Wednesday BARB UP March 1, 2017

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I preferred at first to run on the treadmill. Then my friend Paul told me if I walked at an incline, at a fast pace, I could do just as much work. And then my Dad had the first of two heart attacks and I approached the machine with a sense of urgency. Cardio. I abandoned the treadmill and took to the elliptical. I found on the treadmill I wasn’t busy enough, that listening to a podcast or reading a book on my iPad was not distracting enough for me. And I liked that on the elliptical, my arms could be moving in synchronicity with my legs, for 30 minutes. And it felt meditative. It felt like the world did not exist. I started watching series—Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, Broadchurch, Wolf Blood, Love. Anything that was streaming and serial, I watched while I ellip’ed out. By the time my Dad was dying, I sorted out my diet; his body cursed him with diabetes, heart disease, other things too. It frightened me; I had his DNA. I could easily succumb to any number of his could-be-mine ailments if I didn’t get ahead of what I ate. And so, on a designated day, I broke up with sugar and bread. That is, I stopped having a daily ice cream cone, a daily decaf grand iced mocha with whipped cream, a daily chocolate and cream cheese muffin. I stopped eating bagels and croissants (well, almost) and avocado toast and onion rolls and well, all of it. Just full on ended my relationship with those two food groups. Wasn’t difficult either. I Just Stopped. At the end of a meal, when the dessert menu would be presented, I’d smile and say “No, thank you,” not feeling an ounce of wistfulness over the chocolate mousse souffle. By the time my Dad did pass, I’d lost 10 pounds, simply be adjusting my food groups. I didn’t set out to lose weight; I set out to survive, physically. The elliptical gave me a certain fitness, a durable stamina while the diet-shift gave me an inner peace; when I lost my job, a money manager suggested I give up my gym membership, to which I said, “No.” Because that gym membership? It’s been a lifeline for me.

Americanah is required reading.

RihannaBut it starts with your neighbor, the person right next to you, the person sitting next to you in class, the kid down the block in your neighborhood, you just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can. And today I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person: one organization, one situation that touches your heart. My grandmother always used to say if you’ve got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.

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