In researching more affordable health insurance options yesterday morning, I learned that we’ve been being screwed by our insurance company.
On one hand, we’re to blame for not bothering to look into better options sooner, but basically it comes down to this: the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, forces insurance companies to pay for well checks for women and kids from age 0-21.
Of course there are a few loopholes, like in our case. If your policy started before the law took effect in March 2010, you are “grandfathered” in. We didn’t change our plan once we had Gianna, especially since after her birth our deductible was met through the end of 2011.
If your plan is old, the insurance company doesn’t have to pay for “well checks.” If you don’t have kids or aren’t a woman, you may not know how damn expensive that stuff is. Gianna’s first round of shots and one office visit cost $700. That’s right. $700 for maybe half an hour and a few shots.
I’m not talking about whether or not you think it’s fair that the law works this way. But I do want people to realize that their well checks are covered by their insurance.
So hey, educate yourselves and don’t trust your insurance agent to let you know that your old plan sucks and you’re not taking advantage of a better plan.
Being comfortable is the biggest killer of productivity.
When you have something to prove, or are hungry to better yourself, you work for it. You bust your ass. Once you attain a certain level of success, whether it’s in your job, your housing situation, your car, your weight, fitness level, whatever, it becomes a lot harder to keep your eye on the prize. Your goals change. It’s easier to coast a bit and just do enough to maintain your comfort level. Maybe you slip (which I’ve done with my fitness and weight in particular), maybe you don’t. But it’s sure as hell a lot harder to remember to work for what you want once you sort of reach your goals.
This applies to my writing, fitness, weight, work, just about everything. I’ve recently had good reason to look at where I’m at and realize that I have been coasting for a long time. I haven’t been writing enough, for one thing. But I’m back in the swing of things now and am making progress on pretty much all fronts.
What about you? Do you need a wake-up call? Get out there and do something to better your life.
P.S. I got off my ass and did 1.5 miles on the treadmill this afternoon. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
Many people want to force you to be who they want you to be. They want you to agree with their politics, their religion, their life choices, whatever.
Don’t worry about that stuff.
First, be happy.
Before you worry about what other people think, look out for yourself. Look out for your own happiness.
Then consider your family and friends. I’m not saying you should do reckless things just to be happy. I’m not advocating hedonism. I’m saying that you shouldn’t let other people’s desires make you unhappy by trying to project their desires onto you.
You should pursue happiness without hurting other people. Take a stand against people who want you to conform to their standards or beliefs.
Having a kid constantly reminds you that time is slipping away. Nothing stays the same. You don’t, your family doesn’t, your friends don’t, your pets don’t. The world doesn’t.
Seize the moment and enjoy where you’re at, who you’re with.
Right now, Gianna is changing every day. She’s talking quite a bit, and I find myself being a little sad to see it (simultaneously, I’m happy, of course). But it’s easy to get a little melancholy about seeing her lose cute behavior and become more like the rest of us. She just started saying an emphatic, “Uh huh!” instead of just nodding or making this weird, cute little “yes” sound that she’s been making for a long time. It’s imposible to describe adequately, but it’s sort of a nasal click that she vocalizes. I’ve never heard anyone else make a sound like this–it’s just hers.
Or it was.
It’s gone now in favor of regular language.
So seize the day. Enjoy what you have while you have it.
This is for all the arrogant, self-righteous Americans among us.
Stop being smug, get down off your high horses, and think about improving the world. People who disagree with you are not fascist followers of Adolf Hitler (if they’re conservatives) or socialist Josef Stalin (if they’re liberals). Disagreeing with you doesn’t make someone evil, or stupid, or un-American. Stop clamping your hands over your ears and ignoring people who don’t agree with everything you stand for. I’m talking to everyone here–right wing whackos, left wing loonies, and the idiots in the middle.
We all have enemies out there, maybe politically, maybe religiously, whatever. But not every atheist, Christian, Muslim, liberal, or conservative is an evil bastard, whether we’d like to pretend they were or not. Some people are bad. Some ARE anti-American. But it’s not because they’re pro-life or pro-choice or worship God 5 times/day (or never) or go to mass or whatever.
I’m a critical, judgemental person. I love to argue, and I love to debate. Like most people, I know I’m right and you idiots are wrong. But over time, as I’ve been exposed to more people with different viewpoints, I’ve learned to be more open to other people’s ideas. Even I’m tired of being part of widening the Great Divide between the right and the left.
I’m tired of being part of the problem.
As the election draws near, we’re becoming even nastier. The Opposition has morphed into the Dark Lord Sauron. They’re even more un-American, evil, and stupid than before. They don’t understand us, they hate us, they want to destroy our way of life, enslave our children, and make us just like them. Of course we’re smug, self-righteous, paragons of society, and since we’re always right, we clamp our hands over our ears and ignore everything they say (while screaming in their faces).
Actually, we would scream in their faces, except for the fact that most of us don’t usually spend much time with the Enemy. We do see them on Facebook, though, so we attack the hell out of them, troll them, smear them, call them stupid, etc.
After all, they want to destroy America.
