Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Good Old-Fashioned Pep Talk

Hello, Nobody in Particular...

            Last Saturday Erin and I had the good fortune to have lunch with my parents and my cousin Erin. She was down visiting Florida on a mini-vacation from her home in Maine, and my wife and I hadn’t seen her because we had just returned from visiting my youngest brother, wife and son in Texas. It was a casual affair full of laughter and good food, and toward the end of our lunch the discussion turned toward dieting. I’m not one to typically discuss “dieting” because I’m an advocate of healthier living, plain and simple. To pick a target weight number can be misleading and destructive because often people end up going to great lengths to lose weight only to find it come back when they try to resume an otherwise normal eating routine. As I’ve mentioned in previous letters, a person is far better off by trying to make wholesale lifestyle changes a little at a time and let weight loss occur naturally, rather than starve him/herself and workout too much only to be right back to square one a few months later. It may be cliché, but slow and steady wins the race is a truism when it comes to any sort of personal progress, health-related or otherwise.

            It is with this in mind that I dedicate this letter to any and all people who read it and are trying to institute changes for the better in their lives. It pains me to see people languish and become mired in their own mediocrity. Often I find it’s that these people have lost the will to try and get better. I’m sure many of them think they face insurmountable odds or obstacles—and I am sure a small number of them actually do—but for most of us it’s a mental block. It’s something in our own heads that tends to get in the way. Whether it’s fear of failure or rejection or whatever, we have a tendency to be our own worst enemies in our minds. It took me years to realize that I was sabotaging my own success, and I’m sure it will take me many years still to truly reach my full potential. At least a few years ago I recognized that there was something that needed to be fixed, and since that time my mission in life has been to try and get better. Maybe it’s from reading too much philosophy or studying too much religion, but all I know now is that the best of me is trying to bust out of the fortress I had built and in which I had imprisoned myself simply because I did not believe that I was worthy of many things, love in particular.

So the rest of this letter will be a good old-fashioned pep talk. If you like it, NIP, print out that part of the letter and keep it somewhere you can read it daily and remind yourself what I am about to tell you. But before you read any further, I want you to stop, close your eyes, take a long slow deep breath, and really try to pay attention to the sensation of breath coming in and out of your body. Did you do it? Feel free to pause here and take several more, especially if you’ve had a hectic day. Whenever you’re ready, open your eyes and read what I’m about to tell you:

You are alive. The life you have been given is a precious gift, yours to do with whatever you can envision provided you give consistent effort toward accomplishing those dreams. Whether you believe the life you have has been given to you by God or is simply the culmination of some cosmic accident matters not, because neither belief changes the simple fact that YOU ARE ALIVE. You have been given something so rare, so fleeting, why would you ever squander one second? Take a moment to contemplate the odds of your particular existence: the fact that your parents met and conceived you, and your grandparents before them, and on and on throughout all of human history this confluence of unseen forces has brought you to wherever you were born and to this moment in time. The odds of being you are infinitesimal when you think about it, and that’s what makes you special. That’s what makes you unlike anyone else in the universe. And that’s also what makes it so necessary for you to make the most of yourself and the gift you’ve been given, don’t squander it by taking it for granted or deluding yourself into thinking that your existence is mundane. There will never be another you, could never be another you. You owe it to yourself to be your best and live your life to the fullest, which means taking care of yourself to the best of your ability in every respect, physically, mentally, and spiritually. You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. You can do this! I know because I am doing it now. For nearly 30 years I thought these ideas but never put them into practice. And if someone like me can turn his life around, anyone can do it—including you. What will you do with the rest of your time in this marvelous life? How will you become the best of who you are? Don’t wait a single second longer. Every breath you take is a reminder that you…are…alive. With each breath you should try to remind yourself what an incredible gift has been bestowed upon you. Get out there and make the most of yours!

Get busy living life to the fullest, NIP.

- Ryan

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