Sunday, January 10, 2010

There is no Year Like This Year

I have very mixed emotions starting this year off. Like many others, 2009 was not my best year. Personal losses, family members whose great jobs disappeared and the general sluggish Obama-led economy all took their toll on me. In a nutshell, I do not want a repeat of 2009 in 2010.

For months now, I’ve felt a lethargic weight on the back part of my brain and what I need is a panacea or elixir to pull me back upright. I’m not a believer in astrology or fortune-telling and I have enough years in my poke sack to realize that if this year is going to be better for me, it is within my power to make it happen. I’ve stated this many times over the last 30 years and danged if I didn’t succumb to the wiles of misfortune anyway.

I learned the hard way in 2009 that a person cannot prepare for every eventuality successfully. However, each time something tragic happens, I am still optimistic that I will survive and in the long run, come out stronger. That too is up to me.

As a fundamentalist Christian with a partial and practiced Zen Buddhist mind, I still became entangled in a state of depression that kept me mentally chained most of this last year. No one can say with certainty how they will react or recover from something truly tragic until they have emerged on the far side, regardless of what they say beforehand.

Racking up over five hundred hours of overtime at the Plant kept my body busy enough, but mentally I ghosted most of the year away. I wasn’t as strong as I should have been for my bride and family and I’ve determined that 2010 would be different, albeit ten days into January, I am just now getting my plan into motion.

I’ve booked four days at Pedernales Falls State Park, out Johnson City way for late February and plan to camp with my brothers and friends more this year than any previous year, excluding my teen years. I camped for almost 3 months in Georgia with my brothers and life’s responsibilities prevent me that luxury now.

I’m going to call on my old friend and nemesis – exertion, to once again rejuvenate my mind. Exertion has never failed me and as I age I realize that exertion is the one constant in my life that has provided me with true physical mental health. As I told a friend recently, “I am not happy unless I am pushing myself physically to the point of exhaustion”. I guess I could ask my niece Tiffany, what kind of mental problem this is, since she has a Masters degree in psychology, but I probably won’t, as it won’t change anything.

Back in the Stone Age when I was young and strong and thought I could take on all comers, I ran and ran and ran and lifted weights, did karate, push-ups and pull-ups like a fanatic and it kept my demons at bay. In 2010 I will make fifty-eight years of age and these days my testosterone level is obviously not what is was, so I will simply tighten up the strings on my hiking or work boots put on my leather gloves and bang my feet on the trails and climb the ladders at work to get my mental buzz on.

I listened on the radio as the exercise sage and godfather of fitness, Jack LaLanne explained that even at 95 years of age, exercise is number one and nutrition is number two. According to his bio, at the age of 70 handcuffed and shackled, he fought strong winds and currents as he swam 1.5 miles while towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queensway Bay Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, so I think it is safe to say he knows what exercise can do for a person, both mentally and physically. He is full of vim and vigor which is defined as a healthy capacity for vigorous activity and forceful exertion.

Forceful exertion breeds a healthy capacity for vigorous activity and that is my simple plan for 2010 to get my mental health back and in the process my body will benefit also. Want to join me?.

15 comments:

Natalie said...

You been peeking in on my life??? Doppelgangers!! Hoping 2010 is MUCH improved for you, my friend :)

Anonymous said...

Bert, I read and re-read your "no year like this year" and came away with renewed energy to face 2010. You are a special man with a God given ability to communicate.

I have asked God for his blessing to you and he seems to have answered my prayers and given you the strength to achieve and resolve.

Keep up the good fight, stay focused and don't let those that would try, get you down.

God's blessings to you and your loved ones.

You are a special person blessed with special gifts.

Thank you for sharing!!


Kay

Anonymous said...

Bert 2010 will be better for you and all of us. You have your life ahead of you with your daughter, her husband, a wife, a mother, a father and all your close relatives. More will come and go and that is how life has been forever. Your job in life is to add value to others lives and you have and will continue.

You have a great smile and a positive attitude. Exercise will keep the body going and keep that smile on your face with others reflecting that smile to you.

Have a great day and a good 2010. CK

Anonymous said...

