I have realized as we grow old, we tend to give up on the idea of taking care of ourselves. Well, not all of us. There are those who try to change their life, lifestyle, and their ways for whatever reason ranging from health, and vanity, to genuine desire. But a good number of people do just enough to get them to the next day.
I think for some people, you reach 30-something, and you look at your potbelly and decide, why fight gravity. Aren’t we going to die anyway? You look at your decaying body and decide to catalyze its decomposition. Part of the reason here is that for older people were brought up by brutal and abusive parents, shoved into boarding schools when young, finished school, and entered the rat race. A part of us craves freedom. And freedom means irresponsibility. Not going to church. Eating junk. Drinking like sailors. Abusing drugs at will. Because we had such a suppressed and oppressed childhood, adulthood gives us a chance to do as we please. Nothing wrong with that. We have earned freedom.
I came to notice that we tend to treat ourselves as a common course in university. We only attended those where the lecturer was interesting, which was rarely the case. Most of the time, we never attended or only did to mark the register and couldn’t care if we scored an A or D. It was a bother.
Most people treat themselves as bothers to themselves. When they want to transform themselves, they don’t want instant results. Hence the shortcuts such as people who want to burn the fat out of their bellies surgically or radioactively. Part of the reason people subscribe to the gym and don’t even show up is that they realize, there is some actual work to be done. And we all hate work.
Yet, we need not approach life this way. There are small steps you can make to improve your life remarkably.
1. Working Out
Working out does not have to be a grueling two-hour session in the gym. You can opt to be walking more. Walking in Kenya, especially in Kenyan towns poses a unique challenge. We don’t have safe and spacious sidewalks. Where they exist, there are a million people, hawkers, boda bodas jostling for space. And if you live in Kitengela, the dust will suffocate you. But we will never run out of excuses.
Personally, I try to walk around less abandoned roads of Kitengela, but when I go to the city to deliver books, I ensure that I walk around as much as possible. That is why most of you are always finding me in odd corners. It is part of my long-term goal to try and stay fit.
If you cannot afford a gym, finding a nearby school and running on its field, or even doing 20-40 pushups in the house will cumulatively have an effect. Walking regularly over a long period of time (say two years) will have you lose weight considerably. Your body will feel better.
If you want to firm up your body by hitting the gym, go there with optimism, do the baby steps, and remember it gets better if you can endure the first 21 days. Be tough and kind on yourself. If you fail to go there on Monday, be kind to yourself but don’t fail on Tuesday.
2. Eat well
As we age, our bodies’ metabolism slows down. Whereas I would eat like a pig in my 20s and my stomach would remain mirror flat, nowadays eating chips for a week will register tires around my tummy like nonsense. A sedentary lifestyle and increasingly low-quality food have complicated our health. Our guts are full of bad news. Our general well-being is horrible.
Yet, a simple decision as lessening harmful foods to our body can see your overall health improve dramatically. So, why not go organic to the best of your abilities. Eat vegetables and good fruits frequently. Eat nuts. Legumes. Go slow on the red meat or eat less of it. Meat is good, my fear about meat has more to do with what the cattle we are eating are being fed, and its preparation than any nonsense vegans spew against meat. Generally, due to the growing human population and the ever-growing demand for meat, businessmen are opting for shortcuts, and they can be ruinous. So, if anything has been flagged as bad or poisonous, the less you can eat of it, the better for your health.
Also, ditch sugar, or use it less and when absolutely necessary. Sugary stuff like cakes and wheat products should be taken in moderation.
When you watch what you eat, focus on the best natural products, eat the right portions, skip meals regularly, and fast routinely, you won’t believe how your body will change for the better by the second year. Be consistent.
3. Ditch alcohol/ Or moderate
One of the best decisions I have ever made is to never ever entertain a hangover. Nothing makes one’s life so miserable as undisciplined drinking. Hangovers get worse as you grow older. And there is nothing as humbling as kneeling before your toilet trying to puke. Puking is viscerally a horrible thing. Popping a Mara Moja need not be a weekend ritual.
Everything is good in moderation, ruinous in moderation. You can regulate your drinking by adopting such philosophies as no drinking during weekdays or working days. Limiting it to a few hours over the weekend is what you need. People really underrate the power of waking up sober and how this fires up productivity. Heavy drinking almost always affects productivity the following day.
Another helpful thing is to have alcohol discipline. Have the maximum number of beers you can have in a sitting, say four, and the rest of the time, fill it in with water. Catch a mzinga if there are two, three, or four of you. Never go past two mzingas. No matter the occasion.
The idea is to get home early, sleep early, and wake up fresh for the maximum number of days n your life. Do this enough times and you will be unstoppable. Better still, quit for good.
4. Entertain Positivity and Possibilities
Growing old sometimes makes us cynical and we start shrinking ourselves. But I suggest the contrary. Make your dreams bigger. Go for what you always wanted. Move up the hierarchy of needs ladder. Bag that Ph.D. Get your dream body. Find love again. Start that business. Travel. Have a positive mindset. Follow it with action.
5. Find God
As we grow old and become financially stable, we find the use of God in our lives irrelevant. Some may remain religious at heart, sure attend church less frequently, but millennials are increasingly identifying as atheists or agnostic. We sort of, suspend God from our lives since for the first time we feel that we can handle it on our own. Our education powers our critical thinking abilities that begin to question established religious doctrines and since we can see the charade and façade of modern religion. We stop going to church. And some divorce God as a result. The idea here is not for me to preach to you. The idea is that find your purpose, and a way to answer yourself the big WHY? Why are we here? Is this all there is to life? And for believers, it helps to constantly rediscover God and involve him in your business every waking day of life. Life is too big, complex, and complicated, to be understood by the simple human mind.
All the best in your goals for the year. Commit to them. You may not achieve everything within the set timeline, but if you keep at it, with a little deadline extension, you will achieve it.
1. My personal commitment this year is to climb Mt. Kenya. I need equally committed people (men and women to start the journey now. Climbing a mountain as big as Mt. Kenya requires practice and can take a big dent in your pocket, hence adequate preparation. We are looking at May/June. If you want, hit my inbox to be included in a group where details will be communicated.
2. If you see me in town, grab a signed book from me.