Thursday, April 11, 2013

Avoiding the Dead Beets

Don't let anyone rent space in your head, unless they're a good tenant.   

Recently, as you may have read, I have been doing a lot of soul searching to find what it is that really floats my boat and motivates me.  New exercise classes, new hobbies, challenging myself to be more outgoing in my social circles, and tasting new foods and growing some in my new garden that I've never grown before.  In this process,  I have been assessing my personality by what I choose to eat.  I eat my share of beautiful things, but I was raised on, love, and fear I will never be able to live without my highly processed lovelies- cheese puffs, movie theater popcorn, bologna, hot dogs,  cheese fries. All so salty and delicious that my feet are swelling just thinking about them.  Quick, easy, and satisfying, prepared fast and efficiently and allow me to get back to work, but, and forgive me if I come too close to turning this into a diet blog, they really are nutritionally void, and I should stop eating them.

They are bad for me.
They are making me fat.
I think my lousy diet is giving me wrinkles.
I don't feel good about myself when I eat them.  
Who knows how many chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics are going into the garbage in my pantry (well actually I've just finished In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma, so I now know more than I want).

I need to stop eating crap, as the writers of Skinny Bitch would so eloquently phrase it.  Why is it some people can part with these things, yet others cannot? I have lovely relatives that are vegan.  I have been to their home for dinner.  It consisted of tortilla chips, Triscuits, fresh vegetables, fruit, olives, a table full of beautiful things.  After how many years now, I remember that meal clearly.  I remember how much I enjoyed it and how satisfied I felt at the end.  Even for just a half hour, I was healthy.

I've not shared this yet, but professionally I am a landlady. I own and manage 13 properties. I didn't start off as a particularly good one, but I have learned along the way by trial and error.  I've been burnt more times than I would like to admit to.  I've let people get away without paying me what I am owed, and I've evicted my share of deadbeats. Over time, I have learned that to be taken advantage of and to be screwed out of money doesn't feel good, so I have had to alter my thinking, systems and processes and my ways of looking at the world and perspective tenants.  I do credit checks, ask some nosy questions, and educate myself before I let people into this place that I value. There are certain things that I hear innocently come out of a wanna-be tenant's mouth that sends up my "Run Away and Burn Their Application" flag.  I work hard for these houses, and these houses give back to my family.  I don't let just anyone into my place.  It is important for me that they take care of my house, give it what it needs to maintain it, even improve it.  If the tenant is not meeting their obligation and giving me what I need, they need to go.  No questions, simple policy.

Why can't food be the same way? I have to take vitamins to make up for where these crappy, albeit delicious, foods are not serving me well.  That's like taking money out the kids' college savings to cover the mortgage while the tenant lives there for free for 6 months. I would never even think of doing that with a house! But guess what.  I'm doing it with myself.  The above quote really says volumes to me.  I can easily  put my foot down with those who enter my house, but why do I feel powerless when it comes to what I put into my mouth and my brain?  Just as poor food leaves my body empty, negative people, thoughts and emotions also take their toll. Are hobbies, past times and things that make us truly happy and relaxed the cure for that deficiency?  But there's not room for everything, and eventually the decision has to be made to cut them out of your diet.  What a terrifying proposition!

So how does one do all this?  I'm not a therapist or a dietician. I guess I didn't get this way overnight, so perhaps the healthiest way is to take my steps little by little, learning along the way, just like I did with my work.  I should be as selective with food and friends as I am with tenants- limit myself to things that are of high quality because those are the things that will take care of me.  I would like to find the courage to let go of my tendency to try to control, draw my line in the sand and see what walks up to it every once in a while. I would bet that if I relaxed I would notice that, despite the fact that my anxieties try to convince my logic otherwise, not many things would approach my line. Its an extremely scary notion for me, but what a fantasy! What could a little piece of assuredness like that do in other aspects of my life?

Could it make me divorce Oscar Mayer? Not likely. I'm a landlady, not the Dalai Lama.

Little itty bitty baby steps.  Learn along the way.  Long term health and happiness is the goal- that applies to work, friends, family and food.

Good talk.


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