Did you ever stop to think why the United States has more people locked up in prison than any country in the world?
Today, I’d like to discuss an invisible crisis.
Chances are, this crisis affects you in some way. Chances are, about one in 4 people out there may have some form if it. Chances are, a far greater number actually know someone whose life is affected.
It’s responsible for much of our nation’s crime. It’s squandered immeasurable resources, both human and financial. It causes unfathomable heartache and immense suffering for tens of millions of people, not just those who are afflicted, but among family and friends forced to bear most of the heaviest burdens. Moreover, it’s peculiarly inhumane how it’s currently managed as public policy as well as how its perceived by society as a whole.
I’m talking about mental illness.
Go ahead. Laugh.
It’s funny. We’ve all been stuck on airplanes and seen things like this.
But it’s also sad — and very, very wrong.
All too often, fat people serve as our punchlines. It remains open season on them year around. Everyone from Rosanne Barr, to Gov. Chris Christie, to the fat kid in your fourth-grade math class has been the defenseless target of wisecracks. It’s happened all of our lives, and it still goes on.
Why in the world do we do this? Let me put it another way. Why do we do this to people we care about — including those who aren’t even famous — who simply happen to carry a bit more weight than average? What gives us license to openly ridicule them? What makes this type of behavior acceptable?
Think about it. No decent human being would dare to make fun of someone based on their skin color. Or, because they have a physical deformity. Or, due to other factors largely beyond their control. But it’s perfectly acceptable in our society to laugh at fat people and make their lives as uncomfortable as possible. Can someone explain why this is so?
Let’s say you make a New Year’s resolution. But you know you’ll end up breaking it. Is it still a resolution?
I’ll let others figure that out.
In the meantime, here are ten popular New Year’s resolutions that I intend to shatter from the moment I wake up on January 1st:
Of all the places I’ve run, higher elevations are always the most challenging.
They higher up you go, the less oxygen there is to breath. While “sea level” versus “5,000 feet” might not seem like a big difference, it really is — especially when you’re working out and gasping for air. This becomes critical after a few miles, because there’s just not enough oxygen to breath without getting a bit light-headed.
In sports, we often hear about visiting teams playing in cities like Denver and Salt Lake City, and getting winded late in the game. I think it’s the same for amateur athletes and recreational runners, too — like me. Probably even more so for someone a bit older, since we’re not in nearly as good physical condition as younger people used to this elevation.
I’m visiting Reno over the next week, staying at the famous Peppermill, which is located in the center of the city. In fact, there’s a small lake nearby. From the vantage point of my hotel room window, this seemed like the perfect place for my daily run.
I like exercising at high altitude (Reno is perched at 4,400 feet). But it’s admittedly challenging. A few weeks ago, I visited South Lake Tahoe which is a heart-melting 6,200 feet in elevation. That’s always been the most difficult of my many runs over the years (sea level is by far the easiest). It’s also much colder there, too. In fact, each time at Lake Tahoe I had to scale back my distances to just three miles or so, because I’m simply not used to the thin air.
Nothing worked. When I tried to starve myself, I’d start having food fantasies. Most men dream amorous thoughts. Well, instead of tits and ass — I dreamed hot fudge sundaes, bags of potato chips, and half gallons of ice cream. For me, a visit to Cold Stone Creamery was as good as a blow job.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.
I hate running.
But the aftereffects and benefits to pounding the pavement are irrefutable — life changing, in fact.
Yes, life changing.
Today marks the second anniversary of that giant first step — the decision to get healthy again. And so I thought this would be a good time to look back, learn, and reflect on this experience which I hope will inspire and motivate others to make their own life’s changes.