Great piece. another thing that would really make your year is for a bunch of democrats, including harry reid, to lose. and it may just happen. happy new year. jimf

Anonymous said...

Uncle Bert I think in a lot of ways I feel the same way. I am 250 pounds and only 5 10 in height. I look back on 2009 and say to myself WHAT DID I DO TO CHANGE SOMEONE’S LIFE BETTER AND DID I SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH MY FAMILEY LIKE I SHOULD? NO!! I just worked and when I was off because I work 84 hrs in a week I feel that my time should be spent doing something for me. So this yr I want to first spend time with my Family and not just my intermediate one. I want to take time and build relationships with family like my Uncle Bert !! Second take care of myself lose weight and eat right. Stop drinking Alcohol just to drink it and above all help someone just to do it, not because I think I might get something out of it. 2010 is a yr for Ash Tallant to step out of the box and do things that I have always felt I should do. So Uncle Bert I except your challenge this yr and look forward to all the things that God has planned for all of us this yr. Ash

Anonymous said...

Nice story Bert. Keep it up. BAM

Anonymous said...

This is a well written piece Bert and I wish you great luck and success in your assault on the reclaiming of your life.

We have no control over how things happen, but we always have the hope that if we work hard when we work and play hard when we play, all else will fall naturally into it's place.

From the sidelines,

Sam

Anonymous said...

My Dear Brother Bert,

Thank you for sharing and bearing your heart, mind, soul and feelings in this open letter. My heart was very heavy and saddened, after reading what you had written, as I struggled with what to reply to you that would uplift and encourage you, as my own words seemed so inadequate, so the only words that seemed appropriate for accomplishing that, were these :

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 19:14
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

I do hope & pray that these scriptures will serve to encourage you and sustain you in the trials of this up and coming year ahead, my dear Brother Bert !!! If I can be of any assistance to you in the way of a friend to lean on, share your heart or hurts with, pray with, or just someone who genuinely cares, please don't hesitate to give me a call !!! My heart and prayers will be with you !!! Your Brother In His Service, With Love, Prayers & Blessings, Brother Rayburn

P.S. I sure hope that you understood that I wasn't trying to " preach at'cha ", but was just wanting to share the encouragement of God's Holy Word with you !!! If anything, I was " preachin' " to MYSELF !!! I needed to re-read these words of encouragement again, myself !!! RTB

Anonymous said...

Sure! Boy! Do I miss your columns in the so called paper. They have reached a new low with the Hale fellow, try as the poor guy might. Lohof

Anonymous said...

Bert,
I can only imagine what this year has been like for you and your family. My prayer is that God will heal all pain and give you peace. I too have made that commitment for health. I must get back to exercise. I have to live more years so I can continue to care for my grandchildren and mother. So maybe I’ll see you out there strolling along as well. Good luck on your goals. Tell that sweet wife hello for me. LC

Anonymous said...

BB: Thanks much for sharing your heart with us. I love you Bro. and am praying for you and your family.

BC

Anonymous said...

It was good to hear from you. Don and I have said many prayers for you, Sandra and Melody and Michael this passed year. People process their grief, tension, stress, etc in many different ways.

I think that somewhere in your letter you may have given God the glory for His part in your recovery.....? Being healthy is a large part of our mental well-being---actually affects all areas of our life. So exercise and eating well are important. I am TRYING to discipline myself to get out and walk at least 5 days a week. That is a small start ----I need other exercises, but I have to tackle one thing at a time :-)

We are looking forward to Melody and Micheal's wedding. We will see you then! Love, BT

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you on this endeavor. I hope that you get the results that you desire. As a nurse and someone who suffers from depression, I would like to have you at least think about anti-depressants, if you don't get the results that you are hoping to achieve. Love you, LM

Anonymous said...

Bert I'm glad to hear you've made a decision to move forward and exert yourself with LIFE. If you have some free time come by the Wetlands center and visit. Tell Melody I said hello and I'll see you both soon. SG

Anonymous said...

I second the wish for success...
We are all hoping to take the steps necessary to ensure a MUCH happier and pleasant and successful year than what was experienced in 2010.
I am thankful for my family. AV

What, me read? Isn't that a 4 letter word?

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