Take advantage of what you have. Learn from what you don’t have.

It’s very easy to get complacent. To stay comfortable. For most people, that’s what life is.

Wake up

Work

Home

Sleep

Take a day or two off every week. Hang out with your family for a little bit before or after work. Hang out with your friends after that. Do some hobbies, etc. Go to Church when you have time. You eat the same food. Watch the same type of shows. Look at the same people’s social media posts. Then you do it all over again the next day or the next week. Over and over again. We complain about being in a rut or how life is a hamster wheel. You know how easy it is to get off the hamster wheel? Very easy. If you want to. It takes time, it takes discipline, but the decision to get off the wheel is very easy. Either stay on or get off and do something different.

I recently started listening to Andy Frisella’s podcasts and learned about a program that he created and strongly promotes, #75hard. The idea is pretty straight forward, 75 days, clean diet of your choice, two 45-minute workouts per day (1 has to be outside), 1 gallon of water per day, read 10 pages of a non-fiction, self help/business book per day, and take a daily progress picture. If you miss any one of those items, you start back on day 1. There’s no doubt the program is challenging, from what I hear. I have made a commitment to move forward to do the program. During the 75 days, the diet that I decided to follow will meet all the same requirements that Jack has for his diet. No Dairy. No Eggs. No Nuts. No Beef. As I mentioned in a previous post, Jack inadvertently had some bacon and luckily didn’t have a reaction! (When a Mistake Leads you to Hope) So I’ve got that going for me. The other’s will be tough, there’s no doubt about it. But I have to take advantage of what I can have, and hopefully will allow me to realize what I have taken for granted for these years.

The challenge is very simple. If you mess up, you start over. If Jack, or anyone with food allergies, messes up, it’s not always that simple of a “start over.” I’ve never had to personally worry about a life-threatening mistake from eating the wrong thing. Anything and everything can always be put in perspective. I have to choose to discipline myself on this diet. Jack does this diet for survival. I only bring that up to emphasize to take advantage of whatever you have and don’t take anything for granted. It’s easy to take things for granted when it’s something you do every day. Drink a glass of milk, eat a piece of candy, have trail mix, whatever it is, you don’t realize it until you take it away.  I am not bringing it up out of guilt, but just to reflect on even the little things we take for granted every day. I hope to learn how about the day to day realization that every single bite matters. I hope to learn how it feels to have to ask a server if a meal is prepared safely. I will be honest, I am not going to ask a restaurant or kitchen to actually prep and cook in a way to avoid cross contamination for me. I will make sure that it follows Jack’s diet. I will ask that it avoids everything he cannot have and if those standards cannot be met, then I won’t eat it. My point is that I want to know what it’s like to have to ask a server to do something special for my needs so that when Jack gets older I understand better what he’s going through.

I really hope to experience more empathy, not sympathy, to understand the day to day with food allergies. We never want to make it seem like a burden or a problem, it’s just the scenario that God has given us and to Jack. It’s just a different lifestyle to learn. A different way to appreciate everything that we do have. A way to take advantage of what we all have. While we are still learning, and Jack is still learning, we know that even this scenario will lead to an advantage in some way.

Mary has been amazing with different recipes and is always coming up with something different for Jack to try. I’ve been stuck in a rut and have been complacent in giving him the same thing every time. Forcing myself to follow his guidelines and needs will make me learn more about how to take care of his needs. I was also getting complacent saying “at least he’s growing up with this and won’t know what he’s missing.” While that’s true, that’s been my excuse to settle at his expense. Sure he might not ever know what a “normal” chocolate chip cookie is. Sure he might not know what a McDonald’s cheeseburger tastes like. However he will know what it’s like to watch his friends enjoy those things. He will know what it’s like to have to skip out on those things or have to make sure that he has a safe alternative if he wants to enjoy time with his friends. Again, this isn’t a sympathy challenge. I don’t really know how to say it, but I feel sorry that he has this challenge, but I don’t feel sorry for him because I know he will be able to figure it out. He’s going to learn things about himself and how to handle situations that other people, including myself, will never think about. What most people take as a setback, he will have an opportunity to take advantage of and learn from it. That’s why I want to learn and gain empathy from this. I want to be able to help guide him along the way.

hamster wheel