Ok I’m going to come right out and admit that every year during the New Years holiday I make it a point to reflect on the past year. I contemplate my high moments and my low moments; my successes and my mistakes. Some may think its cliche but for me it helps recharge my batteries. A few weeks ago I had a long, interesting, philosophical conversation with my doctor about nutrition, medicine and staying healthy. We discussed how science is continually changing and how experts have such differing opinions in the benefits or detriments of different things. For example, there are scientists who swear by taking fish oil while others argue that it is actually detrimental to consume fish oil supplements. The conclusion of our conversation is that at the end of the day there is so much we just don’t know. This got me thinking.
During New Year’s Eve as I sat and reflected, it hit me that one of the mistakes I have made since my health journey began is that I got married with my ideas. I learned a lot when I made the commitment to change my eating habits. I read, I watched videos, I spoke to experts. But when I learned something, I accepted that concept as truth and that’s it. And if what I know is truth then that makes a contradictory concept false, right? Therein lies the problem.
Because there is not one truth. There is so much complexity in our system. Some people gain weight easier than others; some are susceptible to diabetes and others to heart disease; we metabolize foods differently and react to medicines differently. There is no perfect science. That’s why smokers often justify their habits by pointing out that their grandfather smoked until age 90 and never got lung cancer. And others tell the tale of that friend or family member who was young, fit and healthy and died of a sudden brain aneurism. And then there are those who smoke and do get lung cancer and those who are fit and healthy and live long healthy lives. There is no way to be totally sure and we have no guarantees. Furthermore as science develops we discover different complexities that change what we know. How we process food, what our DNA says, our genetic makeup, the power of our thoughts. There is simply no one formula that fits all.
That’s why I find it so admirable that my doctor who knows so much accepts that he has so much to learn. I find that to be admirable but quite difficult to practice. Why is it so hard? My theory is that when you think you know something it gives you a sense of control. That feeling of control helps in child rearing, in dieting, in the workplace. It helps you lunge forward thinking that you are doing things right. And then you grow older… Times change …. Knowledge changes….and suddenly things are being done differently. It is hard to think you we’re doing whatever you were doing incorrectly or things weren’t the way you thought they were. Some stay married to their old ways to make sense of it all… To sustain that feeling of control they had once. Others accept the change happily… And they are grateful to have the opportunity to discover more, to be better than they were.
During this reflection something my doctor has told me many times before really clicked for me. It doesn’t matter if things change… It doesn’t matter if what we did or how we did it wasn’t perfect. What matters is that we do the best we can with the information we have available to us right now. What matters is that we act in good faith and with love. And many times just the fact that we think we are doing whats best for ourselves or for our loved ones is more important than what we are doing.
After all, we all change. Our goals, our priorities, our physique, even our marriages change through the years. So my goal for this year is not to get married to any idea. To know that my way is not the only way… And to keep learning… All the while knowing that what I learn today may not be true tomorrow but that’s ok because I am and will always act in good faith and with love.
Happy new year. I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity.