After yesterday, I’ve concluded that manual labor is too much like work.
We writers are prone to get all whiny about what tough jobs we have and how we suffer for our Art. But I tell you, by the end of the day yesterday, if I’d have had to haul one more slab of drywall up that narrow, twisty attic stair, I’d have sat down on the steps and cried.
Ten years ago I drywalled Cabin Sweet Cabin by myself (except for the ceiling, where I assisted somebody else). So I thought “piece of cake!” when I merely faced the prospect of doing two sides of a wall to divide the garret into a bed-sitting room and storage area. A very small wall, at that.
By the end of the day, I felt as if I’d been kicked in the knees and back by a herd of pissed off donkeys. For the first time in my life, I felt old.
I tell myself that drywalling was just as tough on me a decade ago. And maybe it was. I remember that even then I limited myself to a certain number of sheets a day because the job was pretty strenuous. No, I can’t be getting old. Not me.
Years ago, I had a brief friendship with a guy who went on constantly about his aches and pains. He attributed them all — and many other real or imagined troubles — to his “old age.” He was 38.
He became my object lesson in how not to think. My lord. Just imagine. If he lives to be 80, he’ll spend over half his life “old.” He’ll feel every minute of it, too.
For me — with no exaggeration and no Pollyanna sunniness — getting older has been almost entirely about getting better. Physically. Attitudinally. And in all the ways that really count.
Yes, my hair has gone silver. But it really is silver, not dull gray. Precious silver I’ve earned through experience. Lucky me. The wrinkles? Well, I think of them as the perfectly acceptable price I’ve paid for spending happy time in the sun without slathering myself with cosmetic concoctions. Pardon me for leaning Pollyanna on those two drawbacks.
But my health and energy have gotten better decade by decade. I used to have frequent minor headaches. No more. I’m also less tense, better able to roll with life’s punches, less judgmental, more sure of what I want. More independent. Just … happier.
Diet has been a huge factor. At 24, I got an enormous wake-up call on the effects of a bad diet — not just on the body, but on the mind. My life changed overnight. Since then, I’ve tweaked my nutrition occasionally. But two of the biggest life-improving deals came within the last year.
One was emphasizing primal nutrition.
The other — thanks to a reader of this blog — was supplementing with lactobacillus acidophilus.
Boy, the positive changes, especially in energy level and body composition. (Among other things, for the first time in my life, when I gain a pound it’s not all in my belly and waist.)
Although some primalistas recommend against apples, calling them nothing but sacks of sugar, the old adage about keeping doctors away is also proving to be true.
Although I haven’t completely sworn off wheat and other gluten grains, there is mounting evidence of the commonsense primal claim: human beings did not evolve to eat them. (More.) Or at least, didn’t evolve with them as a staple, let alone the alleged “staff of life.”
Nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, a little meat, a little dairy and some fermented foods (including plain Greek yogurt; thank you, Winston), and some healthful oils. A little wine now and then. Choose unprocessed over processed, as a general rule. Skip the “foodlike” crap. De-emphasize grains. Eliminate most refined sugars in your daily diet. Indulge in anything once in a while if your body can handle it. You might not live to be 100. But you’re more likely to love the years you have. Chances are you won’t be so quick to join the diabetic, obese crowd lining up for the dubious benefits of ObamaCare, either.
A lot of you were ahead of me in figuring that out.
And on the subject of health — our own MamaLiberty is writing on that subject once again at The Price of Liberty. Yay!
Now … sigh. Back to manual labor. At least all the drywall is up. Now it’s just final nailing, taping, and mudding.