Saturday, February 11, 2012

What's your motivation?

I suppose being chased by a T-Rex would motivate anyone to exercise. It's amazing what fear does to people. Most folks have probably heard the term fight or fight, which was introduced by Walter Bradford Cannon in the 1930s. Wikipedia says, "In the human fight or flight responses in prehistoric times, fight was manifested in aggressive, combative behavior and flight was manifested by fleeing potentially threatening situations, such as being confronted by a predator." Okay, so most people realize we didn't exactly live with Tyrannosauruses chasing us, but the principle is the same.

Fear is an incredible motivation factor. For some, surviving a heart attack can bring about the desire to change one's lifestyle. For others, it might be the loss of a loved one. Think about it. If you have children, imagine what their lives would be if you were suddenly taken away. Chances are that's not a pleasant thought. However, for many of us, it has crossed our minds.

It was on Rick's mind this past week. I had a mammogram last Thursday and the very next day they called back saying they wanted to look at something closer. I wasn't scheduled to go back until the following Tuesday, which meant I had five entire days to wait ... and worry. It's incredible how the human mind works and all the crazy thoughts that pop into it. I was worried, on and off, but Rick was a wreck. I could totally sense it in him. Rick and I have been together almost 31 years. We know each other better than we know ourselves. What would he do without me? I usually just make some sarcastic comment about him dancing around the house for a month.

The thought of having cancer freaked me out, but mostly I was mad. I've spent the last year losing weight not just to be thin, but to get healthy and get my blood pressure back within normal range. After losing 68 pounds, I was finally in a normal BMI range and off HBP meds. It was hard work. It took motivation. So, when the cancer threat popped in my mind, it was hard not to be angry. But why? I really don't know. That's the weird part. Anyone can get cancer. Anyone can die of a heart attack. Anyone can get hit by a car. Life is unpredictable. We have no way of knowing what our fate is. So, it's really hard not to get that "why worry about anything" attitude.

So, why do we worry? Is it the fight or flight thing? What motivates us? I'm reminded of City Slickers where Curly tells Mitch the secret to life is "one thing", but he has to find it himself. It's different for everyone. You know what's silly? When I started thinking about having cancer, I actually thought, "Why worry about what I eat? Who cares how much I weigh? Why bother exercising everyday?" It was almost comical. I don't know. I don't really have a point to this blog post. I just keep thinking back to that silly quote that says, "Keep on keeping on." I suppose we all have our own reasons to stay motivated -- even when we don't know what they are.


  1. Yep. Been there with the mammogram thing. It is scary. I'm glad yours turned out all right. (I think I saw this on Facebook?)

    Sometimes we want to just run away from life when we're afraid, but we usually find the strength to face whatever it is.

    Relax now and enjoy the rest of the weeken. :)

  2. I sometimes think what a bomb it would be to hear a cancer diagnosis. You cannot prepare for any awful news, can you?

  3. Motivation is an interesting thing. I've had a couple friends die recently. Young, healthy women...that's my motivation for doing all I can do to stay healthy.