Something Like a Health Journal

A reflection
by Chris Hibbard
Written for NAS 3700 / 2007

Something Like a Health Journal

DISCLAIMER: The following was a fairly personal paper, written to a specific instructor with whom I had developed a close relationship. As it was written years ago, many circumstances have since changed, and this author believes he is healthier now, in every respect, and many of the ‘issues’ have been resolved or have disappeared. Some of the names have also been changed, since their privacy is their own.

– The Author, Chris Hibbard

I am afraid that the following words may have to count as my Health Journal for this class. If I have learned anything from my experience at this university, it is that I am an absolutely terrible journal keeper. I just can not seem to write entries in a diary/logbook/journal on a day to day basis, and if I were to pretend that I was doing so it would be at best a doctored and inaccurate record, at worst an out-and-out lie. Either way, I feel that I would be doing both of us a great disservice. Instead, without sounding too pretentious, I hope that you will accept this personal essay as a substitute. It’s much more effective than would be a pile of lifeless charts, to me at least.

This essay will be divided up into four sections, four being a very important number to Native peoples and to me as well since taking up a Native Studies major. As such, the following sections are: Emotional, Mental, Spiritual and Physical. In order to do this, this essay needs to be personal, reflective, introspective and totally honest. It will require a certain amount of soul-searching, but I am not afraid, nor should you be. I am not an honour student, nor am I a healthy person, but I do try to be balanced and not deceptive in all aspects of my life.

Before I enter into these sections specifically, I feel that I should take this semester on in a general way. I can not do that without making the following broad statement:

This semester, I have bitten off more than I can chew.

I have taken on six classes, a position as “The Boss” with The Meliorist (complete with hiring new staff every Wednesday night) and a three-hour Sunday night radio show – and have still tried to squeeze in time for fun and socializing. One way or another, one of these goals has suffered for it – including your class I would imagine.

This semester I have had my first serious cold in two years. I have been under so much stress that my left eye has started twitching. I have missed deadlines for projects. I have lapsed in my personal philosophy of not letting stress get the better of me and have snapped at friends and family, taken my frustrations out on roommates and coworkers, and have had no time for romance. This last item is not due to a lack of opportunities, but this point will come up a little later on. This semester has been hell – a disorganized, chaotic four months or stress and trouble, but I have survived, lived to tell about it, and have learned from it. Let me begin to explain.

EMOTIONAL HEALTH

In the last four months, my normal goofy, intelligent and moderately irresponsible self has been bruised and battered. I broke up with my long-term girlfriend nearly eight months ago and have been strapped into a rollercoaster ride of trying to remain friends with her while remaining unattached and ignorant of her emotional well=being. She is my ex – officially and seriously – yet I cannot deny the fact that I still care about her as a friend. I certainly haven’t helped the situation by still occasionally sleeping with her, and though it seems to have settled into a once in a while physical satisfaction for both of us, there is still a lingering attachment there that I doubt will dissipate until I have cut all ties completely. This makes me sad. She and I went through a lot, an infidelity on my part followed closely by an unrelated and unplanned pregnancy and a subsequent miscarriage. She was my date to a number of weddings and a couple of funerals. I have a lot of memories that are still attached to her, and may be forever, not to mention the world’s worst Christmas present. Never buy someone you care about a living thing – no matter how cute the adorable orange kitten may be. I am now in a strange place where I love the cat more than its mother, and retain visiting rights to play with them both. Yikes.
We don’t talk too much V_____ and I (that’s the ex’s name, the cat is P_____) and I am grateful for that. Even when we were together we used to argue a lot, and with this semester’s work load I have no time for confrontation and even less for worrying about someone else’s feelings. The occasional ‘drink and dial’ that she still gives me once a month at four in the morning all emotional I sometimes just hang up on, and the next day she barely remembers.

