The little we can

“Is it okay if I’m not perfect?” Yes, it is OK, it is only natural. It is to be expected. Very few of us can do much, but if we do the small things at the right time, we will be okay.

I wonder if people – those who notice me at all – think of me as something like the “1%” which people like to hate and envy in America because they are super rich. Not that I am rich by first world standards, but I mean, the envy is probably because people think “those guys have an easy life, while I have it tough.” And I can see why one would think the same about me.

I don’t think there are any, certainly not many, who really have it easy. Well, arguably those who are Enlightened, but usually there is a long and stony road to there. Anyway, not about Enlightenment this time. This is for the rest of us (?) who can’t do miracles even in our own lives.

You may think everything would be easier if you had more money, and I suppose if you are dirt poor that is true. But the happiness that can be bought with money fades very quickly, and you need something more grand to replace it. The joy you got from your first bike is something you can’t get again by buying a new bike once you’ve gotten your first car. Or your first Rolls Royce. You see what I mean? You have to top yourself the whole way, if you seek joy through purchases. This is why rich people say stupid things like “it is not easy for us either, the yacht took almost my whole Christmas bonus.” You probably say just as stupid things if someone in Congo could hear you.

Perhaps you resent me for being in the 1% who can eat all day and not get fat. (Actually I can’t eat all day. If I eat dinner when I come home from work, I stay full until bedtime. But you know what I mean. I never need to be hungry to stay seemingly slim.) Actually, it was not always like that. I was 20 pounds heavier for much of my adult life, until I had an illness in 2005 and became unable to digest fatty foods. You may envy me that if you want, and I will heartily welcome you to share my blessing if possible. But remember, if you eat cakes or steak or a plate of French fries, you’re gonna be so sick that you are ready to write your last will and testament. All things have their price. I did not really have the strength of will to lose weight before, although I have it now that I don’t need it…

Or you may resent me for being able to take long walks in the beautiful Norwegian nature. I guess that is something to be thankful for. But the truth is that when I come home from work, sitting down a few minutes seems like a great idea. And once you sit down, getting up is pretty hard. Norway may have a wonderful nature, but mine is so-so.

Getting up from the couch in front of the TV is probably hard. I don’t have that problem since I don’t have a TV, but getting up from a game of Sims 3 or City of Heroes is not all that easy either. This is not special for you or me. A well-known female trainer here in Norway wrote a while ago: “It is not like I don’t want to sit on the couch and eat chocolate too. But then I press PLAY and the music begins to move my body.” That was her trick to get moving: She had a source of music at hand, loaded with rhythms that filled her with energy. Once she was up and moving, she was OK. Most of us are. It is the mile from sitting to standing that is the hardest. The next mile is easy.

Another essay I read recently was by someone who had studied the nature of habits, and learned something important: Don’t set high goals. Or rather, you can have high aspirations, but your immediate goals must be so easy that you would feel stupid not reaching them. His example: Promise yourself that you will put on your running shoes when you come home from work. Don’t make a resolution to run every day, or at all. Just this: Put on the shoes. Once you have your shoes on, you can decide whether you want to take them off, or want to take a walk in them, or go running for a few minutes or for a long time. There may be all sorts of good reasons for one or the other. Just start with putting the shoes on. Unless you are ready for the ambulance, you can do that much.

And this is my sermon to you, dear congregation. ^_^ Let us put our shoes on. We can do that much. Let us put the music player handily by the couch, let us hide the snacks in the cupboard somewhere far from the TV or computer monitor. Small things like that. Things we can do, even though we are so much weaker than we wanted to be. Or you can do what I do, write a journal entry and let God or Fate read it, like when I joked that my New Year’s resolution was to lose weight without eating less or exercising more. Karma is a bit of a bitch though. I would recommend doing the little we can instead.

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