Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Do I Do Enough" Self-Torture

It's been a while.  When I get out of practice writing, I become increasingly at a loss for words.  Not that there haven't been subjects.  Oh, yes.  I've been thinking hard about life - I just turned 65.

For several weeks before my birthday, I noticed a gnawing anxiety after waking up, sometimes throughout the day, and also before falling asleep.  The thoughts sort of meandered around the realization that time is running out.  I asked myself if I had accomplished enough.  Was I doing enough?

People in my church would tell me I shouldn't have such thoughts.  I am a Christian.  My future is guaranteed, and I live in a state of grace.  Still, these thoughts continued to nag at me.  Of course, anyone who knows me knows that I am always prone to agonize about my life.  I'm good at torturing myself with questions about my purpose here on this earth and whether I'm doing the things I should, or enough of them.

I think I inherited this from my mother, who, even in the midst of suffering from Alzheimer's, tortured herself with the agonizing question, "What should I be doing?"  It must be horrible to have the question and have no idea what it was you did yesterday, let alone two years ago.

Something else was going on - my fingers started to swell at the joints and bend.  I went to the doctor, wondering if I had gout.  She took one look and said, "You have arthritis."  It seems there is no real cure, but I can slow the process down by diet, drinking a lot of water, getting exercise, and getting plenty of sleep.

I'm already on a special diet, thanks to my still-present sinusitis.  For the past five months, I have gone almost completely without white sugar and white flour.  Now she tells me there's more I must do - cut out all pork and eat alkaline foods, which means less meat.  Bread isn't such a good thing, either.

So I cut out pork and started drinking more water and sleeping more.  And as I worked more and more at living a healthy lifestyle, interesting insights started trickling into my head.

I'll let you know about these thoughts in posts to come.