V_______ was my last and most substantial relationship. Since I broke up with her (after three years I realized that I could not stand the thought of spending the rest of my life with her, callous but true) I have had no desire to get involved with anyone else. I have still had my yearnings, shall we say, and have even gotten myself into some trouble with the opposite sex, including a long-time friend and my neighbour of all people, but have been completely unwilling to enter into anything remotely serious. I have learned why this is. Dr. Laura told me. If you are unfamiliar with Dr. Laura Schlessinger, she is a radio therapist on Calgary’s AM 770 radio, who dishes out unpleasant and somewhat high and mighty Christian-esque advice to trouble housewives mostly. Generally I feel that she is a white Oprah or a female Dr. Phil and avoid her like the plague accordingly. Anyway, I listened to her one afternoon while I was driving and found that she was describing a guy like me, to a T. She was talking with a young lady who was involved with a man that she thought was using her, keeping things from her, and not opening up to her. Dr. Laura’s immediate response to this young lady was to describe her boyfriend as being “emotionally unavailable.” Well professor, I tell you now, that I am “emotionally unavailable.” At the present time I am selfish and self-absorbed, and am afraid of complicating my ‘simple’ bachelor’s lifestyle.

This admission to myself led me to tell my neighbour Lori that we could not sleep together again (for a third time) because I would be just leading her on, giving her signals that weren’t real, and allowing her room to get attached, something which I was unwilling and unable to let happen. She left my house that night dejected, rejected, and crying, which justifiably made me feel like a shit, but two days later she came by and told me that she had appreciated it. Her ex-boyfriend had done the same thing basically, but had done it after six months. I had never even taken her on a date. As for the long-time friend I mentioned earlier, that is a somewhat simpler matter. Her name is _______ and we’ve been friends since high school in Calgary. Friends who have made out before, entered into foreplay before, and gone on ‘dates’ before, but have never acted on making it into anything more. I love ______ for the fact that she understands me, doesn’t push me, doesn’t want anything from me and just likes me for who I am.

Tonight I sit here and write this and know that I like making out, I like kissing, I like boobs, I like sex, and I like snuggling under a blanket while watching a movie. But I can not do these things anymore. I need to keep my tongue in my mouth, my dick in my pants, and my hands in my pockets. My somewhat flirtatious personality just gets me into situations which I then need to extricate myself from, something that causes the exact opposite effect than that which I desire – simplicity. Let’s just say that I’ve been chaste for a month now, and have to consciously make an effort to be so.

You might be reading this and thinking – “Gee Chris, your whole emotional structure seems to revolve around women” – and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, nor entirely right. I am 28 years old, and until this last year, I have not been single for more than six months since I was 16. So in this way, I think I associate my emotions with other people’s opinions. This is something I would like to change. In order to know who I am as a man, as a person, I need to learn who I am alone. Without a girlfriend in my life, this is not so hard.

In Calgary I’ve got loads of ‘friends’, some of which are more like acquaintances now, but who I get along marvelously with whenever I return to that gaping hole of a city. Here in Lethbridge however, my phone book has approximately eight numbers in it. If I want to go out and party, or go to a movie, or go anywhere, I either go by myself or call those eight numbers and try and rope a buddy into joining me. One of those numbers belongs to your son Mike – quite the character if I do say so. He tries to get me to ask girls out. He tries to get me laid. It annoys me in a complimentary way, if that makes any sense. These eight numbers are my lifeline to reality, a life away from my house, my computer, my television and my studies.

In other emotional news this semester, I took the death of M.J. Wolfchild harder than I thought I would. I didn’t know him that well, and frankly he often kind of got on my nerves. But I never imagined he would do what he did. It brought back a lot of feelings that I had suppressed; feelings about my own suicide attempt when I was in high school; feelings about my brother’s best childhood friend, whose funeral I attended last year; mixed feelings about life and death; like I was happy to be alive and glad to be breathing, yet sad about the fact that some other people were not. Nothing makes one feel more alive I guess than the knowledge that someone else is suddenly not. Is it strange then that funerals make some people horny? Don’t answer that.

