Saturday, 12 September 2015

Mortality

Memories of my father keep floating about.
At a school concert I could see my son, on stage, scanning for us parents. I recall how, under similar circumstances, I would never have this problem; my father’s deaf defying whistling capabilities made sure of that.
While being sick, I noted my son’s repulsive stares at me and the state I was in. He did not want to be there and see me like that. I recall how, witnessing my own father at a similar condition, I could not fathom how this giant of a man could ever be brought down by anything.

There is an overarching theme to these comparisons between my son, myself and my father. It’s a cyclical affair: the death of my father hurts more because I am able to see him in me today, in the way I relate to my son. I am also able to see me in my son, in the way he relates to me.
And since it feels like it was only yesterday that I was a little boy and my father was a towering giant capable of anything, and only yesterday that I saw my father shrinking until eventually dying, life has been put under a brand new perspective. For the first time ever, I can see the end of the tunnel; for the first time ever, life feels agonisingly short.
Yet there is so much I still want to do and achieve.

This realisation, the acknowledgement of the fact I will not be able to achieve everything I want to achieve, I will not be able to read all the books I want to read or travel to all the places I want to travel to, has been served to me in person through the death of my father.
I can see where he was when he was at a similar stage to where I am with my son today. And I can see that it’s all downhill from here. The best achievements of my life are now behind me; the best physique I ever had is now long gone, the best intellectual capabilities I ever had have faded away.
I am a mortal.


Copyrights for the image of Mortality, the book by Christopher Hitchens, are with the author. I highly recommend the book, having awarded it the best book of the year.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Sugar Rush

Sugar Loops

Last week a Chinese work colleague ran up to me as we were both approaching our office building in the morning.
“Moshe”, he said, “I noticed you lost weight. Do you have any advice for me? I want to do that, too.”
I was taken by surprise with this direct approach, but I do commend it. This Australian way of going around the bush instead of talking directly to the point has been known to drive me crazy on a daily basis. Which is exactly the reason I pointed out the Chinese factor; the only other person to ask me about my weight loss at work was an Indian. Do accuse me of stereotyping and extrapolating too much out of too little, but I think there is clearly a point here for “pure” Aussies to take note of. And the point is, you don’t learn by going around the bush and avoiding what’s staring you in the face.

Cultural insight aside, here is what I told my colleague (a very nice and wise guy, if I might add):
  • If you want to reduce weight, avoid consuming stuff with added sugar.
  • If you want to put on weight, eat sugary stuff.
I was not joking; my personal experience really comes down to that.
I know I have focused on calorie counting before. I know most people put a lot of emphasis on exercise. But experiments I have conducted on myself lately seem to prove the point that, as long as one handles oneself reasonably, little else matters in the matter of weight management other than the small matter of added sugar consumption.


Image by Vox Efx, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0) licence