You Are What You Eat

As a kid I liked apple juice. I always wanted my cup refilled after I finished it. Sometimes when no one was looking I’d stop pouring, drink as much from the cup as I could, then continue pouring again. Once my mom noticed I drank close to half a litre of it, she told be I was going to turn into an apple.

I believed her.

I was sort of scared now. Aside from having to pee a few additional times, I never noticed a difference in myself when I consumed apple juice. Now after every glass I was checking my skin colour to make sure it wasn’t changing. I started thinking maybe the process was gradual and once I hit the magic amount the transformation would take place. I began imagining myself as a giant apple with arms and legs, a glorified Fruit of the Loom mascot.

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I can’t express the sense of relief I felt when my mom told me this isn’t something I have to worry about. I just wish she wouldn’t have waited until I was half way through university.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the popular phrase “you are what you eat.” While you may not turn orange and grow a green top when you eat a carrot there certainly is some validity to the statement. It is important to remember that food isn’t the only thing we eat; people (hopefully not literally), media, thoughts, cultural norms, time, and list of things we consume on a daily basis goes on. What we choose to consume mentally can be just as important as the food we eat.

What stories are you feeding yourself? Are they stopping you from taking action? I can’t do this because I’m not rich enough? I don’t have the right genetics? The time isn’t right? We have to stop telling stories that limit ourselves. Start feeding yourself thoughts of success, which will turn into believing in success, which will eventually turn into success. Don’t be one of the many who can’t, be one of the few who do.

If you find yourself feeling shitty after:

  • talking to someone, try talking to them less. Talk to someone you makes you feel good instead.
  • watching a television program, the news for example, try watching something that makes you feel good instead.
  • after thinking certain thoughts, think different thoughts that make you feel good instead.

What if you can’t stop thinking negative thoughts? Try washing them down with positive ones. Think of things in your life that you are grateful for. Write them down. Challenge yourself. Try writing down the opportunities that are presented to you by this negative thought. You can’t always remove the negative but you can dilute it.

The other day my friend put a drop of soy sauce into another friend’s near empty glass of sangria. If you drank it as is you might gag. If you put enough sangria back in it though you wouldn’t even know it was there.

Be careful about quantities, too much of anything can make you sick. Balance is key. Once Hayley and I were left unsupervised in the cabin at the lake. We started snooping around for something to eat and boy oh boy we came across the holy grail. A big, unopened box of fuzzy peaches. We dug in. After about 10 or so candies I quit but Hayley kept going… and going… and going. In a matter of minutes the entire box was empty. I should have realized I was safe from becoming an apple when Hayley didn’t turn into a fuzzy peach. However, she spent supper and most of that evening sick.

Our meals can’t always be ideal. We’re human, sometimes we splurge. We have that piece of dessert (or if you’re like me two or three). It’s not the end of the world. By practicing healthy habits in your day-to-day life you’re body is prepared to deal with such splurges, sometimes we can even benefit from them! When we are in a healthy state obstacles and disappointments can become guiding factors to new answers and opportunities.

What kind of person do you want to be? Does what you consume reflect that? What should you consume more of? Less of? What can you simple change can you make today? One small alteration per day can quickly compound into vast changes to even the most toxic of diets. No matter how good your diet becomes there will probably be days where you take one heaping scoop of negativity and decide well I’ve already had one, may as well have three more. It’s ok though, it happens. You’ll feel icky for a bit but it’ll pass through your system eventually. No matter what you eat or how bad you feel, you can take comfort in at least one thing that I now know to be true; you aren’t going to turn into an apple.

Luck

She wore a hooded towel and the summer glowed in her blonde hair. Cupid shot me with his arrow when I first saw her smile. Her name was Chantel, it was the summer of 2000 at Clearwater Lake, and I was ten.

One day Chantel, her brother and I played a game in the lake where we would see how many times we could squat down under the water and jump out without stopping. She closed her eyes while under water, I kept mine open. I made sure I won. I was a showoff. Afterwards we frolicked around on the playground. It was one of the nicest afternoons of my childhood. That evening my mom and dad closed up the cabin and we left. I wouldn’t return until next summer.

I would pray almost every night to see her again. Those prayers were answered next summer. However, I no longer had the courage to talk to her. She was beautiful and I was just a scrawny, awkward kid. I spent the next few summers wishing she’d notice me again.

