Lazy Luddite Log

21.5.13

Taking Care

I have recently had need to actively contemplate the things I can do to take care of myself. I had a cold but the mild kind that still allowed me to go to work. A lot of thinking (while sitting on buses) involved keeping track of what I needed to buy to ensure I was well-fed and medicated (even if just on comforting placebos). Now my temp work has ended and the care regimen has to shift focus somewhat. Rather than rushing to fit everything in, my focus is now on making sure I overcome inertia and get things done. Luckily a lot of the things that are good for me are things I enjoy. Or is that what defines the things that are good for you? Here is a list of some of the things I try to do to keep well (in a whole person way rather than just bodily)...

* Rest including sleep is paramount. While working I was focusing on this more than in my younger days by cutting short time with friends. I figure that some company is better than none even if it takes an act of will to draw yourself away from the dinner or party or whatever. Now while between work I'm getting more sleep and so the focus shifts to other things.

* 'Colour And Movement' is my phrase for walking out the door and experiencing the world. I feel that helps define any day. Even just a walk to the corner shops allows me to experience good things like sunshine and a larger body of atmosphere than you can fit in a house. It allows me to observe things in the neighbourhood which stimulates curiosity and contemplation. For instance the children of some neighbours had a model town (complete with railway line) constructed from junk in the front yard. I love seeing things like this. It also allows me to interact, even superficially, with humanity as I buy an iced coffee from a shop keeper.

* Exercise is always something I have been a bit suspicious of. The parts of our culture that promote exercise and sport are ones I had to be wary of from a young age. Making an asthmatic kid run round an oval in the rain to turn them into a more robust person can have the opposite result of making them averse to such punishing behaviour. Nonetheless I recognize that if I want to do particular things in my life then I have to keep at them. I rely on public transport and in the middling suburbs I frequent that involves a degree of walking - quickly and over distances. Fortunately I also love walking. And I have a bushland-shroud creek I can walk to. I also love swimming once I'm in the water. It is the freedom of movement water affords that I enjoy. The getting to the pool via the change rooms can take another act of will. Meeting a swimming buddy motivated me to do that most recently.

* Human Contact is utterly vital for me. I belong to a species that has evolved in groups. For me frequent and prolonged interaction with others is most gratifying. The Internet helps as communication is a form of contact and I regularly exchange information with many. However face-to-face contact is better. In any give week I average three to four chances to be with friends and this is a deliberate plan of mine. Talk is part of this but so is the engagement of expressions and gestures using faces and hands. So are hugs of greeting or parting with the right friends. The odd massage (whether giving or receiving) is good to. Of course that can come from professional non-friends too. Lunch and a massage at a shopping centre anyone?

* Food is tastes and textures and that feeling of satisfaction in your tum. Even the most basic of things are a joy. And then there is the creativity of cooking which I need to do more of. Once I make the decision to do so and have the right ingredients and tools (including the right playlist) then it can be all the fun of making mud pies in the back yard but with a reward at the end. And if Transformers ever told my anything of value it is that energy is precious and what is food but our Energon?

* Skills And Interests are the things that keep me happy while I'm alone. If I'm allowed to engage in these then I will rarely be bored in those times I am alone. Once more the Internet is a boon for me because almost anything can be interesting and sites such as Wikipedia tell me all sort of wild and wonderful things. Other relatively passive acts include consuming shows like Dr Who. Then there are the more active past-times such as writing and sketching.

I could structure this entry different and go on much more. But I have to go off to meet an old friend for coffee in a distant suburb soon so I shall draw this to a close. I have described things that I do to keep me well and noted that I enjoy them. To elaborate I enjoy the variety of them. Any one of them for too long would pall. All of them regularly keeps me happy. But am I happy because I do them or do I do them because I'm happy? Time for an anecdote:

I walk into a grocer I regularly visit humming a tune. The shop keeper says that my singing indicates I'm happy. I say that it is the singing that makes me happy. She smiles. I make my purchase and go.

Who was right - me or the shop-keeper? Do I wisely act in ways that make me happy or am I just configured to be happy with whatever I do. The longer I live the more aware I become that much of what we are is determined by biology. I may like to think I am prudent but possibly I'm just lucky to have an effective economy of happy hormones in me. I'm tempted to expound on my philosophy of happiness but - once more - is that something that will only work for someone who is similar to me? It is on that sad note that I will end this post about happiness.

Cross-posted here.

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