Living a healthy lifestyle at the U

After I moved into my new apartment a few blocks from campus, I noticed I live surprisingly close to an establishment where I can give blood for money, which has equally close proximity to two liquor stores. Such a convenient location only too obviously suggests a lifestyle change I could pursue in the coming year. Is this an idea I should plant in the minds of impressionable freshmen? Of course not. Besides, I would never convert to a lifestyle of desperate excess. It’s just not like me.
In fact, I have been on a health binge of late. A healthy lifestyle, it seems, is a trademark of someone who “has it together.” Last year, I ate awful, greasy dorm food, almost never worked out, slept irregularly, and partied too much. Now that I am no longer a freshman, none of this has to happen.
Someone who has it together would never let any of that happen. And, of course, I want to get it together. Getting it together and becoming a well-rounded, healthy, happy person can be accomplished in as little as a week:
Day 1: Cook a meal for yourself — any meal, as long as it does not include American cheese. Never mind that you like American cheese, and really don’t know how to cook anything anyway. A peanut butter sandwich might do, but you ate that yesterday after much confusion over what to do with your kitchen full of cooking appliances. You hear that healthy people eat pasta with lots of vegetables, which sounds tasty but would take an entire day to make. What an idea! You would have an excuse to skip classes. Scratch that thought and go buy a microwaveable pasta dinner.
Day 2: In the midst of actually missing dorm food for its convenience — which you never believed would have happened — remember that if you lived in the dorm, the recreation center would be only a short jog away. But you don’t remember if you actually went to the recreation center while living in the dorm. Now you want to work out — you have to — but you live about two miles away, which is still a short jog for people who have it together. Unfortunately, on the first day you resolve to get up early and work out, you get up late. You appear healthy and “with-it” when you arrive in class with track pants and a t-shirt on, but wonder if there’s a reason why you stopped wearing that outfit after high school. Also, you are late.
Day 3: A magazine article confidently states that a man needs only six hours of sleep — no more, no less — for “optimum peak performance,” whatever that means. Since you would like to feel as if you are at both optimum and peak performance, you go to bed at midnight and wake up at 6:00 a.m., swearing madly at your alarm clock. People who have it together always eat breakfast, of course, but at 6:00 a.m., you only want to eat something after violently killing it. Eating breakfast meat, however, is neither healthy nor fashionable. Eat peanut butter instead.
Day 4: Another attempt at cooking is necessary, as you have run out of frozen food. What will you do? A friend who seems to have it together buys bags of beans and makes stew with them, but that means he is making bean stew, which probably does not taste good. You are hungry, so forget about the cooking and just eat random ingredients you can find in the refrigerator. Unsatisfied, you buy a can of Pringles. Just remember the rate at which you are eating Pringles will induce a heart attack by age 35. On that thought, Day 4 is also Low Self-Esteem Day. Make a list called Emotionally Distressing Factors In My Life That Contribute To My Self-imposed Unorthodox Appearance. Give up when you run out of paper. So much for proactive self-motivation; drink four cups of coffee to stay awake.
Addictive personality? Pshaw.
Day 5: Cooking is just not working, so go to the grocery store and display your healthy, with-it credentials by purchasing cans of health food and Balance Bars. Someone you know happily lives off this stuff, but then again, he lives in California. Notice that all the energy-maximizing, potential-fulfilling concoctions you can make with cans of health food are all inevitably supposed to taste like chocolate shakes, so an unsatisfying brown mush results. Correspondingly, Balance Bars induce indigestion but do not actually make you feel more energetic.
Day 6: Your favorite coffee barista, ranting ideologue he is, scoffs at expensive health food and identifies it is a sign of pointless cultural decadence. He is right, but espresso drinks are a sign of cultural decadence, too. Also, eating health food and drinking espresso looks much better than eating grease and selling blood to buy liquor. You are much more likely to do the former than the latter. Doesn’t having it together feel good?
Noah Dvorak welcomes comments at [email protected] Send letters to the editor to [email protected]