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THE NECESSITY OF A LITTLE SELFISHNESS ON VALENTINE'S DAY (AND EVERY DAY, IN FACT).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, SPARKIES!

This year on this holiday of love, I've decided to go against the trend. I'm putting myself first! I'm going to be a little selfish, and it's long overdue. Before you judge me, let me explain, in my usual rambling way, of course....

This is the day of pink and red, of candy and hearts. The "hearts" are what have always seemed a little odd to me. What most of us think of when we picture a heart looks something like this: [mistaken for HTML, so couldn't post. Oh well. You know what it looks like.], but what about the actual part of our anatomy which without its healthy functioning none of us would survive? Unless I'm missing something, we don't celebrate other days with the symbol of an organ that, in reality, looks nothing like the real one. --Happy President's Day! "I think of you with all my brain"; now picture a die. It's Flag Day! "Live it like your liver"; imagining a sieve? --Even dice and sieves are real things. The heart symbol is just made up, but we've seen it everywhere for so long that we know what it represents. So, I've found myself thinking about my heart in recent weeks when I've seen all of those dumb commercials. (I would be SO MAD if someone bought me that huge teddy bear I've seen plugged on TV! Space is expensive. It would just be in the way. What a waste of money! Buy me a plant. Help me start a vegetable garden. A rose bush would be great! I'd love some good quality dark chocolate with all those antioxidants. Jewelry is always a good choice (and unless it's a candy necklace from 7-11, it has no calories).--Just me opining again. Giant obnoxious teddy bears are NOT my thing. Obviously.)

All of these thoughts about my heart and heart health, in general, bouncing around in my brain lately have led me to fondly recall when Oprah (--LOVE her!) was discussing this topic with... (okay, vaguely recalling now... maybe said brain needs some dark chocolate) an expert (was it Dr. Oz? --Really, I tried to find this online so I could more accurately quote and report the details, but to no avail) showed her how her heart was doing, and her heart was found to be on the healthy side of the matter. She said (paraphrasing now) something to the effect of, "I love her!" (referring to her own heart). She went on to say that she wanted to "...take good care of her" (again, paraphrasing and referring to her heart). I remember feeling touched by this, but I just wasn't where she was in life at that point. Not that I was smoking like a chimney (or at all), living on bacon and foie gras and drinking like Hemmingway, my heart be darned (or needing to be later, like a sock). I was, however, "thriving" (or so I thought) on stress, habitually losing sleep, exercising only sporadically, usually just to lose weight, and rarely, if ever, stopping to smell the roses or much of anything appealing. I also was relentlessly pursuing my career and putting in all of the hours that that effort required. It was not a time when we were concerned about Trans Fats. I never paid attention to how much sodium was in anything I ate. I remember thinking that I'd like to care for my heart in the loving way that Oprah had expressed, but I knew that it wouldn't be my focus, at least for a few years.

Fast forward at least a decade. Quite a few people in my family have died from cancer. Maybe that should be my health-related focus. But then there are the stats: More people die from heart disease than from AIDS and all cancers combined (1). Hmm. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of risk. The good news is that there are things we can do to prevent AIDS (and we now have reasonably effective drugs to fight it) and, in general, the things you can do to help prevent cancer are the same things that help to prevent heart disease and make your brain healthier --and to prevent or reverse diabetes to boot! (2), including being happier (3). (Talk about multi-tasking! Woo Hoo!!!)

So, now I am in that place in my life where I am committing to nurturing my heart. Poor old girl. I really have put her through so much over the years. I'm sorry, dear heart. I'm in your corner (ventricle?) now. In the wisdom of the flight attendant instructions, in the event of an emergency, you must place your oxygen mask on yourself first (before you do so for your child or other traveling companion who is unable to do so). This is because you're no good to anyone else if you have passed out or are unconscious. I really think it's best, though, not to wait for an emergency to do this. So, when you're showing the people in your life how much you care for them by showering them with Valentines, don't forget to be selfish and take care of your heart. If you are bothered by the thought of being selfish, then give a healthy gift to your heart and let her (or him, as the case may be) know how much you appreciate her (or him).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Be sure to smell some roses.

[HTML] Thub-Dub.


(1) http://www.theheartfoundation.
org/heart-disease-facts/he
art-disease-statistics/

(2) http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH
/09/08/cookinglight.food.b
oost.mind/index.html

(3) http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ne
ws/magazine/happiness-stre
ss-heart-disease/
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JSTETSER 3/20/2013 6:42AM

    I'm focusing on today!
http://www.sparkpeople.co
m/mypage_public_journal_individ
ual.asp?blog_id=5293245

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ILIKETOZUMBA 2/15/2013 12:39AM

    Loved this blog. Thanks for spreading the spark so well and taking the opportunity to promote real-heart health! Nothing selfish about taking care of yourself and thus inspiring others to do likewise. :)

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HEALTHY156 2/14/2013 10:50PM

    emoticon

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ISAVEDME80 2/14/2013 6:35PM

    i agree on putting yourself first and also think valentines should be celebrated for loving ourselves, year round not just for a day of expecting someone else to do it, if we cant do it for ourselves then no one should be expected to either :)


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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 2/14/2013 2:25PM

    Thank you! Your reflection is much more appreciated than all of those pink/red hearts, flowers, and chocolates.

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_BABE_ 2/14/2013 2:12PM

    Definitely true! Take care of yourself so you can be there for the others in your life! emoticon

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JACKIE542 2/14/2013 11:52AM

    Great blog, I agree, we need to take care of ourselves. I too would rather have a plant than a teddy bear, something that will last. Have a great Valentine's Day. emoticon emoticon

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SWDESERTLOVER 2/14/2013 11:49AM

    Great blog!

emoticon

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DOVESEYES 2/14/2013 9:41AM

    emoticon

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SUSIEMT 2/14/2013 9:05AM

    I agree give me something that doesn't take up any room especially inside my body! Jewelry is always verrryyy nice. Have a good day!

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NEWMEN2013 2/14/2013 8:53AM

    This is one time when being selfish is not only appropriate but encouraged! so glad you have decided to take care of yourself, and I'm sure the many people that you love and that love you will be thankful that you have chosen to stay around for a little bit longer!
Happy Valentine's Day!
emoticon

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JLEMUS1 2/14/2013 8:25AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SJKENT1 2/14/2013 8:20AM

    interesting - oh my goodness... ladies buttocks? I'll have to check that out today.

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KELLIEBEAN 2/14/2013 8:17AM

    Well said! That will keep me thinking today!

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NELLJONES 2/14/2013 8:11AM

    You do have to put yourself first in order to be able to be of service to others. In an airplane they always tell you that in the event of the oxygen masks dropping, but sure to put your own on before assisting others. It's the only way to be sure you are conscious in order to do the helping. That concept works in other things as well.

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AMCLELLAN 2/14/2013 8:10AM

    emoticon

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ADARKARA 2/14/2013 8:04AM

    I had heard somewhere long ago that the symbol of the heart was actually based on the shape of ladies' buttocks. ;)

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NILLAPEPSI 2/14/2013 7:10AM

    emoticon blog!! Thub-dub. Happy emoticon Day!!

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LABRATIAM 2/14/2013 7:06AM

    emoticon

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