Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Switching Medication

Taking medication for blood pressure causes one to make frequent trips to the bathroom. Previously one has taken the pills before bedtime as advised by the good doctor. But result in poor sleep due to the nocturnal travels required by Mother Nature. The reason for taking the pills at night is the side effect of headaches and disorientation. So sleeping it off seemed to be the best option when compared to drinking the pills in the morning at the risk of impairing one’s drive to the office or destabilizing one performance in the office. Nevertheless, one has chosen to switch the timing and take the medication in the morning. Anything that preserves one’s sleep is the better path. Losing sleep has far more worse consequences when compared to enduring slight morning headaches and disorientation. Of course, one should be able to tolerate the side effects during the normal course of the day.  Hence, one feels a little giddy these days possibly due to the disorienting effect plus the slight head ache felt at the front of the head.

Taking the medication is the inevitable result of aging. One has to exercise more especially in terms of maintaining one’s muscle mass and flexibility. One has chosen Yoga for flexibility and going to the gym for the rest of the reasons. Kundalini yoga offers an easy way to maintain flexibility and claims to improve one’s intuition and cognition. Keeping one’s cognition in old age is a primary challenge. The first to go is one’s youthful tendency to multi-task. But as one ages, this results in confusion and forgetfulness. One is not as smart or as mentally agile anymore. This situation is all the more complicated by one’s natural curiosity that results in unending stimulus and mental churning. Hence, the need to slow down and focus on one subject is not only a good way to achieve one’s goal but also necessitated by age. One also tries to stave off mental decline by exercising more, exploring new experiences and do techniques like playing a musical instrument. But my recent move two years ago to a new country and work place has stretched my ability to adapt to new circumstances.

Moving to a new environment is always stressful. I had crossed a continent to get to where I am right now. I guess it has taken a toll more on my wife as I seemed to have weathered the change. But one feels one’s age especially with the different climate. Winter is never good to the old or to those near middle age. There is also too many new things to learn that stresses one’s ability to adapt. Add the pressure and stress of one’s work and the challenge is significant if one is not physically and mentally fit. One exercises more by going to the gym three times a week. Blogging and journal writing has also increased.  But there is still something missing and needed to delay the aging process. One believes that yoga can provide some of the diminishing vitality and responsiveness.  Daily Tai Chi Qi Gong practice in the morning is good in keeping one sane but does not have flexibility exercises. Playing games in the Sony PS3 will also help in preventing cognitive decline by keeping one engaged. But one does not have quality time since one overloads the weekend with too many DVDs to watch and books and magazines to read.

Admittedly one has more leisure time and living space plus more exciting places to see, new experiences and new people to meet. The mind is engaged but still distracted. Worthless activities need to be curtailed not only to meet one’s goals but for mental serenity as well. Now what should one focus on? What are the activities that one considers worthwhile to pursue? One assumes that one should spend time in activity rather that passive entertainment like reading books or watching movies. For instance, novel writing, fishing, hiking, golf, Toastmaster, travel to nearby places, increasing communication to friends, relatives and immediate family.  Maintenance activities would be playing PS3 games, learning Spanish, yoga and learning new coding skills. The tradeoff will be lesser reading and watching movies. The hopeful result is an awakened mind instead of one that is constantly engrossed on a new idea, latest trend or art house film. Being in the ‘NOW’ as Eckhart Tolle has challenged people will be the key.

I found an inspirational book called ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield. I learned about this book from an interview with visual specialist Sunni Brown who I was reading about in a CNN interview. She made a visual summary which I had found inspirational. I plan to buy the book from Amazon – Kindle version. Basically, the book describes the professionalism that artists need to develop in order to get things done. I think it is the type of book that I have been looking for.  But it now feels that I have been reading too much and ending up in blind alleys. Maybe this would be different. The author made a follow-up book called ‘Do the Work’ that was warmly praised by Robert Kiyosaki. So it’s interesting that his works – written by a well-known author to address creative writing challenges also inspires visual artists and finance entrepreneurs. But one still feels that one had read or learned too much useless things that have no practical value. As the Chinese say, knowledge that is not used is useless knowledge.

There is temptation in libraries and sites like ‘The Great Courses’ that offer all sort of lectures in their website. There is an abundance of information that is available for everybody. But on a personal perspective, information is not free because one pays with his time and attention. Information also takes its toll in one’s mental serenity and equilibrium, sometimes resulting in stress. Hence, one must reduce information received at a quantified level perhaps 10 kilobytes per day, for instance.  The approach is similar to reducing weight by keeping to a certain amount of calories or the 10,000 steps per day to keep fit. Information is quantified, measured and, thereby regulated to keep the mind and body healthy. Now that’s an interesting thought.

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