everyone worries about their health, male or female.  It’s okay to have appropriate concern and take appropriate steps like…

*Checking with your doctor about things you might need to do.  Don’t have a doctor?  Get one.  Read about health screening you might need.  Consider your family history and  look more closely at screenings for diseases present in your family.

*Learning more about how to stay healthy whether male or female.

*Make a plan for your health maintenance by having reminders in your calendar (which is probably electronic so you can plan ahead for the next 50 years or so) and be clear on your intention to stick to the plan.

*Take control and use your grit.  You can only be there for your family, friends or work if you’re healthy.

I’ve written before about healthy life styles.  I’m not saying it’s all about seeing doctors and taking tests.  It’s also about learning and being active in your own healthcare.  It doesn’t have to be new year’s to make a resolution.  How about it?  Be manly.  Take one step to be more in charge of your health today.