Better Living

02 October 2020

Time passes and lifestyles change, many as a result of shortages. I was brought up at a time when food was limited, in fact some rationing was still in force the year I was born. It ended the following year. With all that is occurring now, rationing might very well return. 

Back in the 1950’s, here in the UK the ‘traditional’ meal consisted of meat and two different vegetables. My father was a keen gardener, had a separate vegetable patch, he grew a whole range of fruits like gooseberries, blackberries, strawberries and the like. But in time he found it was cheaper to buy all of those than to grow them. That too may change in time to come.

When I started work and later began living on my own, I got used to eating my main meals in the office canteen (sorry, staff restaurant!) so I was having quick meals at night when I arrived home. Cooking was not something I did much of, I admit. I also found eating proper meals at regularly spaced intervals suited me, so I rarely ate late at night. I would go out with friends a couple of nights a week, but I usually had just two or three pints of real ale over the whole evening, as did my friends. We went out to socialise, to chat, sometimes have differences of opinion but generally we got on well and we put the world to rights. We learned from each other, too. I had a very strict limit of one, perhaps two pints if I was driving. (As things are for me now, especially with the medication, I do not have any alcohol at all and I have been like that for a quite a few years now.) Back then I was in a team at the local ten-pin bowling alley, I played cornet in a local brass band, I also sang bass in a couple of mixed-voice choirs.

But circumstances do change. A few job moves meant I was travelling a great deal, meaning early starts and returning home late so I wasn’t socialising or even meeting my colleagues outside of work. It meant I wasn’t eating properly, so as a result I put on weight. Now, some years before I had developed Psoriasis, probably brought on by the stress of the job I was doing and me not managing the stress. I used to bottle it up inside me! But that changed after some good advice from a doctor. Thankfully the medication I was on kept my epilepsy well under control, but the Psoriasis was sadly getting worse and that worried me, which of course exacerbated the problem!

I did some research and slowly adjusted my diet, cutting out red meat. It was also around this time that I was told about the relaxation therapy that I have mentioned in earlier posts. Job changes meant that I wasn’t travelling as much, I was eating a bit more sensibly but not always. Then my job meant me moving house and starting a new job, still with the same firm though. I found it quite stressful at times, as some of the people I was working with weren’t the easiest to manage! Thankfully the Arka Dhyana relaxation therapy helped and in time the Psoriasis began to clear. In addition, I found that a more vegetarian diet, along with a bit of pescatarian, made a really big, positive difference in me.

For a few years the firm had been cutting back on staff and eventually I was given a choice, so I left. That change was a great deal more stressful than I had expected. I was helped by some good friends and so I eventually began my own business.

Over the years I’d had regular check-ups on my epilepsy as my body got used to the medication I was on. All seemed fine, but then about five years ago I started to have epileptic fits, so I was put on different medication and that controlled things. But these fits had come on without warning, on one occasion when I was driving but I somehow managed to stop the car, half on the pavement apparently as I do not remember the event at all. A policeman was driving by, realised something was wrong and called for assistance. That put me in hospital and I stopped driving for medical reasons, but I then chose to stop completely and I sold my car. I’d not hurt myself or anyone else whilst driving and I didn’t want to risk doing so in the future. 

Time passed and on reaching the age of 65 I retired, closing my business. I was now having to walk with a stick and sadly I wasn’t looking after myself as well as I should have done, hence the problems mentioned in an earlier blog entry. For that reason this year I ended up first in a local hospital, then various Care Homes. Now I feel happier, I am eating properly and I am getting regular exercise. I have been able to change my lifestyle, it can be done. I needed people around me to support me in this change and I thank them very much for all they have and are doing. We need a bit of positive support sometimes, to have that person say “You’re doing the right thing”. That is true in every way, be it mentally, physically or spiritually, in all ways of life.

But following a truly healthy lifestyle can bring more than just better health, it can bring happiness. It might mean just a few changes at times, so I say yet again – sometimes it ain’t easy, but from what I’ve seen with others and what I’ve done in the last few months, it is worth the effort – even if it doesn’t go down too well with everyone we know! We should surely all live our lives as best we can, in ways that make us as happy and content as we can possibly be. That’s my view, for what it’s worth. Living better can also be a real bit of encouragement to others. We are living in difficult times and we do not know quite how quickly things will settle down. But it won’t go back to how things were perhaps a year ago. As I have said before, ‘change is the one constant in this universe!’

No jokes to finish with this week, but a delightful memory to share with you. I was about to have my morning tea and toast last Saturday when I looked out of the window and saw a squirrel bounding across the lawns where I am! It was such a lovely thing to see and a delightful start to the day…

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