Now, now is the time…

I know I’m probably speaking way, way too early, but I really think that there is great opportunity to be found within “the current situation”, or more precisely, “the new reality” we’re all currently knee-deep in at the moment.
Totally (not) comprehending, and scarily appreciative of the potential health, social, civil liberty and fiscal outcomes of this (current) pandemic…yes there will be another one – my thinking is, if we actually ‘use’ this time proactively, I reckon we could come out the other side in much better shape than when we went ‘in’.
Optimistic fucker aren’t I?

But, and without wanting to sound glib, it’s gonna need a massive shift in our conscious thinking and self-awareness…both as individuals and as a wider community. And I don’t mean in an airy-fairy, woo-woo bollocks, burn some incense and light up potpouri scoobie kind of conscious awakening (not that there’s anything wrong with that)…no, I’m talking purposeful, realistic, value driven (as in your beliefs, not greenback), humanitarian, kindness-driven, take-care-of-yourself, look-after-the-friggin-planet kinda action…all the basics we’re forgetting / ignoring / don’t have time / can’t be arsed behaviours and habits…you know…the acts of self-love…rant over

Undoubtably the world has now dramatically changed.
Fundamental changes to our government policy, the way we work, live & interact have all been, and will continue to be, impacted and possibly corroded…but again, even without the outcomes yet to materialise, I believe we could all have a new window to crawl through that could possibly offer us an ability to manoeuvre and manipulate some freedoms and acts of self perseverance that have not properly been exercised in probably well over a century or two.

WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS…?

Let’s get this depressing reality-check of a preamble out the way first shall we?
(Kind of) Not wanting to continue to kick the morale-boot much more, but am I wrong in thinking that the world, all it’s inhabitants, including our awe-inspiring environment has been mightily fisted over the (say) last 100 years?   
Of course there’s been astounding growth in science, exploration, technology, health, human performance etc, but at what cost?
Now I won’t, and I can’t, get too ‘deep’ into this, because frankly I’m not smart enough, and I already speak out of my arse way too much as it is…so the cost I’ll refer to, which I know a little about, and I think we can all relate to.. is health.

First, here’s some sobering ‘health’ stat’s…that will hopefully illustrate some of the points I’ll attempt to make later-ron in this post…I’ll try and keep this brief

– This generation will have a shorter life span than their parents…so our gene pool is shrinking, this is the first time it’s happened in human history.

 – Male testosterone levels are declining, since the 80’s in fact 

 – Global obesity rates, as of 2019, was sitting at 30%…and rising, with a forecast of 250,000,000 obese children by 2030.
This is largely (pun intended) due to the rising (another awesome pun) “middle-class” in China and (Get-it-) India, countries that only a few decades ago were dying of hunger and malnutrition, are now dying, in even greater numbers, due to over-eating and malnutrition (bizarre right? in effect, eating yourself to death)

 – Bariatric Surgeries in India have increased 100-fold, with these surgeries now the ‘preferred’ option to best deal with Obesity 

 – In Oz, the World Health Organisation in 2007 found that 67.4% of Australian adults are overweight.

 – Chronic illness in Australia continues to climb to worrying levels, again mirroring global trends, with nearly 50% of all Australians having a chronic illness. Nearly 9 in 10 deaths in 2016 were associated with chronic illness…most of the chronic illnesses are lifestyle related and TOTALLY avoidable.

 – In America alone (and don’t worry / yes worry, Australia isn’t far behind) type 2 diabetes (lifestyle related diabetes) rates will increase to around 55,000,000 between 2015-2030. Annual deaths attributed to diabetes will climb by 38% to…wait for it, wait for it…waaaaaaaiiiiiit…to 385,800.Associated medical and societal costs will increase by a lazy 53% to an eye-watering, powerball size $622,000,000,000 (yup…that billions) And that is just the US of A.
Global rates are somewhere around 400,000,000, killing an estimated 1.5 million. (Coronavirus ain’t got nothing on T2 diabetes…or has it???)
 
Mental Illness, back to Australia, affects 20% of the population (I suspect it may higher, especially now with social distancing). Key findings in 2013-14 estimated 314,000 children aged 4-11 (almost 14%) experienced a mental disorder.

The suicide rate in 2015 was 12.6 per 100,000. This is the highest rate in 10-plus years and equates to more than 8 deaths by suicide in Australia each day. Affecting males three times more than females.
There is approximately 65,300 suicide attempts each year. Incredibly sadly, suicide rates amongst our Indigenous Australians is more than double the national rate 

3,000,000 Australians are prescribed antidepressants – ranked equal second most depressed country in the world, on par with the US and Estonia.
 
2016-17 more than 3,000,000 people in Australia had 1 or more prescriptions dispensed for opioids (mostly oxycodone)

Alcohol is still widely abused, and it’s effects largely ignored and swept under the carpet, is ranked by the far the most damaging drug to the Australian community, followed by crystal meth, then heroin, and not far behind that, Michael Jackson’s drug du jour, fentanyl. 

Lastly, and definitely not forgotten, is another global epidemic, extreme poverty. People, human beings, our race who live on less than a $1.90US a day is roughly 10% of the worlds population.
So that’s extreme-poverty, now, what about the amount of people that live on less than 10 bucks a day?
What percentage of the world lives on less than $10 a day??
Anyone?
It’s 80% of the world population that lives on less than $10 a day

There’s also the degradation of the environmental, climate change, household debt, domestic violence…the list goes on…

So Why That Preamble?
Well, let me quickly take you back to 1917, reiterate how the Spanish flu unleashed its fury on the world population – I’ll then attempt to tie that into how the above health stat’s will contribute to even greater levels of human suffering when the next pandemic strikes, before I finish off this post with something profound & positive.

Sound Good?

Now I read (apologies, can’t find the link) that the Spanish flu initially started it’s rounds in 1917, but in fact it actually did the majority of human culling when it returned during the following year’s flu season of 1918, staggeringly infecting a third of the world’s then population of 1.8 billion, killing somewhere between 50-100 million…more recent estimates tend to lean towards the later figure.

Now, if, and say if because my Masters in Microbiology & Virology from Trump University hasn’t arrived in the post yet, that the coronavirus has the same or similar rotation, meaning it could come back stronger, more virulent, during next years *flu season, then we could be in for an even bigger shit-storm than what we’re experiencing right now…on every level, plus there’s 8 billion people now on Earth.

The reality...even if it doesn’t happen in 2021, one could view this current Coronavirus pandemic as a ‘dummy-run’ for when we (the planet) get hit with another, more severe virus…because as all the sciencey-smarty-pants folks keep telling us… it’s not if its going to happen, but when.
 

[*It is estimated that each year influenza causes an average of 13,500 hospitalisations and more than 3,000 deaths among
Australians aged over 50 years, which suggests more than double the number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents can be attributed
to complications from influenza. If you’re interested the CDC in the US estimates that the burden of illness during the 2018-19 flu
season saw 35 million getting infected, 500,000 hospitalised, and 35,000 deaths]

Why All The Doom and Gloom Mr F****** MyFutureSelf???
Simply and rather crudely put, if we don’t get our physical and mental health sorted…we’re fucked.
If we don’t get a grip on what is ripping our physical and mental health apart…then we’re even more fucked.
If we continue to allow “modern-life” to dictate our health and override our capacity to enact self-care…then we’re really, really, really fucked.

Given the current extreme levels of ill-health (as outlined above), when we get stung with the next pandemic the outcomes will be tragic beyond words.
These nasty-arse viruses, as we know, impact mostly the elderly. Those with suppressed immune systems, poor respiratory health and age-related failing general health.
But what other individuals will be impacted?:
Those who are overweight and obese…nearly half the world
Those suffering diabetes 1 and 2…shit loads
Individual suffering chronic illness such as asthma, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, organ transplant, suppressed immune system due to poor sleep, stress and regular and consistent use of medications….virtually everyone else 
Smokers and/or those who do too many bucket-bongs…Scott Seamans, Lyndon Hanson, and George Boedecker Jr of Boulder Colorado “Them Crocs Boys”

So What’s The Answer?

