The Inevitability of Death

A Spectacular Suburban September: Day 6

There’s nothing spectacular about day 6.

The older I get and the more loved ones pass away is the more my stare in the face of mortality intensifies. It’s not even that I’m afraid, it’s more of a realisation that regardless of age, social standing, financial standing or health, death’s gonna come for you. It nuh partial.

Life is cyclical and where there is life, death lingers. Like a withering tree in the desert or the end of a season, people’s physical presence on earth ceases to exist because they’ve done their laps. They’ve weathered many storms, seen many a sunrise and sunsets. Then one day, their waking and going will just stop because their time has come.

Dear World,

A loved one passed away today.

Details, I won’t get into. What I will say is that my stare in the face of mortality has intensified. Yes, I feel sad and yes, the death today has broken the seal I placed on the hurt caused by the death of other people prior to today. That said, being an adult has been more difficult than other days.

I have chosen to blog to clear my head occupy my mind. This piece isn’t necessarily in relation to what has happened. This is more of a complaint and commentary for the lay(wo)man about health and taking care.

Your Health is More Important than Your Vices

The relationship that some people share with their health management baffles me. A visit to the doctor at the appropriate times will take from you minutes or hours from your day to the end of you knowing where you stand with your health as opposed to ignoring signs of ill health and living in perceived ignorance and slowly withering away.

Such knowledge will guide you on the steps to take to either continue along the healthy trajectory or to address concerns.

Why is it easier to invest your time, energy, and money (a little or a lot at a time) in your vices and so difficult for you to invest those same resources in your health?

In general, we lean into sex before we identify the right fit mental health resources. We lean into the wine before we visit the doctor for that weird tingling we feel or the anxiety that increases our blood pressure. We lean into the quick and easy fast food or the sweet, salty, and sugary snacks when we sink into depression of varied forms. We lean into the cigarette, tobacco or the marijuana to relax or get a high. For an even more celestial feeling, we reach for more hard core drugs. I could go on but you get the picture.

Are we so comfortable ignoring and avoiding our issues that the next best thing offers more of that appeal factor? The sad part in all of this is that we know our health needs should come first. However, we constantly delay until it’s too late.

Freud and Gestalt’s Psychological Insight

Perhaps we trick ourselves into thinking that we know and understand every part of who we are when in truth, we don’t. We only understand a mere fraction which provides little to no context. With that, we tell ourselves that what we need is some alcohol, comfort food, or the need to be coddled in order to feel better.

Though this is an opinion piece, I can’t help but think that Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of the Id, Ego, and Superego have a role to play here. Additionally, Gestalt’s theory of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts stands firmly.

On the Freuidan side of things, I think the imbalance of the id, ego and superego contribute to us yielding to the desire for what comforts us in the moment and not so much in the long run.

id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the super-ego operates as a moral conscience, and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.

McLeod, S. A. (2019, September 25). Id, ego and superego. Simply Psychology. http://www.simplypsychology.org/psyche.html
I used my Scrabble tiles to do this 😉

So the battle exists in giving into the pleasure principle or not yielding and balancing it out with what we really need versus what’s morally correct etc. It’s a whole philosophical insight that I didn’t write this blog post to delve too deep into.

We can get a buzz from a few wine glasses or from the desire of sex immediately. Whereas, going to the doctor or even taking our medication will show its benefits a little too late for our liking. We rush everything and everyone. It’s like that JH Wentworth ad, “it’s my money and I need it NOW!”

Ahhh, that is it. We lack patience. We don't see the immediate positive (or better yet, euphoric) impact in going to the doctor like we do when we tap into our vices. 

On the side of Gestalt, we don’t know who we are. We only know aspects of our personality. So, we know what we like and what we don’t like (the parts of us) – but ask us “who are you?” (the whole) and the evident struggle will be there to answer what should be a simple question that uields a straightforward answer.

Whole is greater than the sum of its parts

This might be a quite simplistic view but that’s how I interpret them in the current moment.

If we put a little more effort in truly learning about ourselves, we’d be able to manage the constant battle of our id ego and superego. With knowing who we truly are, we wouldn’t be guided by the very individualistic parts of us. Instead, we would be able to unlock other parts of our personality and work towards being a better person. We wouldn’t be guided by our vices, we’d be led to choose the right options deemed best for us in the long run and not focus on short term wants.

Back to our health.

The Simplicity of a Lifestyle Adjustment

A fistful of fruit and a fistful of vegetables each day is the recommendation for a healthy portion. That’s really not a whole lot.

Imagine adding that little effort to the effort of increasing your water intake and the little of light to moderate exercise. Then add those little efforts to visiting your doctor regularly and doing the necessary checks plus addressing what needs to be addressed.

Now think about reducing the excess of your vices and attempting moderation.

The excuse about not liking this or that because of taste or texture is outdated. There are other fruits and vegetables that can be used to substitute the ones you don’t like.

A little goes a long way. Are you even ready for that conversation? You should be.

I recently received some fact sheets from the Heart Foundation of Jamaica on the fistfulls that I mentioned earlier. You may see them below.

So, yeah. I say all of that to say that we shouldn’t neglect our health for the sake of feeding our desire for alcohol or smoking or sex or whatever the hell it is that gives us short term comfort. What we should be doing is taking care of ourselves to allow space for a potentially longer and healthier life. We know life is cyclical and living creatures will eventually die. Why not live a life with health as part of our focus to live a truly wholesome life?

Lessons Learned in Mortality

There are no explicitly stated lessons here.

Outside of “Eventually, we will all die” and “Take care of yourself to live your best possible life”, I’ve got nothing else to say.

My mind is tired. You’re smart. I’m sure you can read between the lines and identify what other lessons there are. If you’re so inclined, drop them in the comments and we can talk there.

Signed,

The Suburban Girl JA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s