So stop being so smug. Stop calling anyone who disagrees with you “stupid.” Your opponents aren’t all nasty villains bent on ruining your country.
Talk to people who don’t agree with you. Be objective. Stop widening the Great Divide. Have discussions. Figure out why other people think differently than you. Let’s figure out how the hell to improve the world instead of just tearing it down.
Last night, I saw an argument against gay marriage that was predicated upon the idea that marriage is inherently a religious thing.
I despise the idea that just because the Founding Fathers, Jesus, Little Bo Peep, or Saint So-And-So used to do something a certain way or for a certain reason, then we should just keep doing it the same way now.
Times change, people. We learn as time goes on (I hope). Slavery went away. Black people became people. Gay marriage is inevitable.
The only argument against it in the United States in 2012 comes from right wing Christians. In saying that, I’m not being biased against them. I’m merely stating a fact. The movement to marginalize gays comes from them–they’re trying to defend the “sanctity” of marriage only because they’re afraid of gays. They have an agenda, and it doesn’t include letting gays get married.
Most reasonable people I know, including my extremist Christian friends, think it’s fair for gay people to get married. They don’t support gayness, they think it’s a sin, etc, but they agree that gay people should have rights. If they didn’t we probably wouldn’t be friends. Why? Because I’m biased against stupid assholes who think they should tell everyone else how to live.
Anyone who desperately wants to deny gay rights should do some serious self-examination and try to figure out what’s wrong with them. Instead of wasting time trying to deprive other people of stuff, they should go do something useful/create something new/brighten someone’s day.
Find something you’re passionate about, work hard, and pursue it relentlessly.
Today, my little sister graduates from nursing school. The wide world sits at her feet, ready to be worked on, fixed up, and helped.
It took her a few years to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, but once she did, she set her mind to it. She’s worked hard,
mastering everything necessary to not only learn the basics of nursing, but to excel. She got all As and 4 Bs, and her classmates voted her the “most likely to be a leader.” She’s persistent, fearless, smart, takes charge when necessary, etc. When something needs to get done, she does it. She is young enough that her memory is still excellent, and she seems to remember just about everything she has learned about how the human body works (she’s now my “go-to-guy” when it comes to health issues). She has attracted the attention of her professors and bosses, and has been commended for doing so well.
My hat is off to you, Ashley Barba.
Keep pursuing your passions and you will do well throughout the rest of your life.
And you, readers? The same thing goes for you. Figure out what you’re passionate about and pursue it. Don’t just sort of half-assed think about it or talk about it. DO IT. Be relentless in pursuit of what you love.
If everyone found their passion and pursued it relentlessly, the world would be a hell of a better place.
So follow my sister’s lead, get out there, and do what you love. Work hard. Don’t take no for an answer.
This is well-established among people who know me, and probably among those of you who only know me from reading this blog. I
tend to dislike bullshit language that sugarcoats unpleasant things. I like to look at things in black and white, although I recognize that there are shades of grey out there. I make generalizations pretty often, and I really like to rant (which is an indulgence I am trying to control, both in person and online).
It would be so damn easy to turn this into a rant blog as opposed to a motivational little spot, but that’s not what I want to do. I don’t think that’s productive, and I don’t think it helps people, which is really what I want to do. I want to do my best to empower other people to feel better about themselves, to create things, to make themselves the best they can be.
I’m saying this today since I often talk about things that get people fired up, and I’m pretty sure I hurt some feelings now and then, whether I’m talking about politics, religion, or being fat. Even though I may discuss some things without much regard to other people’s feelings, it’s not my intention to hurt anyone.
I love to discuss our differences, which is something I didn’t really engage in until the last few years. And really, since I started this blog, I’ve become a lot more open to other viewpoints.
Really, I’ve been lazy for way longer than that, but at least I kept going to yoga and running off and on for about the last year, which managed to keep off some of my excess fat. But this winter, I stopped working out at all, stopped running, and “took some time off” from yoga.
I don’t like being fat. Nobody does. But I sure do love indulging myself–I’m a glutton.
I’ve been drinking pots of coffee with half and half instead of skim milk lattes, which has helped me binge on the stuff, swilling down WAY too much of it. I’ve also been eating far too much unhealthy food (and even when I eat healthy stuff, I’ve been a glutton). I’ve had to switch from wearing medium shirts to large ones, and my 34 inch waist pants don’t really fit very well. I know to many people, probably most, this won’t sound like much. I’m not 250 or 300 pounds and I’m not in serious danger of dropping dead from a heart attack.
But you know what?
In America, we have a seriously skewed idea of what “fat” is. We call it being “big,” or pretend that as we age, it’s normal to get fat and out of shape. I think this is more of a facet of modern American society–we eat high calorie food, drive everywhere, watch tv all the time, etc. I don’t need to go into detail, do I? We all know what’s wrong with the picture of American Health these days.
