Tag Archives: health

I’ll Live when I’m Old

I caught some sort of illness after I came back from Thailand that took everything. out. of. me. I thought it was jet lag at first, but it didn’t go away for weeks. I dropped half my classes and slogged through life.

I carry ill health around with me like a coiled spring in a box. You know, the kind with a red boxing glove on the end. I don’t know when it’s going to punch me in the face, but I always have to be prepared for it.

Do you ever read old books and wonder, “how did they ever survive that sort of life back then?” I do. And then I always decide that I would have been the one that died young. The Beth March of the group.

However, I am beginning to question that assumption.

Over the last few months I’ve been trying to turn my Grandpa’s handwritten memoirs into a typed book. Grandpa is turning 100 this year, and everyone who meets him is amazed at how spry and quick he still is. When he lived with us last summer he spent his time reading books and magazines, writing his memoirs, and outside thinning the apples in our orchard. In other words, the very picture of old-man health.

That’s why I was very surprised when I read his memoirs and discovered how sickly of a person he was when he was my age. In fact, he was pretty sure his health issues would be enough to keep him from getting drafted, though that proved unfounded. Still, he spoke about doing lighter work around the farm while his brothers did the more intense work, and leaving his plow for a while to lie in the fields and rest.

“Hmm,” I thought, “maybe I’ll be healthy when I’m an old lady.”

Just last week I transcribed the chapter Grandpa wrote about his mom, who is famous in family lore for living until she was only a few weeks shy of her 104’th birthday. I discovered that, lo and behold, she had so many health issues growing up that her doctor didn’t think she’d live very long.

Maybe this is a trend in my family. Maybe that means I’m not even a quarter of the way through my life, and it’ll just get better from here.

I always make jokes that I only live half the life that other people do. But when I’m an old lady, I’m going to live twice the life that other people do.

So there.





Photo Credit: Esther Mae Wilcoxson

I understand that stress is a normal/needed biological reaction, but doesn’t it seem a little ridiculous to you that our body has the same reaction to schoolwork as it does to being chased by a bear?

I go to great lengths to decrease the level of stress in my life. I take a lighter course load even if it means I stay in college well nigh forever. I miss the hippest parties so I can recharge after a busy week. Unchecked stress causes both physical and mental illness for me, and the trade-off isn’t worth it.

Still. Being in college means that stress is inevitable. It swims in softly, circles around me, threatening, until dead week due-dates approach and it clamps down on my abdomen with its cold spiky teeth.

(In my head I imagine stress as looking somewhat like an angler fish.)

“It’s just a test,” I tell myself. “I could get a B. Or even a C. It wouldn’t really matter. I’d still graduate.”

But the angler fish seems immune to logic, and it never swims away until the tests are over and the slap-dash assignments are handed in.

So here’s a question: Is stress at school inevitable? Or are we doing it wrong?

I have several rants that are constantly simmering in my head, ready to boil over if anyone says a trigger word. This is one of them:

WHY is success in college measured by how much effort you put in instead of how much you actually learn?

College students are supposed to put in 2 hours of homework for every 1 hour of class time. Why is this? Who decided that this was a good idea?

In college, I’ve had a few classes that didn’t just teach me things, they fundamentally altered how I viewed the world and humanity. One of them was a history class at Linn Benton. I loved it so much I immediately signed up the next term for another history class from the same teacher. Another was a population geography class I took this term.

But here’s the thing: These classes were not stressful. They had almost no homework. In fact, the other day I realized that even though I took them at different colleges, the classes were structured almost identically:

  1. A short, relatively easy quiz every two weeks
  2. A discussion every week on something we’d talked about in class, with the scoring based more on scope of thought than on following a specific formula
  3. A bit of in-class work
  4. No final exam

So here’s a parting question: If learning and stress are not directly proportional, why do schools treat them like they are? Why is there an assumption that more homework = more learning?


Become healthy, don’t say awkward things

Today I went to the doctor to get blood drawn from some blood tests.

I’ve had my blood drawn so many times now that it’s sort of like, “psh.” No big deal. Except for the fact that I still refuse to look at the needle poked into my arm, or the vial filling up with my blood. And I wished my mom was there so I could hold her hand. Other than that I was like, “psh.”

One of my New Years resolutions, you see, is to GET HEALTHY. This is not so much as a “hmm, it would be nice,” resolution as it is a “I must get healthy or else I will not be able to hold onto a job and/or a life” resolution.

Thank God, I have very nice super duper awesome (insert more adjectives) parents who help me fund health-related ventures. So I now have a natural-remedy-loving Dr. who is going to try to help me become healthy.

When I first walked into the office, I saw a dispenser of GREEN TEA. I was instantly sold.

After talking to her, I felt like there was hope.

When I got home, Jenny said, “wow. Usually when you come home from the doctor you look sad, but today you look happy!”

I am trying to walk EVERY DAY now, which my cousin Stephy has been very helpful with.

We swing our arms dramatically when we walk.

We link arms and skip like we are in The Wizard of Oz.

The health thing is going pretty good so far. I also made a resolution to not say awkward things, which I failed nearly right away. Oh well, I’LL KEEP TRYING.

These are the people who received the brunt of the awkward things I said. I mostly like this picture because it makes my face look like a skull.

I don’t like skulls and dead things. But it is still remarkably interesting, in my opinion.

Photo credits: Steph Coblentz, Shelby Graber