January is the month of resolutions. Of course, by February many of us reply with some form of “say what now?” when someone checks in with us on how we are doing with those carefully crafted resolutions.
I have mixed feelings about resolutions. I am trying to become a “live in the now” kind of guy and resolutions seem to violate that principle by focusing on the future. On the other hand, I do believe that imagining a better future can have a significant impact on my current behavior. So, I am continuously tempted by the idea that having some measure of resolve can be fruitful. This is particularly true, for me, if the focus on the resolution has to do with taking better care of myself, as opposed to resolving to become rich, famous, or handsome.
My wife and I are expecting our first grandchild in February, an event that we are anticipating with unbridled joy. Our son is getting married in September and there is reason to hope that this grandchild may not be our last. There is much reason to believe that our best days may well be ahead of us. The idea of staying healthy for the next few decades seems like a worthwhile goal.
There is a history of heart disease in my family, so I suppose that, like millions of Americans, I view heart failure as the biggest threat to my ability to one day bounce a great-grandchild or two on my knee. So, keeping a healthy heart seems like a good idea. I have been told that eating well and exercising could help this cause, a fact I fight to ignore when I am in the presence of a cheeseburger or a well-padded couch.
My wife and I keep urging each other to improve our diet and exercise and, it works to a point. However, like many people who have been married for more than three decades, I have developed a fairly strong immunity to spousal advice and sometimes even respond with adolescent defiance to her efforts to help me improve myself.
It’s different with my children. If they urge me to take care of myself, my adolescent resistance gives way to the tugging at my heartstrings, and, on occasion, I follow their advice.
Our youngest child, Katie, earned her RN degree last summer and began working as a nurse in the cardiology unit at Abbott Northwestern Hospital this fall. People my age sometimes delight in the prospect of having a child in the medical profession so that they can look after us in our old age. Katie, perhaps in a wise preemptive move, is using her considerable influence to try to get us to take care of ourselves today, so that old age does not arrive too soon.
Katie even went so far as to create a dynamic 30-day plan in which I will exercise, take vitamins, and follow a strict “Whole 30 Paleo” regimen designed to awaken my system to a whole new world.
Today is Day 8. So far, so good. I know I will do the full 30 days, because Katie created a create a great plan and even offered to cook most of my meals; and because Katie asked me to do it.
The things we do for our children, (and our grandchildren).