Monday, May 12, 2008

Do the opposite

A fitness coach recently gave a simple piece of advice to any of his proteges who wished to have a good body - Look at how most people around you live their lives, and do the opposite.

Truly the coach could not have forseen the way his advice would register in my mind. He was only saying, on the surface of it, that most people live a poor physical lifestyle, so you should be unlike them if you want a healthy body.

But as with all simple words of wisdom, the point can be extended.

One of my soap-boxes for quite some time now has been the way in which we carry on relationships. This runs the gammut from family to friends to romance and everything in between.

The time has come for some hard talks. On average, our interpersonal relationships fail. Let me repeat, because I don't think the point can be driven home hard enough: On average, we fail at relationships.

For the most part we have pathetically disrupted families, destructive romances built on nonsense and poor priorities, and while friendship is often demonstrated, I still have to say that co-dependence in self-destruction accounts for far too many "close friends."

With families the case is easily documented. On average, our marriages fail. On average, kids don't have two involved parents in their houses. On average we have no sense of greater family.

Romances are also a wreck. On average, we break up. On average, we have casual sex. On average, people cheat. On avearge we give our hearts away too easily, and recover them too effortlessly.

Friendships are more difficult to quantify, but I would still say that they suffer from general malaise. First of all, few people have friendships strong enough that they make any life plans around them. Secondly, the phrase "you're just a friend" has become the stock insult for would-be lovers who don't quite cut muster. Finally, we often think of "friends" as simply people we enjoy now and again. Nobody who we owe anything, but someone that we like to partner with in mutually destructive behaviors. Commonly we think of friends as people who love us no matter what, but not as people who will tell us biting truths with our best interests in mind.

So what to do? The best advice I've heard in a while was the coach at the beginning of this little schpeel - do the opposite. Prioritize your family and friends. Plan around them. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you, and not those who will buy you choclate ice cream to cheer you up from feeling fat. Don't give your heart away easily. Make sure there are tangible promises from a respectable source before allowing them any "rights" to you. And if something does go wrong romantically, do not treat it as some kind of game.

Get used to being single - we over date.

Become accustomed to friends who will critique you - we don't need "yes" men.

Love your family in tangible ways. Try to prioritize them over yourself at times.

and it goes beyond this...

Read, because most do not.

Read non-fiction, because most who read do not.

Exercise, because we're drowning in a sea of bodyfat and health difficulties.

Don't listen to relationship counselors, because they're the mouthpieces of a culture built on shitty assumptions.

Enjoy the outdoors, because we weren't meant to be lap dogs.

Work to live and not vice-versa, because nobody dies wishing they had another hour to give to the office.

Compete, because competative entertainment pushes us towards success.

Cook, because cuisine is an art of culture.

Be religious, because life without the sacred is boring.

Listen to different music, because top-40 kills brains cells and degrades women (even the women artists).

Be introspective, so that you can live a life worth living.

Give, because it isn't all about you.

Just generally do the opposite of a society that, on average, fails.


Post a Comment

<< Home