Thursday, April 22, 2010

A personal message

For years, I have been struggling with hypertension. Up until a few months ago, it has been under control with medication. Something in my anatomy, my psychology, or my karma has been altered, however, and now I find myself in the position of having to take six different medications daily and my blood pressure is only at acceptable levels half the time. My husband, Laurin, has been urging me to put politics aside completely, as he knows how I tend to get worked up over world events. Even knowing the strong role that stress can play in one's state of health, I poo-pooed the notion that only by making a lifestyle change, outside of diet, could I expect to get well.

Yesterday, I learned that a cousin of mine had a second heart attack at the age of 58. He's recovering. Last week, I found out that a young man in his mid-30's whom I knew back in Detroit died suddenly of a heart attack. I like my life in Denver. I love my friends and my husband and I want to be around until I'm as old as he is (84). I don't know what else to do. So, I'm going to unsubscribe from Alternet, ProgressNow, RePower America, and all the other purely political websites that now fatten my in-basket day-in and day-out. I am going to delete messages from political candidates and stop watching MSNBC. (Coincidentally, both Bill Moyers' Journal and NOW are going off the air at the end of April. Perhaps PBS was trying to make my decision easier?)

Many of my devoted readers--you both know who you are--will be sad to learn that this also means that I will no longer be facilitating the DisabusedUUs political forum. I will miss our lively discussions but will still see you on Sunday mornings. I would love to hear your thoughts on this posting (and any of my earlier missives), should you care to post a comment.

I have no idea whether I will be able to successfully transition into this new way of being in the world. I have been a political junkie since high school. It is in my blood--and that's the problem. Of course, I will continue to participate in the system by voting (Democratic) until I am too weak to lick a stamp. But my personal health must be my highest priority. (If political invigoration doesn't arise from self-interest, where else? But persisting in the face of a life-threatening illness would be pure foolishness.)

I intend to spend my new-found time relearning to cook, exercising, and watching all those wonderful TV sitcoms that I missed while attending rallies. I will also be traveling the country by auto, taking in the beauty of nature and visiting friends and family, with Laurin at my side. I will always care about my countrymen and women and their part in building a more peaceful and greener world. But I am passing the torch with no regret to very capable younger generations...and those seniors who are healthier than myself. Carpe diem!

3 comments:

Detroit Dan said...

Carpe diem indeed!

One thing this makes me realize is how much work you have been doing on behalf of the things you believe in.

I enjoy following politics but don't think of it as particularly stressful. On the other hand, I was going ballistic during the Bush II years, and it was affecting my relationships and my personal peace of mind. So I agree that what you are doing makes sense, and I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.

I will be interested to learn whether your blood pressure does go down as a result of this action. I hope it does. Are there are changes that will accompany your reduced political intake? For example, will you make an effort to sleep more? I see now that you plan to do more healthy activities such as cooking, exercising, laughing, and spending time with friends and family. As a friend, I look forward to more time with you not discussing politics. (Is philosophy okay?)

legacyguy said...

Thanks for the comment, Detroit Dan. I haven't given much thought to the connection between politics and stress in my own life, either. That is, until I started checking my blood pressure multiple times per day. Following the recommendation from the maker of my bp monitor, I would take three readings over a ten minute period and average them. (My cardiologist recommends taking three readings in rapid succession and recording only the third one.) On occasion, I would pick up a newspaper to pass the time between readings. I noticed that my systolic bp would sometimes go up by 20 points when I read and go down by 20 points when I meditated between readings. Perhaps you could "learn me" how to read a newspaper without stressing out?

I may take more naps now that I'll be spending fewer hours online. I generally feel completely rested after seven hours of sleep. As for discussing philosophy, not a problem but I likely won't have as much to say (depends upon the topic).

Alison said...

I love the thinking behind the book, You can heal your life, by Louise Hay. It is about how our thoughts give rise to our dis-ease. Check it out if you are so inclined. It has never been wrong in my dis-eases. Sometimes that is not such a good thing - when my ego gets in the way.

Just a thought...
Love,
Alison