What else can I say? I live with a roommate who I often can’t stand, and who I’m trying to find a nice way to evict from my house. She comes home every Thursday night and Saturday night like clockwork – drunk and obnoxiously noisy, with a group of people who drink my beer and annoy me until five a.m. Like clockwork. On top of this, she’s one of those extreme personality types that can not seem to break free from “24/7 Crisis Mode”. Her life is the most important life in the world as far as she is concerned. She has no idea of what it means to relax, and is a hypocritical hypochondriac. Health nut most of the time, she smokes my smokes when she’s drunk and scarfs down my pizza when she’s hung over. The rest of the week she wrinkles her nose at my habits and diet and lectures me about how bad smoking and pizza are for me. Thanks tips, as if I didn’t know.

The hypochondriac-ness (now I’m making up words) comes in in the fact that everyday she is suffering from a new illness. Five minutes ago she came upstairs complaining about her sore back. This morning she thought she was coming down with Strep Throat. Last night she told me she had bad asthma. Yesterday morning she has stomach cramps. I am not making this up. Compared to my roommate, I have no health concerns whatsoever. She causes me more stress than I’d like to admit, and I look forward to reclaiming my condo as mine for the summer, though as a nice guy, I dread telling her to get the F out. I’ve been waiting though, for the end of the semester, so as not to give her any more worries than she always has, and kick her out in the heat so to speak, as opposed to the cold.

I think sometimes I get lonely here in Lethbridge. Other days I think I need to just get away by myself, get away from everything and everyone, go to Australia without telling anyone and start over from scratch. Sometimes I just think I think too much.

MENTAL HEALTH

Taking six classes is pretty brutal. I am a natural procrastinator, and work fairly well under pressure, so I’m used to leaving things ‘til the last minute. But with three classes on M/W/F and three more on T/TH, this last-minute things add up quick and come back to haunt ya. I apologize to you for not being a better student in this class, but please don’t take it personally.
Last week I had five papers due and four exams to prepare for, plus a newspaper to make and an in-class PowerPoint presentation to create. This is why my left eye started twitching. At first I thought maybe I was going to have a stroke or something, but this week it has stopped (thank God!).

Mentally, for the last six weeks I’ve alternated between Complete Zombie Action and Sharp as a Tack Action. Sometimes these alternations occur within the span of two hours, and for no apparent reason. I chalk it up to the fact that some mornings I eat fruit and/or drink V8 juice, and other mornings I’m late and resort to the coffee and cigarettes diet. Granted some nights I get three hours of sleep and others I get six (very rarely any more than this, during the week at least) and that might have something to do with it, but it’s still odd and annoying. I would be naïve to think that one can live on little sleep and a bad diet and not be affected adversely when it comes to brain function, so I’ll leave this point alone.

I have learned some very interesting things this semester, many of which I find myself applying to my everyday life. In one of my classes I have been learning all about reciprocity – theories about giving and receiving, true needs and false needs, expectations and actuality. These things bounce around in my brain until something happens which brings them home to me in a big way. The other day someone bought me a coffee, just because. According to this class I’m taking, nothing in life comes for free, so I internally questioned the coffee givers motivation. On one level, the coffee was just a sign of friendship and was only $2, so should not be taken too seriously. But on another deeper level, that coffee meant that they expect some sort of friendship to form, or at least a coffee bought for them by me somewhere down the road. I accepted the coffee graciously nonetheless, but the fact that I put this much thought into it means that I am internalizing what I have been learning. The same logic goes into an aboriginal law class that I am taking, in which all the lies, mistruths, and propaganda that I learned in early school about Christopher Columbus, the Hudson Bay Company and colonization based on religious tyranny were exposed to me for what they were. I will never be able to hear someone talk openly about notions of Freedom and Democracy and Liberty again without reflecting on what it cost aboriginal peoples for us to attain such abstract notions. As for this class, I have learned a lot about all the things I take for granted and have begun to consciously consider what it is that I am doing to myself, my body, and my mind everyday. I have absolutely no right to bitch about having a hangover/dehydration induced headache when there are thousands of people out there who are totally addicted to substances worse than beer, and who can not get the help that they deserve. This class has been like a glass of cold water splashed in my face, and I feel odd every time I show up to class with a Starbucks coffee in hand.

