Archive for the ‘Fresh Air’ Category

Prohibition Revisited

June 20, 2011

I just finished listening to a FreshAir podcast from a couple of weeks ago. The first part was an interview with the author of a book about prohibition and what motivated it at the time, and motivated its repeal over a decade later. Toward the end of the story, the author Daniel Okrent made a rather striking comment. He suggests that “we don’t fight to keep things the way they are; we fight to change them”.

That made me stop and write a note to myself, because I think his statement needs to be qualified. We fight to change things when it will impact others. When the change involves something that is going to make a difference in our own lives, we hunker down and refuse to budge.

So my campaign to combat “status quo addiction” needs to frame the problem in terms people can more easily relate with. Is it “status quoism”, a human failing like alcoholism? Is someone who refuses to change a “status quoic”? These questions got me to think about my challenge in a different way, as a conflict between vices and virtues, which led me to Wikipedia and an exploration of those terms, which finished at Buddhism.

Why write about Prohibition now, nearly 90 years after it was made an amendment to our Constitution? Well, I personally think a lot of what we all feel is wrong with our world, our country, our community (pick one) is that we think we are okay and other people are wrong in some way. We think they should change, which makes our current position/behavior/habit/routine acceptable.

But I’m not going to kid myself anymore. I weigh a bit over 260 pounds, twenty pounds less than my worst a couple of years ago, but not as good as one year ago, when I got down below 250 for a couple of weeks. I WANT to get down to 200 and stay there for the rest of my life, but that means I’ll need to change something. I’ve been exercising more (twice a day for 30 minutes) but eating about the same. I drink more water (5 big glasses) but still drink about the same amount of diet soda. The scale stays about the same every morning, because I’m not really changing anything significant in my life.

I just need to figure out how to think about what I suffer from as “status quoism”, in the parts of my life where I can’t change for the better. I suppose it starts with admitting I have a problem. And since I’m the one writing this blog, I guess I control who knows. I’m the one who clicks the Publish button. Maybe I need to start talking to other people who suffer from the same problem and create a “Status Quoics Anonymous” where other people who want to change their lives come together to learn from each other. Bet I could learn from AA if I were a drinker. Maybe I should go there to leverage their approach. It couldn’t hurt.

I want to fight to change the way things are. I think too many of us are overwhelmed by the pace of our lives and think we need to cut back. So I’m testing a different approach, doing more than I ever did but keeping track of it all. I am capturing data about myself and what I do, and some if it is influencing my daily habits and routines.

Someday, I hope to have something to offer others. But I need to work it out for myself first. If it doesn’t work for me, what hope do I have convincing anyone else it will work. Maybe when I’m done, we’ll look back on it as repeal of the prohibition on change that made things the way they are these days.

That’s all for now. Gotta get back to work. Can’t stand still.