I Proved Her Wrong

Were you ever told that you did not have what it takes to succeed at school, or perhaps at a sport, or  playing a musical instrument? 
If you were in school in the 1950s and 60s, it was not uncommon to hear students receiving this sort of negative communication. There was no concern with upsetting a student’s self-esteem by criticizing their performance. Growing up in Canada I had to contend with ongoing criticism of my school performance.
In the Province of Ontario high school consisted of 13 grades––if you wanted to attend university. If you only completed grade 12, it was considered to be Junior Matriculation that allowed you to attend trade schools or to try your luck on the job market. The school that I attended was academically, a very tough school. Teachers were strict, and they did not put up with the antics that go on in the schools today. If you misbehaved, detentions were in order, and I certainly had my share. If you did not do your homework, there was hell to pay. I can remember a math teacher––Mr. Gates––who had me up in front of the class on a number of occasions, writing out my mathematical solutions on the blackboard in front of the class; merely because my homework was incomplete.
While I was a good student in primary school, in high school, I was challenged. As a teenager, my mind was occupied with girls and playing pool. I suppose my hormones were running rampant at the time. When I failed grade 12, my parents decided to take me to a psychologist to be assessed as to my abilities.
I can still remember her to this day. She put me through two days of testing to which was to determine my IQ and where my skills lay. I recall that I did not take the whole thing seriously. After the two days, my parents and I sat down to learn the results. The psychologist stated that based on the tests, I was not likely to pass grade 12 on the second try and even if I did, grade 13 would be a stretch. She said university was out of the question. My father immediately wanted me to sign up for a trade school, while my mother felt I could do much better; she had faith in me.
The outcome was that I passed grade 12 on the second try. I also managed to get a 61% average in grade 13 despite taking the most difficult subjects for which I garnered ten credits. I just managed to get accepted into university where I took a Bachelor of Science course majoring in zoology. With each year, my grades continued to rise. By my third year, I had a B average. I then went to chiropractic college that was a four-year course, and I got on the Dean’s list with an A average.
Looking back, I believe that something that psychologist said spurred me to take action. In today’s world that psychologist might not have a job because it seems we want to wrap students in cotton wool. We are to encourage everyone even if they are failing. I believe that there is a balance that falls between the two extremes.
I did prove that psychologist wrong and what I learned is, to never give up. If you have a vision or a goal do not give up on it whether you are 25 or 65. We can manifest greatness with both commitment and hard work.

Hypocrisy Is Rife In Our Society

Hypocrisy Is Rife In Our Society

If you were around in the 40s, 50s or 60s you would remember that people tended to say what they meant and meant what they said; it was a different world. Today, so many, especially political leaders, live by the motto, “Do as I say, not as I do”. 

Hypocrisy, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is,  “The behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do”. Often, the people who are affected most by hypocrisy are those in the older age group. Let’s look at a few of these.

Global Warming/Climate Change

The issue here is not whether you are a believer or a sceptic; it is about our leaders insisting that we need higher carbon taxes as an incentive to cut back on emissions. They are very disingenuous when they call carbon dioxide a pollutant. Didn’t they ever study basic biology and the process of photosynthesis?

While leaders are telling us we need to sacrifice for the sake of the planet, they continue to emit emissions at an alarming rate. If they really believed what they tell us—that the earth is facing a calamity—they would greatly reduce their energy consumption

Al Gore, the global warming guru, continues to live in a 10,000 square foot house which uses 10 times the energy of the average American household. He also owns four other houses. US President, Barack Obama, takes an inordinate amount of holidays on his Airforce One burning fuel. His wife takes separate holidays on another 747. 

We have world leaders, including the Australian Prime Minister, who fly around to various meetings. Have they not heard of technology such as Skype and other forms of communication?  If they really believe that the planet is under great threat they might even consider not using toilet paper. Even recycled paper uses energy and releases carbon dioxide. 

While they are at it, perhaps the politicians should restrict some of the air that they exhale. They would reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and hot air.

Cutting Senior Entitlements

We should commend governments when they are fiscally responsible by keeping budgets under control. Recently, both the Australian federal and state governments announced cuts to benefits for seniors, citing budgetary difficulties. Once again pensioners have to make do with less. 

At the same time, the West Australian government is building a new football stadium estimated to blow out to $1.5 billion! The government—we taxpayers—have to bear the brunt of this cost.

They tell us about how dire the budget situation is, yet they have no qualms about spending this huge sum of money. They speak with a forked-tongue. I suppose it’s what we have come to expect from our politicians.

Health Hypocrisy

The medical profession and politicians have a habit of being very paternalistic when it comes to what we “should do” with respect to our health. A great example is the anti-smoking campaign. Despite the fact that only 17% of Australians now smoke, there is still a concerted effort to cut its usage by high taxation, restriction of sales or outright attempts to ban the product. The Australian government now receives $4 billion in tax revenue while  the health costs are only $1 billion.

Compare this to alcohol use and abuse. The cost to the community is horrendous; assaults and murders, domestic violence, health problems––including dementia; death and maiming on the roads, and man-hours lost in the workplace. Where is the outrage of the medical and political community? Why are we not taxing alcohol to a huge degree?

On the contrary, we are told that alcohol is good for us. How many times do we hear about the benefits of drinking red wine. What they don’t tell you is that your risk of cancer increases with alcohol consumption, especially bowel, breast and prostate cancer. It also turns out that politicians and doctors love their drink––and drugs. Studies have shown that doctors have 2-3 times the rate of suicide than the general population due to alcohol and drug abuse.

Another area that we are lectured on is obesity. In places such as New York State, an attempt was even made to ban certain soda drinks, in the name of obesity. If we are honest about it, we should ban this very computer that I am typing on. You can show a casual relationship between the introduction of the personal computer––with its peripherals––and the increase in obesity rates. It is not about the simplistic notion of junk food in our society. It is people taking responsibility with respect to what they put into their bodies and the energy they use to burn up calories.

These are just a few examples where our leader’s actions don’t match their words.

Overcoming A Ticking “Time Bomb”

What do you think is the fastest growing cause of death in the western world? If you said cancer or heart disease, you are wrong.

We have a major health and cost problem looming in Australia as in many countries as the population ages. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease is now occurring in record numbers and will continue to escalate unless we find a “cure” or we put into place strategies to prevent or limit its reach. For me, it is particularly personal as my mother suffered with Alzheimer’s and I know the impact of this illness.
Today, Alzheimer’s ranks 5th as the cause of death in Australia and it is estimated that by 2050—just 36 years away—Alzheimer’s will strike one in 85 people. Forty-three percent of those afflicted will need nursing home care. The costs to society will be staggering if the trend continues.
So that is the bad news; now the good news—we are able to do something about it. We’ve all heard the term body-mind connection. That can hold the secret to preventing dementia. Looking after either improves your chances of staving off Alzheimer’s; looking after both greatly improves the odds. Numerous studies are proving this to be true.
Whether you are “all mind, never body” or “all body, never mind”, the science of Neuroplasticity—stimulation of new neural connections—shows that even as we age, we need to keep learning and be physically active.
Some mental strategies that you can use are: writing, studying music, learning a language or using brain games—many of which are on the internet. To be more effective, these need to be new and different from what you have traditionally been doing.
Physically—assuming you have no disability—you may benefit from any of the following: swimming, cycling, yoga, pilates, jogging or light weights.
The activities that I have listed are not the only things that you can do. Be creative and come up with your own. As the musician and poet, Benny Bellamacina stated, “You are only limited by your own imagination.”
Just do it!