Comes A Time
by Jake Block
You know, I really like beef in most of its forms. Steak, burgers, goulash, on pizza, ribs, brisket, kabobs, tips, you name it. I never met a bull I didn’t like, grilled, fried or in a casserole. Now, there are some side effects and consequences for eating too much beef, from high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and even some cancers. In India, it can be a dangerous act, as there are “cow vigilantes” who believe that killing a cow is tantamount to murder. In fact, recently, popular preacher Sadhvi Saraswati suggested that those who consumed beef should be hanged in public.
Another Hindu bovine activist, Chetan Sharma said, “Cow is also the reason for Global warming. When she is slaughtered, something called EPW (Emotional Pain Waves) is released, which is directly responsible for global warming.” OK.
Meat is good and tastes great, and it’s a source of iron that is essential to the diet of most people. Iron builds blood. Iron can help to eliminate fatigue, it can boost immunity, it can treat anemia, it can improve concentration and even help you sleep. The good and the bad. They have to be taken in context and in total to decide the truth for oneself. I could eat red meat every day, and for a number of years I did.
Comes a time when you might have to reconsider the things you love and that hold importance in your life. My love of red meat still is with me, but health concerns have forced me to modify my consumption. Turns out that I developed a condition that red meat and the iron therein causes complications and a worsening of the effects. The only thing I could do was modify my behaviors to make the best of the situation. I found that by drastically decreasing my intake of red meat and the iron that it contains, I could mitigate the impact of the condition and, with controlled indulgence, I could still enjoy the taste of beef once in a while. Meanwhile, I can replace red meat with chicken, turkey, pork or fish, none of which contribute to my condition.
Most people never come to the realization that quite often, most of life’s problems, whether they be health related or in the realms of emotion and interpersonal relationships can be handled in much the same way. Anton LaVey once wrote, “The rule of Satanism is: if it works for you, great. When it stops working for you, when you’ve painted yourself into a corner and the only way out is to say, ‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I wish we could compromise somehow’, then do it.”
It works for the dilemma of indulgence over compulsion, need over want, and even good over evil. If what you are doing works, ok. If not, find a way to either make it work for you or drop it. It’s not rocket science, brain surgery, or even magic… just good, common sense life management.
Failure to react to people or things, even if at one time essential to our lives, but that have since turned into a liability is neglecting a detriment to our emotional or physical health, and should be dealt with quickly and decisively. Many people have a reluctance to do that, based on a sense of guilt and loss, that if they had done A, B, or C, the situation would never have turned against them. But this assumes a level of control that isn’t readily accessible, especially when there is a human component to the situation at hand. We have to remember that while we can influence, we can seldom control the actions of another.
Coming up onto my 70th year, I can tell you that I have modified the hell out of my life over the past decades. Dietary changes, lifestyle changes, business changes, love changes and even changes in personal beliefs are just a part of individual growth that we all must suffer through, if we are fortunate enough to survive them.
The nature of associations with people change, even if you have known them for years, and at one time took great pleasure in your association with them. The old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt,” has meaning in some of your oldest “friends” who, because of their longevity and their close associations, forget that even with friends, there are boundaries and there are conditions that must not be disrespected. Those who do respect your boundaries and conditions can be life long friends and associates and enhance the quality of your life as an equal partner in the relationship. But there will always be those who, for some reason, seem to demand your friendship and loyalty while paying lip service to friendship and respect when it comes to their commitments to you.
We’ve all heard about, of have actually been people who have stayed within the restrictions of a loveless marriage “for the sake of the kids,” and who, for decades shared a sexless and emotionally limited existence until their children were grown and had lives of their own. Everyone is surprised. No one had any idea that there had been problems. To the couple, from their perspective, they just can’t believe that the ordeal is finally, blessedly over. The couple stayed together for the sake of their kids, but at what price to their own physical and emotional health? Would it have been better to break up earlier and simply assist with the separation of parents by telling their kids the truth, and then finding ways to cope, just as millions of other parents do?
It’s a far from rare scenario. And indeed, a lot of it is culturally dictated, in that we are brought up to believe that one’s interpersonal commitments are sacrosanct. This is especially true in the realms of marriage and family, but there is a definite spillover into the world of business and politics as well. It over-values the contractual nature of our dealings with others, and assumes that all parties to whatever agreements we make will honor those agreements equally and faithfully.
But there are times when our faithfulness might not be reciprocated, or when we no longer have a meeting of minds on what we want and need in a partner… sometimes, for reasons we may never fully define, things just don’t work out. You then owe it to yourself and others involved directly in your life situation to modify your associations and or behaviors and move on to something and/or someone new that can replace your currently defective relationships and help you to return to a forward momentum that will allow growth and satisfaction, rather than the dissatisfaction, stagnation and decay of a relationship gone wrong.
Way back in 1965, the Lovin’ Spoonful’s song, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind, gave some sage advice that I recognized, even at sixteen. It was that time in youth where everything and nothing at all made sense on one level or another, and as a kid, you were just trying to make life work, without really yet understanding what life actually was. So when John Sebastian sang his lyrics, they rattled around in my mind for a few moments and, magically, some things came together.
“Did you ever have to make up your mind?
And pick up on one and leave the other behind?
It’s not often easy and not often kind.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
Did you ever have to finally decide?
And say yes to one and let the other one ride?
There’s so many changes and tears you must hide.
Did you ever have to finally decide?”
Over the years, through many tears and hard times, with all the compromises and set asides that life demands, we sometimes forget that it’s often just as simple as that. Make up your mind, decide what you want and make the changes in your life that you need to move on and be happy. Sure, someone is going to be disappointed, and someone is going to lose. That’s the nature of the game, but there comes a time when you have no other choice than to play it, and trust that you’ve made the right choices for YOU.
“Move on. It’s just a chapter in the past, but don’t close the book just turn the page.”
― Brooklyn Copeland