My friends have heard me rant before. I pick up a few causes and flag them around until someone gracefully tells me to shut up. I can get a little noisy up there on my high horse. Sometimes they have have to yell to get my attention.
I am the consummate volunteer. I lead tours at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum to support native plants. I teach classes at OSU Extension Service to support the organic gardening. I organize a free clinic through Occupy Medical to support the pursuit of single payer healthcare in Oregon.
I am passionate about my choices. I keep chickens, make soap and stick to a vegetarian diet to promote clean living as a viable lifestyle. I am truly concerned about health and well being.
This is not to say that I don’t make bad choices. I am truly passionate about those as well. I adore beer. I avoid cleaning the bathtub as much as my own level of disgust will allow. I could eat 1/2 of a pumpkin pie in a single evening. I love a good prank. I enjoy any movie that involves boxing. (Not because it encourages people to get in shape, mind you. I just love seeing men punch each other.) I also occasionally enjoy a good cigar.
This is not weird. Really. I am not trying to justify any thing here. This is human.
I believe in celebrating life. The only way to do this properly is by recognizing the healthy and unhealthy habits that we each possess. I am not advocating vices. There is a reason that punching people in real life is frowned upon. Unhealthy habits should be avoided. They should also be acknowledged.
When I hear a patient complain about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle choice, I remind myself about my own choices. I remind myself about the knowledge that I have about the unhealthy habits that I have nurtured over the years and continue to suffer from. This reminder keeps me engaged as a compassionate listener. This reminder drives me to find creative ways to help patients within the value structure that they, in their own lives, hold dear. This reminder allows me to put aside my own ego so that I can be a better helper.
I will continue to advocate for good causes. I believe that as humans we have a moral obligation to be brave in pursuit of compassion. A healthy body needs exercise and so does a healthy soul. Activism is a workout for the spirit. I have to practice what I preach. It keeps my brain and my heart in shape.
The fact that I also make stupid choices keeps me humble. It keeps me sane. It encourages me to stop talking when my friends tell me to shut up. After all, less talking allows more time for eating too much pumpkin pie.It is also a lot easier to watch those violent boxing movies once I climb down from that high horse of mine.