Other elements of mental health that have been on my mind lately have been compliments of others around me. The roommate that I have mentioned earlier is neurotic and uptight. She makes me realize how laid back and ‘normal’ I consider myself to be. The neighbour who I mentioned earlier has been seeing a crisis counselor lately because she feels that no one understands her; that she is alone and is seriously depressed. Sometimes she swings by over here and we drink tea and she vents about all of her problems, and just by listening I help ease her tension. This makes me feel good for helping, and lets me know that sometimes the best things in life really are the simplest ones.

I do feel bad however for the fact that I tend to ramble and rant, that I love writing for the sake of writing, that I am weak when it comes to well-thought, well-planned research papers of the academic type, complete with sources and bibliographies. This has a lot to do with my aforementioned procrastination practices, but also a lot to do with the way that my mind works. I could spend 30 hours on a five page paper that reflects what it is I think you want to hear, or I can spend 10 hours on a ten page paper that reflects who I am, where I am right now, and gives you a sense of my understanding. I choose the latter, for two reasons.

a) I think that this way requires more thought – perhaps not of the intellectual and academic type, but of the reflective and considerate type. I am not writing merely to please you and other Profs, but to please myself in knowing that I am being sincere.

b) I want to be a teacher some day, and believe that what I am writing now will make for more of an interesting read, one that will stick with you for a longer period, and entertain you in the meantime. Who wants to read something that is just plain boring, emphasizing learning by rote and well-rehearsed but bland language? I don’t.

Since I have now mentioned my dream of teaching, this seems like a good time to introduce the fact that I am in what I consider to be a quarter-life crisis. I have taken two years of college to become a journalist, only to quit and get into the U of L hoping to become an English teacher. Then I find out that I don’t have the grades (or the work ethic) required to get into the Ed Faculty as an English major, and so I switch into NAS. This made me feel rather guilty at first, since I never had any desire to learn about Indians or their ways when I enrolled at the U, and still want to be an English teacher someday, but I have gotten over that guilt. I enjoy these NAS classes. The class sizes are smaller, the ‘tone’ is more relaxed, and I am learning all sorts of interesting stuff that I never would have had the chance to otherwise. What other faculty could I be in in which I could write papers about monsters (The Wendigo), marijuana (Misunderstood Drug for Sadness) and privatized prisons?

But herein lies my conundrum, my crisis. While I still would like to be a teacher, I have no real desire to go through two years of the Education Faculty, in which I am taught how I am supposed to think, to teach students theory and knowledge that I believe is flawed? I could take a two week course for $700 and go teach English in Japan for twice the money if all I wanted was to be a teacher. I just don’t want to go live in Japan. I like Canada.

I could switch to a different university and upgrade my journalism experience, go for a Masters in journalism and work in the newspaper industry for the rest of my life. I’m good at it, I’ve got experience on my resume, and everyday is slightly different. But I don’t know if I want that either. Perhaps I should just drop it all, get a bottle of wine and try my hand at writing fiction for a living? Sounds like fun, and I pride myself on being a good writer, but then the fear kicks in. How many years might I have to work in order to get a book published? How many years might it take me to even finish a book? What if nobody liked it, and I’m not as fine of a writer as I take myself to be? This is my crisis.

I am 28 years old and suddenly I am unsure of what I want to do with my life. I want kids someday but don’t want a relationship. I want money somehow, but fritter mine away on False Needs like music and movies. I am torn, confused, lost and wondering.

