Your Whole Life Ahead Of You
Surprise, You’re in it for the Long Haul
New developments in science and technology all but guarantee that barring some unforeseen catastrophe, you’re going to live longer. Medical breakthroughs already in the pipeline, that seem as if they are more akin to Star Trek than planet Earth today, promise a new age that would even astound the “New Agers.”
On The Horizon
- Major victories in the onslaught of AIDS, including genetic therapies that offer a high cure rate.
- Full recovery from spinal cord injuries via the development of artificial nerves.
- The development of artificial body parts that function as well as or better than the original organs, and are visibly undetectable.
Within Forty Years
- Replacement of body parts through cloning, which allows perfect genetic substitution of one’s own regenerated organs.
- The eradication of cancer and heart disease.
- Human life spans averaging 100 years or more.
While stress can certainly shorten a life span, most people still realize something close to their estimated life span. What counts is the quality of your life on the way there. Suppose I told you that you would live to be 115, but it would be with the same amount of stress that you’re experiencing currently. Would you do it? Would you want to? The quest of most rational people is to live a long, happy, healthy life and with relative grace and ease.
Substance Abuse Can’t Be An Answer
There used to be a commercial on television that stated life got tougher, so the sponsor made their over-the-counter drug stronger. I cringed when I heard this commercial because it essentially said that the only way to face the work-a-day world was to medicate yourself at increasingly higher doses.
I wish it weren’t true, but the rate at which people turn to “medication” as some type of temporary (or long term!) antidote for the stresses of working in contemporary society is alarming. In a given year, some five BILLION doses of tranquilizers are prescribed in the U.S. Among 150 millions adults, assuming 2/3 of them receive such prescriptions, that works out to at least 25 doses annually.
Without getting into the vile, vial details, all evidence indicates that the level of dosage and frequency of prescriptions is increasing. This is nothing short of appalling. People seem to have progressed from aspirin to Valium to Prozac to who knows what’s next.
Popping pills belies the majesty of your human potential. Your body is a wondrous mechanism, and it gives you the clues you need to stay healthy. If you’re “stressed to the max,” if you have pounding headaches by the end of the work day, okay, that’s a definite sign. Popping a pill may bring predictable, temporary relief, but that strategy for getting through the day can’t compete with simple, tried-but-true measures that you can resort to at any time.
The scariest thing about chemical dependency as a vehicle for handling stress is that sooner or later, you’ll be left with nothing. What if maximum doses of the pills or drugs are no longer enough? What will it be like if you simply cannot pause and reflect on your own? Given that you’ve likely got decades to go, being chemically dependent simply can’t be a solution for handling stress.
The Last “Will” and Testament
I found the words of Dr. William R. Maples, Ph.D., in describing suicide victims to be most poignant. Maples is a forensic researcher, diagnosing how and when people died. In Dead Men Do Tell Tales, he observes, “Many of the skeletons that come into my laboratory belong to suicide victims who behaved like shy hermits in their final hours. Usually they are found in remote out-of-the-way places. People often go to some hidden place to kill themselves, whether from a desire to act alone and unhindered, or because they wish simply to disappear in solitude, spending their last moments in reflective silence.”
Would these people have killed themselves if they could’ve attain reflective silence throughout their days? Was their quest to die alone, simply an ill-advised solution to the stresses they faced? How would their lives have been if they knew appropriate, reliable ways to find solace in the here and now, at home, at work, and everywhere in between?
- Simpler Living (Skyhorse Publishing)
- Dial It Down--Live it Up (Sourcebooks)
- The 60 Second Innovator (Adams Media)
- Breathing Space (CreateSpace)
- Accomplishing Your Goals (Smart Guide Publications)
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