Did you get the memo?
Are you sitting down? Because you should probably stand up for this one.
Sitting for long periods of time. As unhealthy as cigarettes.
I’m going to bet all my gummy bears that you had one of two reactions: Forget that; I’m just going to start smoking again then or Is there nothing that won’t kill me?
I remember having childish reactions to all kinds of “new, dangerous, killer!” scientific studies over the years. Days of sitting around the office with coworkers, grumbling, “Now they’re saying aspartame is bad for you. What next?” and “Guess we shouldn’t breathe today. Apparently the air is going to give us cancer.”
And just like rebellious teenagers, we’d pop open diet sodas and drink vodkas and spray aerosol hairspray (and breathe air), thinking we were really sticking it to the man. We were showing science who the boss was.
If the poindexters in lab coats were going to tell us everything we wanted to do was killing us, then frack it all, we were going to do all those things twice as hard. What was the point of living if we couldn’t do the bad stuff?
Let’s face it. Today, you can’t do any of these things without either a) nodding at how unhealthy it is and/or b) feeling incredibly guilty:
- Drink excessive alcohol
- Smoke chemical-ridden cigarettes
- Be stressed
- Drive a gas-guzzling car
- Eat processed foods
- Use toxic cosmetics and cleaning supplies
- Drink diet soda (or regular soda, or anything with high-fructose corn syrup in it)
- Eat meat from factory farms
- Ad finitum anything “wild” or out-of-control
Now you can add sitting to that long list of no-nos.
But Wait! Are We Growing Up?
I think I am. Growing up. Maybe we all are … or, at least some of us. The ones of us who don’t whistle at boobies. (Boobie whistling seems like a good indicator of maturity, wouldn’t you agree?)
Anyway, my point is this: When I read that article that, in no uncertain terms, told me that sitting down for long periods of time was really, really unhealthy, I had the natural “Oh, brother” reaction.
And then I stopped.
And I said, “That makes so much sense. Of course it is.”
And then I started thinking about all those other bad-list things and how I now accept that they’re not in my best interest to do. But you know what? It wasn’t because an article in Time told me. It wasn’t because a scientist did a study. It wasn’t because I had to force myself to quit doing something I really, really, really wanted to do.
It was because I started giving my choices more thought.
It was because I grew up. (Boobies.)
Know the Difference Between Being Rebellious and Being Thoughtful
Admit it. Sometimes you feel rebellious. And I’m not talking about stopping by Sonic on the way home or standing in the shower for 30 minutes in the morning.
Sometimes you feel rebellious because you’ve stopped believing everything you read. Because the world (and the science) you grew up trusting so willingly is full of confusing contradictions and completely unbelievable beliefs.
Because when you hear a conversation lauding the idea that every teenage girl should receive a mandatory Gardasil vaccination, you have to speak up about its dangers. Because it seems so impossible that you’re the only one on your block that refuses to buy genetically modified food. Because you SEE that commercial for eyelash-thickening prescription medication and feel a little outraged.
That’s not rebellion. It’s being thoughtful.
And when you approach your life with measured contemplation, something always wins. I mean, when you really think things all the way down.
The closer you come to nature, and the closer you get to your simple human needs, the healthier and happier you are.
The less you need cigarettes or alcohol or junk food.
And the less you sit on your butt for hours and hours at a time.
Not a single one of you needed a scientific study to tell you that.
One last thing: That list of no-nos above? Look at them again, and tell me if you don’t think it sounds like playbook for the 1980s? Good grief. It’s no wonder we’re often discombobulated, tortured, and bitter about making conscious, rational changes now.
All those things that are now off-limits were once shoved down our collective throat as the only way to live.
Pat yourselves on the back. You’ve come a long way, baby.
Can you think of any “bad things” you’ve stopped doing or using since the 1980s because it just made more sense to stop? (Or the 1990s, if you’re a young ‘un?)