I recall a fishing trip with my Uncle Willie back in ’89 or ’90, in which I asked him his age. With an “Arkansas-twang” in his voice, reminiscent of Terrance Howard (Empire’s Lucious Lyon), he says, “I’m 40 years old ‘Coon-Dog.’ How old is you?” Go ahead and laugh at the nickname. Seriously, get it out of your system now. Because if ANYONE ever calls me anykind of “coon”……… Anyway! He gave it to me because I was always snooping around in “grown folks business.” Long story short, he died a year later on April Fool’s Day. Numerous family members proclaimed, “He was so young. What happened?” No shit! I was wondering the same thing! As healthy as that man seemed, he wasn’t. He smoked nearly a pack of Kool 100’s a day…. Drank Tanqueray & other cheap gin religiously…. And more often than not, you couldn’t tell when he was pissed off or happy. He just “was.” CLASSIC emotion “stuffer.” What killed him doesn’t really matter. The fact is: He didn’t take care of himself. He spent so much of his time at work, out fishing/hunting for the family (because he refused to purchase meat from grocery stores), running errands for my grandparents, bailing my “gangsta” cousins out of jail, dealing with my crazy, stereotype-fitting, loud mouth, Aunt Dianne, etc. His life wasn’t about him, is what I’m getting at. And all that stress killed him, in addition to his vices.
How many of us put everyone & everything before ourselves? Have you ever taken the time to listen to your body? Your thoughts, however scrambled or crazy they are? When was the last time you meditated? Taken a nap? Why the hell not? Don’t feed into the bullshit about there not being enough time. There’s 24 hours in a day. 4-8 of which are spent sleeping. Another 8-10 at work (Unless you’re retired)….Do the math: That’s 12-18 hours busy & another 6-12 surplus. What are you doing with all that time? Are you seriously gonna say that you can’t dedicate 1 hour of your day “listening” to yourself? Giving your body & yourself, whatever it needs at the moment. Will the people within your life judge you harshly for taking an hour out of your day to take care of you? What kind of people are THEY then? I’d say “selfish.”
Today on my birthday, I’m extremely reflective. Probably moreso, because of how close I am to my Uncle’s age of passing. On occasion, I wonder “when” my vices will get my ass: The 10 years of smoking (’97-’08)…The same booze (I do love me some Bombay Saphire), that ate my Uncle’s liver… The “spinach” I smoke that has me feeling like Popeye…. Which $20 bottle of Pinot Noir, will have me “10 toes up,” choking on vomit like Jimi Hendrix…. The bike ride in which someone smacks me with an F350…..And then late last week I decided the following:
I’m giving up meat instead. Yeah, hopefully the liquor I drink will burn all those worms within the FLESH I’ve been poisoning myself with!!!
Good luck to all of you, in your attempts to stay young, alive & vibrant!!!!