‘Take control of what you can control, and practice letting go of all the other crap’...
(not a quote from The Lancet)

Our own self-dependability is reliant on the skill sets that we, as humans, have endured for millennia.

What we’re experiencing now isn’t anything new, the human race has been through all this many times before, we’ve survived droughts, starvations, plagues, wars, heartbreaks, depressions, loss, pain, illness…and the only reason why we’re here today is because of our smarts, our health and ability to deal with the situations that life throws at us.

We get stronger when we stake our claim and overcome the struggles in life.

Darkness of the plague saw the birth of the renaissance. 

As ABC journalist and author Julia Baird says in her gorgeous new book  Phosphorescence “when our days are shadowed and leached of meaning, when circumstances shower us with mud, how can we be sure to re-emit lessons we absorb in the sunlight?” 
Julia goes on to ask “how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom when the world goes dark, when we are, for instance, overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain?
How do we get through it?
“By remembering that is is now that everything that you have been given in life matters; this is what you draw on. Your parents, your friends, your works, your books, everything you have ever been told, everything you have learned, this is when”.

If the above health stat’s are anything to go by, we’re a little short on when it comes to our physical and mental tenacity to cope with our world. 
We need to in effect build our strength, whilst relinquishing those things that deplete us

We have complained about not having time to take care of ourselves.
We complained that work and home life is too busy.
And where does all this complaining get us? 
We weirdly reward our busy, hectic life with actions and behaviours that further strip away our innate strengths, whilst compounding ill-health.

Now We Have The Time!
However, now, due to the lockdown, due to our loss of jobs, income, restriction of movement, isolation…we have been awarded that precious resource of time…and though it maybe the last thing you feel like doing, it’s probably the best thing to do for yourself, and those around you?

What options do we have available to us right now?
The first option? To keep mindlessly investing our energies into the distractions (‘being busy’, social media, too much booze, fear, panic, anxiety etc) that only continues to nurture anxiety and unproductive behaviours and thinking…thus resulting in poor health-metrics, suppressed immune system and a greater susceptibility to get sick…end up running around the house yelling I’m a teapot, I’m a teapot! (ah, The Goodies)

Or, alternatively, we have the option, the choice to challenge ourselves, to dig deep and work on the priorities that matter…namely our health.
What happens when you do the latter?
You blossom…
Your family and love ones blossom…
Your capacity and resilience to deal with what life throws at you blossoms
Your joie de vivre blossoms.

This is the perfect time to start to recalibrate your priorities.
To identify what is and what is not contributing to the strength of your wellbeing.

[Check out this little video I did earlier in the week] 

Now, I am very cognisant of the importance of security in terms of money, home and the rest of Maslow’s pyramid…but what worth does any of that have, what value does it give you physically, mentally, spiritually and philosophically when we’re sick, tired and immobile? 
The work / life changes that will soon be the new-norm will take some adjusting to, but will, I believe offer us a new lifestyle paradigm that could potentially be of huge benefit to us all.

(What’s) The Chief Task In Life….Stoicism 101.
To consciously differentiate between what we can change, and what we can’t.
To identify what we have influence over, and what we do not.
It is exactly during this incredibly challenging time of Covid-19, which is now consuming our reality,  that we must exercise our ability to mindfully partition what you can control, and practice letting go of “everything else”.
Because it’s during these cluster-fuck times that “everything else”…all the distractions like panic, fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, hoarding, poor eating habits, drinking too much booze etc will only further divert your attention away from the reality, and the important tasks at hand. 

Just to repeat myself, repeat myself…
I know, I know I keep harping on about this…but it’s exactly this reason that a daily routine, a morning ritual is the key. As this is an opportunity to rewrite your neural network, to program your internal narrative and propagate a growth-focused mindset to purposefully ‘lean into’ the new reality.

Hey, even if we’re not struck by another pandemic within our lifetime just think how much better your life will be if you’re feeling fitter, stronger, leaner, healthier and more resilient.
Imagine, just imagine what impact you’ll have on those around you, those you love.
Imagine what your children will learn from you, imagine how healthier, fitter they’ll be…how more resolute they’ll be to deal with the life ahead of them.
Isn’t this the impressions we need to live by?
Isn’t that what we want to pass on?