Things changed in the summer of ’05. I had made a few friends that year, one of them her brother. I liked going to his cabin because there would always be an opportunity for me to see Chantel. One day while playing PS2 with Kody, or more so watching him play, Chantel stormed into the living room demanding help beating a level in Super Mario World.

Holy. Shit. She has a Super Nintendo!? She’s playing Super Mario World!?

Before I could process what was happening I had sprung to my feet and gladly volunteered to help. We spent a majority of that summer playing Super Nintendo and listening to angsty music that we both also happened to be into.

When it wasn’t summer, we built our friendship on MSN, email, letters, and telephone calls. We would talk for hours without noticing the time passing.

When I graduated in the summer of ’08 we had started to grow apart. In the fall I moved to Saskatoon for University but we both got into separate long term relationships. For the next six years our interactions were limited.

We reconnected this summer, nearly 15 years since I first saw her. We still lose track of time when we talk to each other. Her smile stills fills me with joy. I’m 15 and playing Super Nintendo again.

“Goodnight, I love you.” We say to each other before I roll over against the wall, trying to give her as much space on the bed as I can.

I feel like the luckiest person alive. Unfortunately, luck always runs out. No matter how improbable, I always worry about losing the people I love. I can derive the logic to make it the probable and likely outcome. I convince myself of it.

While I can persuade myself that negative events have a higher probability of happening than they actually do, I can’t deny the improbability of the most important things in my life. It boggles my mind the number of things that had to happen for Chantel and I to be where we are today. What if my parents never bought me a Super Nintendo? If I never went to Clearwater? If I didn’t get her MSN address? If I didn’t stay in Saskatoon all these years? Those are just the obvious ones, the list is endless. Focusing on this instead of all the reasons that things could go wrong makes me feel better.

If I focus on loss I can’t appreciate what I have. I start to worry about losing something instead of enjoying and improving it. I make it more likely to lose. I create my own bad luck.

I create good luck by being grateful and treating the people in my life like the lucky multi-million dollar winning lottery ticket they are. This exercise of thinking about how improbable it is to spend time with someone like Chantel makes me all the more grateful. It motivates me to be the best person I can be.

Still, at times, it can be a struggle. It’s hard to be patient, content, and not worry about it coming to an end somehow. One day I’ll run out of luck but that won’t matter. Luck isn’t the reason for the wonderful people in my life. It’s something greater, something endless.

It’s love.

How To Die (Without Actually Dying)

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I had lost track of the number of times I had nearly died.

While traveling through Southeast Asia the vehicles were always inches from each other, even when they met doing 60+ km/h. Drivers would make blind, suicidal passes driving up curvy mountain roads. Our vehicle would come within inches of the cliff’s edge. When wandering Angkor Wat, the Preah Khan temple to be exact, I tripped walking across a patch of wet rock. My head landed in a perfectly sized space between two jagged rocks. My shoulder was bruised and my hand badly scraped. In Indonesia I didn’t take a shit for nearly two weeks because of (unknowingly to me at the time) my malaria medication. I could hardly walk and was in constant pain. The timely stopping of the medication combined with laxatives saved me.

I survived it all. Some situations were probably a coin toss. Luck could have went against me, my number could have been drawn. If so there would have been a period of time (hours, maybe days) where everyone I’ve known would be unaffected by my passing. They wouldn’t begin grieving until they found out. Aside from that additional knowledge the situation wouldn’t have changed. I would have been dead and they would have been fine. Business as usual. The realization of never being able to see someone we love again or knowing they are no longer with us is heart wrenching. Sometimes I will think it’d be nicer if when I died that everyone could just go on thinking that I was extending my vacation.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m going to stay here a little longer. I miss you. I love you. Tell everyone else back home the same.

Until next time,
Karson

Without technology (the Internet, telephone, etc.) when you or someone you love is away you can no longer be certain if they’re alive or not. You keep on living though. You miss them now and again. You think about them. Maybe you write them a letter. You try to have fun and hope that they are too. You aren’t with them though and you can’t talk to them. You look forward to updates and reuniting someday.

No matter how hard we try, we are all susceptible to missing things. I miss Hayley and Cayden every day.

I always try to draw strength and create something positive from it. Sometimes it helps me to imagine that they are just traveling. Today they are on an elephant trek in Northern Thailand. I miss them. I think about them. I write to them. I try to have fun. I can’t see or talk to them. I haven’t heard from them in awhile. I look forward to our reunion.

Someday.