SPIRITUAL HEALTH

This category should be slightly shorter than the others. I am quite confident in my own spirituality. I know God exists because I can feel him when I stare at the night sky, when I’m standing in a forest or near running water. I can feel him when all is quiet, and when someone offends him I know.

I was raised Christian, but shy away from any organized religion that requires dressing up nice once a week to go to a building filled with other well-dressed people who are all happy to put their coins in a little plate that gets passed around, only so the church can put on fondue nights and replace the light bulbs in the neon cross affixed to the roof. I believe that organized religion is a farce. I believe that there is one God, who laughs at us for fighting over him and our views on what his True Name is. Let’s just all call him Bob and be done with it. We’ll all attend the Universal Church of Bob, with headquarters only in our hearts and minds. This makes no more or less sense to me than any other religion.

The speaker (Martin) who you had in class on Tuesday struck a chord with me, and I identified sincerely with his viewpoint on this.
When I need God, he is there. I can talk to him anytime I want, and I know that he listens. He very rarely answers, but he works in mysterious ways. If he doesn’t give me what I want, then I either shouldn’t want it in the first place, or I just need to wait a little longer.

I know that I am a good person, that I do good deeds for others, that I stand up for those who are weak and gravitate away from those who are wrong. I surround myself with pleasant people, people who are predominantly positive and optimistic. I pray on a regular basis, and I pray in my own way. I have no set rites or rituals for this, I just do it. Usually it’s when I’m feeling weak, afraid or alone, but that probably goes for us all. Other times I just feel happy, and I thank him (her? God? Bob?) for all that he has done for me, for my health, for my family, for my friends, and for my good fortune.

Sometimes I wonder what God thinks about me, or what my sister does for that matter (she died of Leukemia ten years ago) and sometimes I feel nervous or uncomfortable when I know I’m doing things that they would disapprove of, but I hope they understand and grant me forgiveness. To err is human they say, and I’m far from infallible. I’m also far from evil, and am one of the kinder, gentler, more generous and open-minded people that I know.

When I ask God for favours, it is usually not for me but for other people. When I ask him to help me, it is usually just to keep an eye on my car as I travel, or to help me make the right decision in a tough situation. So I am spiritual in my own way, but I am not an atheist. I am just as willing to believe in fate and destiny as I am to believe in The Wendigo, for this is a huge crazy universe, and I would be an ignorant asshole to think that I could ever understand all aspects of it.

I try to help other people feel better about themselves, and I share my beliefs in God and life with them if they seem open to the discussion, but I don’t push it, I don’t preach, and I’m certainly not one to judge their views, for I wouldn’t like them judging mine.
While I believe that the Church of Mormon is a bullshit cult, and that New Age crystal-peering hippies are just plain silly, I’ll never call them out on it. If they want to be nutty, they can go right ahead. It’s not up to me to change the world, but if the world comes knocking it is up to me to choose to open the door.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

This category is going to be the ugliest one. I can not pretend that I lead a healthy lifestyle. Not before this class, during this class, or now at the end of this class.

I don’t sleep enough, or at the right times. I worked at Blockbuster Video for four years, getting off work at 1:00 a.m. only to go out to Boston Pizza or a buddy’s house until three or four, for four years. This schedule has stuck with me over the years, and my internal clock has been set eight hours ahead ever since. I go to bed at four and I wake up at 10:00, if I don’t hit the snooze button too many times.

I wake up, and I drink coffee. Three or four days a week I eat fruit or drink V8 juice for breakfast, and then I check my e-mail in my bathrobe before I jump in the shower. Most of the time I’m running late, and I might skip the shower and hit the Tim Horton’s across the street for an extra large double-double. If the drive-thru line up seems long I’ll skip it and grab one at school. If the line of cars is long but I think I have five minutes to spare, even though I’m late, I’ll skip the drive-thru and go into the restaurant, and laugh at all the people placing their order and inhaling exhaust while I’m beating them to their coffee.

