It's a hell of a thing, getting past whatever semblance of youth that I have and moving towards the soul-crushing inevitability that is middle-age (or whatever that time in a person's late thirties are when the realize that all their rowdy friends have settled down) that serves as the impetus for this blog's creation.
Whatever it is, it's happening to me. I struggle, I battle and I strive for legitimacy. Who knows if it actually is happening, I sure as shit don't anymore.
Often to my detriment I am not about the big picture. There's always some sort of headache, hassle or horsecrap to stop me focusing on the long-term and instead to do a bit of naval-gazing. This week is no different, because this week my gout has returned.
You remember my gout, right? I wrote an entire blog entry about it last time, and you may read it right here if that sort of thing is something you like doing.
All of my symptoms are back; the swelling, the inability to wear a shoe, the shame and the pain. My god, the pain. I sit in my bed writing this, fingers tapping away at an iPad and worrying the entire time that my blanket is going to touch my red, hot-to-the-touch foot. It's a miserable way to live and I only have me and my incredibly weak will to blame.
I have two problems: a desire to eat a comical amount of meat and an addiction to sugar that brings out in me a level of desperation and skullduggery that is typically found in the most ridiculous drug addicts. I've been aware of the issues that these two things can cause and for about 36 years I did nothing to address them. I quietly went about my life laughing at my own gluttony and carelessly drinking a two liter of soda per night. It was normal times in the Bugg home.
But for the last two and a half years, I've been trying to change myself so that what I view as the inevitable won't happen to me. I worry that I'm going to end up like the woman who raised me.
My grandmother never had gout, but she had a lot of other issues; bad knees, diabetes, heart disease, a body ravaged by a lifetime of obesity and a smoking habit. The last ten-to-fifteen years of her life were ugly, humiliating and devoid of the happiness and joy that I think a life lived full of love should contain. Instead, she sat in a recliner chair, smelling like a mixture of urine and Winston cigarettes and using a walker to get around.
I watched all of this happen to her and swore that I would never end up like her. But I was well on my way. Even over the last two years, as I've journeyed from inactive to a DDPYoga enthusiast, running 5ks and now as a Crossfit guy, I've still been half-hearted at times; I could run the race, I could do the stretches, I could lift the weights and sweat my guts out, but I still went home and ate poorly, drank poorly and didn't give everything 100%.
But now I'm sick. Not too sick, more scared than sick. But a swollen foot and the prospect of missing work is a frightening thing for me, and I've realized that drinking soda and eating poorly isn't worth those fears.
So here's what I'm doing about it:
I researched a lot about the causes of gout and made some hard choices. I've decided to try to experiment with living a vegetarian lifestyle. I'm not going to be crazy about it. I'm still using butter, drinking milk and even eating eggs, but I'm staying away from red meat, poultry and pork (I rarely eat seafood, so I didn't even include it in the list).
I also decided to attempt to drop any refined sugars from my diet. In a weird way, this is the hardest part for me. I have a sugar problem. I personally don't know what suffering from drug or alcohol addiction is like, but I have a pretty serious problem with sugar. I crave it, and I can't relax when it's in my home. I want to do nothing but eat the stuff. In the past few days this has been my battle. I've been irritable and often angry, scouring the house looking for some sort of sweat treat. I have woken up at 2:00 AM craving birthday cake. It's been maddening.
These two steps are a bit extreme, but I'm the sort of person who needs rules and parameters to exist. Left to my own devices, I'm just going to get sicker and sicker and end up like my grandma.
Now that I've written out this bold proclamation, the goal is to stick to it. If I can make it three weeks, I feel like I can live the sort of healthy lifestyle that I've wanted to for the last few years. That's the challenge.
So here goes nothing, no meat to save my feet.
Sorry to get all preachy, but that's what's happening here.