And sugarcoating it with soft, non-offensive language doesn’t help anything. It only serves to massage weak egos and fool us into pretending that we’re fine. Everything will be fine. Please pass me another cheeseburger or another bowl of ice cream. I’ll walk a little more tomorrow. We wait for “someday.” That mythical “someday.” Someday I’ll start eating right. I’ll exercise. And I’ll like it. Someday. Maybe. meanwhile, we’re getting older, our bodies are breaking down, and we tend to get fatter.
I say “we” since it applies to me like crazy. I spent my 20s weighing about 220 pounds. I ate fast food multiple times/day. We used to leave the paint store in the mornings then stop in at Burger King for a Double Whopper with cheese, King-sized fries, and a huge Coke. I used to drink at least a 6 pack of Coke every day (and usually way more than that due to free refills at every damn restaurant). We’d have lunch about 3 hours later at some other awful fast food place (or sit downs. If we could swing the time, we’d drop into a sit down and eat, eat, eat). We ate like kings, so it’s now surprise that I looked like Robert Baratheon.
Then on Easter 2005, after gorging myself on tasty food, I was lying on the couch at my grandma’s house watching Foodtv. I felt
terrible (of course I had eaten WAY too much). We were watching a marathon of this show where they gave these fat people a trainer, a dietitian, and a plan for a few months (they followed them from beginning to end). They whipped these people into shape, even this extremely obnoxious guy who lost 40 pounds in 3 months. Seeing this idiot do it spurred me to decide to get in shape.
At the same time, my wife was training for her first marathon, so she was running all the time, which helped motivate me too (she is very fit). So. I ended up eating right and exercising, and I lost 2 pounds/week. I went from 225 to 172. I wasn’t ripped, but I had
abs with no fat on them for pretty much the first time in my life. In fact, I was on the skinny side–I was running too much and not eating enough protein.
Then I started lifting weights and doing yoga and got up to about 190, which I stayed at until about 2 years ago, when I started
going to a trainer with my brother. With him, we managed to condense a week’s
worth of weight lifting into 2 hours/week, but once we got too busy with work and had to stop, I rested on my laurels. I gradually lost my strength and my aerobic conditioning. I still went to yoga until last autumn, which helped keep me up somewhat, even though I had crept up above 200 pounds again. Then, like I already said, my winter of hedonism shoved me up to 221. After one week of eating well and exercising, I’m down to 216 right now (I think I tend to hold on to a few pounds of excess water when I’m being unhealthy).
So what’s my point?
Well, I have a few today, I guess. Get off your ass and do something. Move around. Don’t delude yourself into thinking you’ll always have time to get healthy later on. You certainly might, but hey, get to it. Don’t do like I have been. Don’t ignore yourself. Look for balance in what
you do, and try to make a positive change. I don’t want to see you drop dead from being unhealthy.
In my case, I think I may have flipped the switch back to “go.” I think. It’s hard to say, but I feel motivated about it right now. I DO NOT want to look and feel like I have been. I don’t want to be an unhealthy example for Gianna. I want to be there for her when I’m old. I want to look good. I want to feel good. I want to be able to run half-marathons again.
I’ve also noticed recently that my once excellent memory is really fading. I have been having a really hard time remembering if I’ve done things I meant to do or not. I think it’s related to my bad diet and lack of exercise (I sure as hell hope it is, anyway). I’m 36-years-old, so I think it’s a bit early to start shutting down.
So. make that “someday” today. Get off your ass and go for a walk. Eat less. Eat better. Just do it for yourself. You owe your future self some health.
Don’t just believe what people tell you. Especially don’t believe what advertisers tell you. Educate yourself. Honestly, most people are probably pretty genuine, but many aren’t, especially when you consider that corporations are considered “people” these days.
I got thinking about this today after reading an interesting couple articles about “Domestic” Kobe Beef (read it here) and how you can’t get Kobe Beef in the US, even though restaurants and online suppliers offer it to you all over the place. I’ve never ordered fake Kobe Beef, and I never really had any intention of doing so, but now I really never will.
Look at what motivates people or companies when they tell you things. What do they get out of the transaction they want you to make? What are they selling? What do they want from you?
People are disingenuous. Many of us are anyway, and I continue to learn that I, for one, really need to be smarter about what I take for face value. I think I’ve been extremely lucky in our 12 years of business–we have never been ripped off. Not once. And we work for new customers every week or few weeks as we finish jobs and move on to the next one. I have dealt with scumbags, of course, but nobody has ever really managed to pull one over on us (that I know of, anyway. *sigh*).
I’m thinking about this yet again in relation to the former friend of mine who stole from MisCon. It seems like every day we learn about things he has done over the past few years that never came to light, mostly because people didn’t want to disparage him or his reputation. I’m not going to go into detail, but he was fired from multiple jobs either for stealing or for Had we known about half of these things, we would have investigated MisCon’s fiances a hell of a lot sooner. This criminal wouldn’t have been able to get away with as much as he did.
More than anything, this makes me wonder what else he did to people. How far did it go? What could we have done to stop it? Who else is up to no good?
I’m not becoming jaded at all (at least I don’t think so), but I am becoming a lot more vigilant, even with good friends. No longer can I trust my instincts when it comes to things like this.