Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Me First!

Recently, I was nearing the end of a shorter workday, and looking forward to a training ride after getting home. My wife called and upon finding out that I would be coming home earlier than expected requested that I take the car to the Quick Lube to have the oil changed. This, she said, would save her having to do it tomorrow. Of course I agreed. Then she added other smaller tasks which I now certainly would have time to do. I felt the "push back" coming on.

By the time I arrived home, I was in a poor mood, but had managed to figure out how to accomplish all the requested tasks and still get a training ride in. But my mood hadn't improved.

I recognize that riding a bicycle could be seen by some as childish or at least as just a hobby. It might be seen as one of those pursuits that adults with extra time could enjoy, but one that just as easily could be shelved if other more worthy tasks need to be done. But to me it is much more than a hobby or even the revival of a childhood pastime. And besides, I earn that bicycling time.

I get up out of bed at 2:00 every work day. I don't have to, most of our drivers don't begin their work day until 6:00. However, we usually work 10 - 12 hours a day, and a 6:00 start would eliminate any riding time, especially in the winter when it's dark by 4:30. So instead of remaining in bed, I usually only get 7 hours of sleep so that I create bicycling time. Furthermore, I rarely stop for anything while I'm working. I eat in the truck, I hurry at each pick-up or delivery, and I often wait for the bathroom until long past the time when I really should take the time to go. I'm not done until I finish my deliveries. So getting done as quickly as possible is the goal. Every minute I save is bicycling time.

So you can see why, when anyone happens to notice that I have "extra" time and begins to imagine how they could use that time to accomplish their agenda, it can hamper my mood.

The real problem is that I was raised to believe that JOY comes when we order our priorities like the letters in the word - Jesus then others then yourself. (If you were raised in a different religious culture, you might have a different word. But the idea is the same.) Only spiritual tasks have any real value. Lesser value can be attached to serving others, for that is in some ways a spiritual task. But serving myself is vain, and unworthy of anyone who hopes for a "mansion on a hilltop" in "gloryland".

The result is a society full of fat, unhealthy hypocrites!

In order to have physical and mental health, we need a routine of active living, including daily exercise. We must get our heart rates up to at least 50% above our resting heart rates (70% is better) and keep it there for at least 30 - 45 minutes EVERY DAY. (I know that the commonly held belief is 3 to 4 times a week, but like most other health related things, we have "dumbed down" the figures in order to get an unhealthy society to cooperate. Notice how the height/weight tables allow you to weigh more as you get older. Do you really think that it's healthier for a person to weigh more at 50 than at 20 when they are the same person with the same body? That's why BMI is such a good measurement to use instead.)

We don't realize that we're slowly extinguishing our lives as we sink deeper and deeper into our couches or the seats of our automobiles. All of the tasks of modern life crowd out the one really important task - taking care of our bodies so that we can live.

A daily exercise regimen is the most important thing I do.

Getting the oil changed in the car is important. We cannot afford to buy a new one simply because we have neglected to take care of the old one. However, I cannot purchase a new body, no matter how much money I possess. I must take care of this one.

Finally, we will all have to begin to see the wisdom of a "me first" view of our lives. I cannot serve others or even Jesus if I am in poor physical health or poor mental health, ( or even poor financial health). My ability to help others will be severely impaired if I have chronic disease whether physical or mental. And disease will finally use up all of my resources, allowing nothing for others - not even Jesus.

A daily training ride is not optional. Because I understand that, I create the time for it through self-discipline. Now I need to stand firm and say "NO, me first!"

No comments:

Post a Comment