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).
Hi Ron! Happy New Year! and good for you! Keep up the good work. Our Howard County Collaborative Professionals group is reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and am really enjoying learning about the science behind habits and changing habits. it might help you stay on track. Best regards-
Ron, I always look forward to your blogs, which are so thoughtful and positive — a breath of fresh air in the midst of too much negativity these days. Reading this one (Resolving for Life and Grandchildren) certainly struck a chord with me. A few years ago, granddaughter Clara (probably about 9 at the time) was snuggling in bed with me one morning and, out of the blue, said, “Oh, Grandma, I hope you’re still alive when I have children. I want my children to know you!” Phew! Honestly, I think of that every time I’m tempted to skip a workout or make a really bad eating choice. How great for you that your daughter is so invested in helping you stay strong and healthy! And what a joy it will be for you to have a grandchild in February to give you even more incentive for healthy living. That will be one lucky grandchild to have such a sweet, thoughtful grandpa.
congratulations on the grand child news. I sure enjoy my daily contact with ours. I hope a grand dog is part of the deal; Zoey walks me twice daily for 2 of my 5 mile a day goal. Please greet the family. JB