I generally have class from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday, and what little time I have between classes I spend at The Meliorist. I show up to class approximately seven minutes late almost every day, generally because of the coffee break and the distance it is to U-Hall from the Far West parking lot, especially now that I can’t cut across the track field. (I don’t know much about construction, but it seems to me that the reconstruction of Turcotte Hall is taking a very long time indeed.) Some days I eat lunch at the U, be it the Zoo or the U-Hall cafeteria, and in my favour I choose whole wheat bead over white, chicken or tuna over beef, orange juice over pop, and I absolutely love fruit cups and veggie platters. When I order salad I use no dressing. When I buy milk I buy one per cent. This is, of course, providing that I eat before four in the afternoon.

I eat too much pizza and I drink too much beer. Pizza 73 and Two Guys are my favourites, and if I have the money I’ll drink the good stuff – Stella, Guinness, and other imports. I probably drink five nights a week, which certainly puts me into moderate alcoholism territory. I primarily drink beer, and it shows, because I have love handles, which I seem to notice more than most women who see me naked, but I always assume they’re just being polite. I also enjoy red wine, preferably a nice Australian Shiraz, and the smooth taste of Southern Comfort over ice. I drink too much, and since alcoholism runs in my family I pay close attention to my habit and try to keep a tight rein on it. My roommate on the other hand only drinks twice a week but gets completely annihilated both times. I drink, but rarely get smashed. She knows no other way to drink. It’s easy to parlay your own weaknesses into positives when you know someone different than yourself. Human beings are so predictable.

I smoke cigarettes. I’ve tried quitting about five times, and I even made it three weeks once. I’ve smoked since I was 16, and have been a faithful smoker of the Export family since that time. I no longer smoke Green Death, and not even Gold, but now I smoke Ultra Light King Size – light blue and long. These smokes allow me to trick myself into thinking that they are better for me. Now I butt them out half way through and smoke the other half 20 minutes later. Essentially this means that instead of smoking one cigarette an hour (awake hours that is = 19 smokes per day), now I smoke one cigarette an hour. (You’ll notice that’s still 19 smokes per day.) I’ve tried the patch, but it was expensive and I ran out. I’ve tried the gum, and it’s not very good gum, and is no substitute for both the oral and the holding-something fixations. Combined, those two fixations are what has me hooked. I know, I know, I should probably get some breath mints and gum, or toothpicks (I always have some of one of these in my right pants pocket) and something to play with in my hands like a rubber exercise ball (none of those kind in my pants) at all times, anything to keep my mind off of smoking, but it hasn’t worked so far. None of the tricks have. I bet you understand – I’ve given you smokes before, how did you manage to kick the habit?

I also smoke marijuana. I know that any burning leaves inhaled are bad for you, including traditional tobacco, if used every day. I know that marijuana has some bad side effects, including lack of motivation, laziness, eating poorly and possibly missing classes the next morning, but it also has many good qualities, provided that one has nothing important to do the next day. In many ways I attribute many parts of my personality to the things that marijuana has taught me. It has taught me to be mellow, to not take life too seriously; to laugh easily and to not take offense to other people. Marijuana brings me peace and tranquility – not what you want when there’s anything important to do. Since weed affects motivation and social skills; ‘anything important to do’ might include leaving the house.

