Life- A User’s Manual

April 25, 2009 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

When my children were born, they didn’t arrive with a user’s manual, the way a washing machine does. My partner and I had to figure out (with the help of Spock and the rest)  how to handle, feed , clean and care for them. Some of that knowledge we had from past experience, some we learned from the books, but most we gathered as we went along, the suck it and see method. We made mistakes, sure, but overall we managed to find the right balance between the theory of what was meant to happen and the reality of each individual child.

It’s much the same way with looking after yourself – there’s no manual telling you how to preserve your body, or how to use your mind, so if in doubt you seek advice, read expert opinion and try to listen in to your own feedback mechanisms to fine tune how you live. But even with all the information available about diet, exercise, smoking, drinking and stress, so many people still suffer from all the usual ills. Why aren’t we getting healthier?  Why do we still suffer needlessly?

More people now live to 100 and beyond than ever before. 19th century advances in sanitation allied to  20th century discoveries in science and medicine have given us all increased longevity. But with longer lives has come a plague of chronic diseases of  middle and old age- strokes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis.It looks like we will all live longer, but will we end up living well? What good is it having extra years it they are filled with illness, pain, memory loss, and misery.

We don’t consciously remember our birth, but we know that we will witness our dying, if not our actual death. This fact panics most people into a state of denial. Better not to think about it until you have to. But unfortunately that usually means when it is too late, when some illness has already targeted us for termination. 60% of people would prefer to die in their own beds at home, but only 30% will do so. Wouldn’t it be better if everyone who wanted to die at home could do? I believe the knowledge is available to help that other 30% achieve their aim, dying at home peacefully among family and friends, and not in an impersonal hospice.

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Entry filed under: Thoughts.

How we use our mind You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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Reflections on an age of anxiety.

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