So, being the great philosopher that I am I get quite adept at spouting great philosophical quotes, like, “Know Thyself”, also translated as “To Thine Ownself Be True”.
Also, like many self proscribed philosophers, I’m so busy loftily “educating” others with the wisdoms I’ve picked up over the years that I forget to pay attention to my own shortcomings.
Yes, I am a hypocrite.
Knowing yourself doesn’t necessarily only refer to sticking to your own beliefs and following the philosophical path that keeps you on the straight and narrow. It can also mean to stay in a state of awareness about EVERYTHING that makes you YOU…including your physical health.
How you treat your body and maintain your health has a direct, immediate and ongoing affect on, not only your outlook on life, but your daily choices. Every choice you make is a “tell” to your personal philosophy of life.
If you’re not taking care of yourself, your outlook on life can change in subtle ways. You may wind up with a lot of “but if’s” which can eventually corrupt your philosophy, if you’re not careful.
Case in point: “Know thyself.”
Daddy always quoted this to me as I was growing up. Of course, he was mostly talking about not letting peer pressure lead me down the wrong path, but still…
I was definitely a tomboy (much to my mother’s chagrin), but I was also somewhat of a scaredy cat. I didn’t anyone to see me as weak, so I didn’t even want to try anything I didn’t think I could excel at. For instance, I’d fight the boys with the best of them, but in gym class I’d never take a chance on the parallel bars. Why? I knew I had weak wrists. I knew myself.
Health wise, Mama always knew what was best for me (and never hesitated to tell me, philosophically, just why it was best!) so I didn’t bother thinking about it. But when I grew up it took about 10 years before I realized that I should’ve paid more attention to Mama’s oft shouted, “Be careful or you’re gonna break something that can’t be fixed!”
From the time I was 20 years old, I knew I was Superwoman. First I went into bodybuilding and developed and awesome body that showed every muscle group I owned! Later, I was raising 3 (the first 3 of 10 that I would eventually raise or help to raise!) kids by myself, worked a physically demanding job and paid all my bills.
Because I had no car, I braved the heat and lightening storms of summer, the glorious ‘green’ scent of springtime (and its accompanying rain showers-and thunder storms), crisp autumn with its surprise temperature drops and frigid winter, with sleet, snow and four inch deep slush…and walked three and a half miles to and from work. Still in perfect physical condition (I could outflex anyone at work!), I was even doing that at the age of forty-two.
I have to say, it was exhillarating to outperform all those 23 year old, muscle flexing young men I worked with! Truth be told, I was a little too proud of myself, with consequences. I was so busy concentrating in being Superwoman that I forgot ‘to mine own self be true’ and I injured my back.
You’d think that suffering for a solid year with that injury would be a lesson that stuck. Ha! No such wisdom! Forty years later, I have done the same thing…which is why there have been no posts for nearly two months.
Yep. Superwoman has grandkids, walks to the store when possible…and sits around way too much satisfying a culinary appetite that should have been adapted to age and activity levels a long time ago. Superwoman is now thirty pounds overweight, with a “typical,” neglected, sixty year old metabolism. What can I say? I’m human and I have suffered because of one of the greatest human faults: complacency.
In short, I’ve forgotten to pay attention to my entire self and neglected to ”be true” to my own philosophies. And I’ve paid for it once again…this time with a ruptured disc.
Know thyself. To thine own self be true. All the time, all your life. Live the philosophy you preach or suffer the consequences.