This wandering soul, whose roots are deeply fortified in traditional journalism, rarely reads non-fiction. There are too many epic historical events that I find to be way more intriguing than made-up stories.
I particularly enjoy those “On this Day” TV newsclips and news columns. Take April 14, for example. The day songwriter Gillian Welch labeled “Ruination Day.” Here’s why:
What’s my warped fascination with tragic events about? It’s not about death and mayhem. My heart breaks over the senseless loss of life, the injuries and the destruction of property. What I am most interested in are: 1) The causes of the tragedies; 2) What was done after the events to overcome the adversities; and 3) What was the psychological impact of the trauma-inducing events.
Resilience is a big deal to me. Yeah, I’ve had my share of challenges — the loss of family and other loved ones, financial losses from business investments, plus all my health stuff. But in reflection, every time there was a bump in the road, I was forced to learn something new. In a life that seems like it’s been full of potholes, I no longer remember the pain and suffering caused by the potholes, I remember what I learned. Something good eventually had to come from all the despair.
Here’s a recent classic. You might recall I took my last anti-cancer pill, Arimidex, in November, which prevented my body from producing estrogen, the hormone that “fed” the type of breast cancer I had six years ago. Although I was grateful for the opportunity to shut off what caused my cancer in the first place, life has genuinely gotten so much better now that I am off this potentially lifesaving drug. For starters, with some estrogen back in my tank, I now get to start metabolizing fat again for energy instead of having the fat cells sit there and accumulate. But since I’m still at high risk for heart disease (thanks Mom and Dad), I focus on eating a low-fat, low-carb, low-glycemic diet.
During my annual physical in January, my primary care doctor, Dr. G, was a tad freaked out because the triglyceride count in my blood had spiked. So, I told him I wanted to start tracking and baselining my diet, eating low glycemic fruits, lean proteins, and good carbs, and cutting way back on alcohol. Well, it worked. Results of my blood test in early March showed that my triglyceride count dropped by over 100 points, but my cholesterol had spiked. After observing my mini-meltdown, my hero, Rene, started reading labels and within 30 minutes solved the mystery.
It turns out that in January I switched from eating ground beef to eating ground turkey, thinking ground turkey is a leaner protein. Well yeah, MAYBE, but I was buying ground turkey, not ground turkey breast. And some ground turkey, like ground beef, can be off the charts in cholesterol if the fat count is significantly high. Guess who had been buying the wrong kind of ground turkey?
As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!”
It was another learning moment, yet another opportunity to reinforce that I’m still a work in progress.
Before I close, did anything positive ever happen on April 14? Let’s see…in 1902, James Cash Penney opened his first store, Golden Rule, in Kemmerer, Wyo. Oh, never mind.
Here’s to making the most of every day. Even Ruination Day.
Cover photo: Dust Bowl – Dallas, South Dakota, 1936