I was such a little tubby kid, so tubby in fact that my sister would opine that my breasts were bigger than hers. Combine that with a somewhat conservative Texas upbringing, and you have a lifetime of psychological, sexual and physical counseling ahead of you. Suffice it to say, I have funded several college funds for therapists' children.
But no matter how many personal trainers or counselors you have (yes, even you Madonna), leading a healthy life starts from within.
No matter how much you think the answers to your problems lie in money or a beautiful house or a boyfriend or in the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniels, you will always fall short of a solution. I should know. I haven't always been the healthiest person in the world. From eating Twinkies for breakfast in middle school to eating Twinkies for breakfast in college, it took me years to develop nutritious dietary habits. I have battled nicotine addiction for almost 10 years, finally quitting cold turkey two months ago, thanks to a renewed sense of purpose that only could spring from the depths of my own soul. I have wandered the bars late at night, confusing fleeting pleasure for happiness, only to realize the power and freedom that comes with being alone. And I have since discovered the fulfillment that comes with acknowledging your character flaws in order to incorporate another man's life into your own.
How did I do all this? How did I go from a sexually confused, depressed chunky kid to a fit, hitched and (for the most part) confident man?
I realized there are three things that lead to a healthy life. First, love yourself. To truly make significant changes in your life, you must take care of your mind, body and spirit, not out of obligation but out of adoration. Second, have compassion for others. The more negative you are outwardly, the more it reveals your inner negativity and the less love and compassion you will receive from others.
Finally, in the words of the famous mythologist Jospeh Campbell, "Follow your bliss." Listen to your mind and your body to guide you in life, and partake in those things that are harmonious to your spirit. If that means abandoning a secure 9-to-5 job to pursue a crazy dream like theater or comedy (raises hand), so be it. You only live once, so you may as well make the life you want to live.
-- Keith Ecker (check out his blog)
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