Thursday, January 1, 2009

Unplugged: A New Year Resolution

It's tough being a forty four year old.

There are so many expectations. You are expected to be in the peak of your career, with no regards to bank failures, bailouts, stock market plunge, recession and economic Katrinas. You have to play tutor to kids, sports coach, behavioral consultant, fashion commenter to the wife - only the 'you look marvelous Billy Crystal's kind' -, home theatre installer, perfect gardener, lawn mover, snow plower and many thanks to my un-cuisine abilities, the kitchen at least is off-limits.

To top it all up, I recently paid a visit to my doctor for a routine check-up. This lady of pristine white coat is a tough woman, who regularly eyeballs firmly through the top of her glasses with a 'are you following my recommendations' look. She usually checks the pressure, weight, height - which ceased to change two decades ago, and the beat of my heart with a cold stethoscope. All this would take few minutes then she'd return to her desk to check the records of a thick file of over twenty years. And, that's where the bad news started. The recent blood results didn't turn up satisfactory. There are moderate traces of cholesterol, nothing of a worrying kind however, against my doctor's previous preventive recommendations.

So, the questions began about my physical and dietary habits and I comfortably lied to all of them against the universal principle of not lying to your doctor. The difficult part of her challenge has been that I work out at least one hour per day to reduce cholesterol build-up and to prevent an eventuality of heart attack that is common across middle aged South Asian men living in Canada.

Most of you know that I travel extensively for the job, stay at hotels, and eat non-customary food prepared by unknown cooks, with unknown ingredients and lots of meat. Although the hotels I stay have excellent gymnasiums and work out facilities, I seldom stop the elevator on these floors. One of the reason being that we usually have an off-site meeting, after work, which end up with few pints in the tummy and it's not fair to expect a gym facilitator to entertain tipsy-turvy clients on a treadmill or trying to lift forty pounds in each hand. So, against my will, the work-out sessions never materialized and the elevators kept going, missing those floors of men of six-packs and women of perfect bodies.

Along came another new year, the dawn of 2009 and the media is filled of people making new resolutions that they know for sure to break within few weeks. I too paused and thought, as in other new-years, then declared these resolutions as a memento-breaker that prevents us from partying and indulging in 'usual' human behavior. A human behavior according to my dictionary is to live life fully, in moderation, with no greed or excess that goes beyond your abilities. I believe that such methodology of life is an implementable approach to most of us.

Then, at three a.m. on New Year eve's night, I woke up thirsty. The room, mouth and throat felt very dry. It's dark around the bed. I reached out to the left for a tumbler of water and found it empty. I got up, worked my way around to the bathroom and turned the switch on. The light didn't come up. I twist opened the faucet. There's no water. The floor felt icy cold. Looking through the window, the trees in the forest, past my backyard, stayed still; snow that was there before I went to bed is now gone. I returned to the bed and found the right side of it flat. I hastily removed the covers and found no one underneath. I ran through each bedroom of the house. All of them stood empty. Everything seems strange. How is that all of a sudden I've become alone?

I woke up again; this time for real, from this strange nightmare. I made sure the wife and kids are sound asleep. I went down to the basement and found the elliptical machine sitting idle and covered in dust. A weight resistance machine sat next to it in similar neglect. And suddenly it occurred that beyond dusting, these machines needed someone to work on them, to maintain a healthy metabolism, to burn off those unnecessary calories, to get rid of the occasional visits to my spectacled lady physician.

Most importantly, to not to be left alone, on a cold floor, waterless tap, lightless room, snowless winter and breathless trees so that there will be someone to yearn for under the sheets, children to coach, guide, to see their children, the fruits of our generation.

I have unplugged a new-year resolution that is going to live and make me live longer and healthier.

"The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself, but in so doing, he identifies himself with people - that is, people everywhere, not for the purpose of taking them apart, but simply revealing their true nature." -
James Thurber


Vinay said...

:) every new year I pass resolutions and follow them only for first couple of weeks in January. In fact this year I have similar resolutions as yours. Let's see how long we will stick to it.

Sailesh said...

Less Off-site and more on the treadmill !!!!

That is a tall order. I will be back on your blog to update your readers on the real progress!

Cheers for a great year ahead