Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Trendy

By Keith N Fisher

I watched part of a documentary on PBS the other day. It made me think about my life and evaluate the whole of it. My sense of humor kicked in, and I discovered I’m on the cutting edge of a trend.

I was born at a time before modern educated scientists discovered fancy named causes for genetic defaults, and family tendencies. I always suspected there were certain genes that made one family unit more prone to certain things, while people with other genes had different inclinations. Environment played a part too, but now I’ve learned there is a group of perfect people who claim to know all the secrets and if the rest of us don’t follow their example, we have no hope of ever being happy.

By now, you’re probably wondering what I’m getting at, and I’m trying to figure a way of telling you without appearing to solicit a response from you. Also, I don’t want to offend my dear friends who have found their perfect way to live.

You see I was a fat kid. There! I said it. From my earliest recollection, I was always bigger than my peers. It came in handy, though, while playing football and wrestling, and people learned I was not to be messed with. As I grew up, I gained and lost weight. Sometimes, I exercised, sometimes I didn’t. Life went on.

On the television program I referred to, the narrator tallied huge numbers of Americans who were overweight. That makes me trendy. As a kid, I was out of the ordinary. Now I’m part of the movement. Did you ever hear Barbara Mandrell sing the country music song, I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool? That’s how it feels to be on the cutting edge.

I could live with having so many people join my trend, but the narrator also pronounced a death sentence over us. It seems I’m one of the walking dead. One person said that anyone 100-lbs or more, over normal weight was morbidly obese. Then, that person proceeded to tell us what a healthy lifestyle should be like. Did you catch that word, morbidly? I wanted to ask her what normal is?

In the nineties I practiced a stringent program of diet and exercise. I did pretty well, but I noticed that others did better than me. Still, others weren’t as successful. The reason, I discovered, was because everybody’s metabolism is different. That means there are no, all inclusive, lifestyle directions we can follow. I think, however, if you eat healthy and exercise, you will happy, but you have to determine what that means for you.

As writers, we hear a lot of advice from teachers, mentors and other writers. There are many tried and true routines for writing, but just like diet and exercise, there isn’t an all-inclusive method that works for everyone. If you are struggling, I suggest you take the advice that works for you, and file the rest for future reference.

I had a friend, growing up, who could eat all the wrong foods, all the time. He never gained an ounce. In fact, he remained the same size into adulthood and is still thin. I envied my friend, but over time, I learned that some things came easier to me, than to him. In like manner, I know writers to whom, writing seems to come easy. Rather than begrudge them their talent, however, I celebrate my opportunity to learn from them.

I can discover the good or bad ways of my craft. I take heart in knowing I don’t have to follow any example, besides there are things I might do better than them. Both in writing, and in life.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

2 comments:

Michael Knudsen said...

Good points, Keith. We're always looking for the next book, article, video or advice that's going to "change our lives" and motivate us to transform ourselves. But there is no template for success that works for everyone, and we're better off trusting ourselves to design our own program for self-improvement. With writing, I often get depressed by teachers and how-to books because they often suggest things that just don't work for me. I learned more from just plowing through and finishing a 107,000 word manuscript than from all the writing books and classes I've taken.

L.T. Elliot said...

This is the big problem with comparison. No matter what you do, you'll always be on the outside of one end of the scale. I fall victim to comparison a lot and it's been a real struggle to view myself in terms of "single" successes and failures but it's making a difference. Thanks for the reminder to judge myself by what works for me and not another person's standard.