I have been smoking marijuana semi-regularly for almost twelve years now, and in many ways it has held me back. I think it has affected my ambition, my drive, my creativity and my initiative. While I appreciate all it has done for me, I no longer smoke it every day. There are times when I need my head clear, and between the ciggys and the bud, my lungs are probably not in tip-top shape.
Last year I had a seizure. It was not my first one. In fact I’ve had five seizures in 15 years. This last one inspired me to go to get checked out – fifth time is the charm they say. I went for a battery of tests. CT scan, EEG, blood, urine. I came back totally clean and the neurologist I was referred to made me wait for three hours before he told me that my tests all came back totally clean. Why was I having seizures? Good question. Once it involved magic mushrooms, the other four may have been related to severe stress or anxiety, like panic attacks. It doesn’t always pay to bottle your emotions up inside and be kind of a cheerful pushover all of the time. But I was happy to learn that I did not have epilepsy, diabetes, a brain tumor, syphilis, or any other neurological disorder, at least according to Western medicines diagnoses.

Speaking of syphilis, a few months back an ex-girlfriend from years back called me and told me that she had recently learned that she has Chlamydia. She wanted to warn me in case she had given it to me four years earlier, or in case I had given it to her. I looked up Chlamydia on Wikipedia (I’m a trained journalist you know) and learned that it is the most common STD in North America, that it is a bacterial infection that can be cured easily and that it is known as “The Silent Disease” because one can have it for years and never show any symptoms at all, and then they can just show up one day. That conversation was awkward to say the least, but not as awkward as were the following three that I had with V____, L____ and ______, informing them all that there was a chance that somehow they might have contracted Chlamydia. This is some really personal shit, and is strange to be typing, especially to a Prof, but this is a health class after all, and if you can’t handle it, no one can. Anyway, I went to the doc, took four little pills with my dinner, had some bad stomach pains, and that was that. The doc made me pee in a cup – that was my test. The girls have to get a PAP test with a tissue sample. I got off easy, but telling those three that I might have infected them with some weird crotch disease was certainly uncomfortable. None of us have heard back from the doctor, so we’re thinking that the tests all came back negative. The strange thing about doctors is that we all presume no news is good news, and then are generally too afraid to call and double-check. Nonetheless, that was a strange and secretive (until now) highlight of last month, figuratively speaking of course. It was sure on my mind for a long time, proof of yet another reason for me to keep my tongue in my mouth and my dick in my pants.

Finally, we come to exercise, something that I also don’t get enough of. I know people who are addicted to that shit – exercise. They go to the gym like I go to the coffee maker. I am not one of these people. I know other people who go snowboarding and skiing and rock climbing and play in football leagues and do gymnastics and yoga. I am none of these people either.
I am a summer bum. I love to hike, to fish, to swim. I love playing Frisbee Golf and going for walks around the lake. I love mountain biking and exploring new terrain. I love snorkeling and just playing catch. In the wintertime I hibernate. My heart rate slows down, I put on a few pounds, I get a little depressed and my grades tend to slip. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder if you want, I call it the Winter Blahs.

With this being said however, I refuse to use elevators or escalators when there are stairs near by. I refuse to circle the block looking for a closer parking spot when I can get out and walk. I refuse to walk indoors when I can walk outdoors, even in the winter. I refuse to walk slowly or climb stairs at any speed slower than fast, especially if I’m in the mall. When I go shopping – four times a year maybe – when I’m a’movin’, I’m a’movin’ and you best get out of the way. Anywhere worth going on foot is worth going quickly. I don’t know if I learned this somewhere, or if I’m just late all the time and in a rush, but it’s just how I roll. Wait a second. Sometimes I slow down. Only when I’ve got no destination and I’m just walking for the sake of walking.

This has been my health journal. It may not have been what you were looking for nor even pretty, but it’s me. It’s my take on my life, complete with flaws and human problems that have been important to me over the last semester and the acknowledgement that I hate making daily journal entries. I am not much healthier now than I was at the beginning of this class. I still smoke too much, drink too much, and don’t sleep, eat, or exercise enough. What is healthier however is my knowledge of issues such as diabetes, tuberculosis and alcoholism; not to mention Native cultures and spooky Cree stories. These things are what you have given to me Lois. May this paper give you some insight into the inner workings of one of your friendliest yet most absentee students.

THE END

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~ by Chris Hibbard on March 15, 2007.

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