My Dad was in the kitchen and simply laid down on the floor one night and died. My brother spent Fourth of July weekend in bed, and never woke up. Hypertension. Cardio collapse. Call it what you want but the family seems to check out quickly. Putting aside lifestyle choices, I wonder what genetics has done for me in this regard.
I run marathons, or used to anyway, haven’t run one for several years now. I do still run those relay races, 200 miles with 11 other people in a couple of vans. A hoot, but more about sleep deprivation than actually running. In some ways a marathon is faster and while more painful as a spike, at least has you are somewhere besides pavement or a stinky van for dinner and bed.
I eat relatively well most of the time – raw oats, whole grain carbs, lots of fruits, veggies, salads. This isn’t necessarily because I want to cheat death, I think I feel better, my head works better, my body does better, bedtime is more enjoyable. (ahem) And I also would fantasize that at 56 years of age I have just now hit middle age, 56 being the new 30. 36? Whatever.
I woke up around 3:30am and could not for the life of me get back to sleep. Tried tapping my Buddha, going to the breath, emptying my head, but the monkeys kept swing around and crapping on my head, as they do in the wilds of Costa Rica, a part of the fun when you run across them. No, it was stress. Work anxiety. My kids – one in particular at the moment. And then it was up and out to the Big House, into the complex world of major litigation. I was hungry when I got to work, but we have the world’s best joe, so why not have a big mug? The day began fast and furious, evidence, spreadsheets, data needed, phone calls to be made. No time for food, but did steam up some milk and had a couple more shots of the worlds best joe. Two hours later and no fooling around, I need food! Went to the cafe and while standing in line and talking to my bosses bosses boss I suddenly start feeling like I am about to collapse, all dizzy and light headed and weak and breaking out in a sweat.
Now I have gone into shock several times in life, once seeing a really bad accident. A really bad one. Another time after I slammed by thumb into the car door. Another time at my high school girlfriends prom after drinking a lot of Sloe Gin and eating some pork on a stick (was that ever embarrassing since they were the rival school on the other side of the valley). This felt the same in many ways, but what I figured was my blood pressure was playing some strange fiddle dance in my veins. We have a gym at work and I had them take my blood pressure; 148 over 85, with a resting heart rate of 58. Now that heart rate is great, apparently people half my age have much higher rates, but damn the 148 over 85.
I survived. I have many years ahead of me. But what am I doing exactly? The kids are pretty much raised. My girlfriend has a higher annual gross than me. I don’t have a mortgage, the car is will be paid off in about two minutes and I have no debt whatsoever. How much identity do I pull from this thing I have done for the last 30 years? How much do I need that? More important, how much do I want that?
I am really excited about the rest of my life. Stay tuned….