Hey! It’s been a minute! Or… rather, six months! April to November always finds me exceptionally busy, and this year was no exception. It’s mostly the extra garden time that summer asks of me, and I’m happy to provide. I also taught several classes, participated in a teaching fellowship on Open Pedagogy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, developed a new class with partners from other colleges as part of that fellowship, practiced daily yoga, cooked meals, cleaned house, unpacked groceries, and tried to manage all the daily tasks that are so challenging to my executive functioning…
Hmm. It almost sounds impressive when I write it all out here. But the felt experience of it was much different. I’m still trying to find my footing, during these strange pandemic days and my early retirement from the full-time job. So I suspect that the real reason I didn’t update this story for six months was because so much of my creative energy was going into trying to craft this new life that I’m in.
It’s still a bit surreal for me and feels a bit cut-off from my pre-shutdown life.
But here I am, six months later, with a bit of time opening up for me now, and a longing to write–and to write this story–cropping up in my heart.
So let’s get to it!
Kiki is in her freshman year of high school. In second semester, she takes a physiology class and learns about BMI. This is fascinating to her. Her BMI is 28.1, which is in the 94th percentile and indicates that she’s overweight. She doesn’t mind being overweight, and she enjoys how her body looks and feels, but she’s concerned about the health risks. Diabetes. Heart issues. Joint problems. Sleep apnea. This is a nightmare!
Not only that, but she’s aware that Ira and Case also have high BMIs, and the risks for middle-aged people are even scarier!
She decides to do something about it. Starting now.
“This fruit salad makes a great breakfast, right Ira?”
She’s not going to skip meals, because she doesn’t want to develop an eating disorder, and she knows that with her hyper-fixation on things, it could be easy to do. So she decides she’ll focus on eating healthy.
It’s easy, and delicious, to do, since Case is a lifelong vegetarian and an amazing chef. He adds organic walnuts and flax seed to his fruit salads, so there’s protein.
“It’s good,” Ira says. “I kinda liked that sugar habit we were getting into of pastries before class. Got my mind revved up for studying.”
“I don’t think we’re doing that anymore,” Kiki says. “We’ll have to find other ways to regulate our brain chemistry.”
Like what? She’s not sure, and she’s noticing that the sugar from the fruit feels good, but it’s not the same type of high. But maybe she’ll also be able to avoid that mid-morning crash.
OK. She’s going to have to learn about nutrition and neurochemistry, she realizes.
That evening, she’s deep into Nutrition and Functional Neurochemistry, which her physiology teacher leant her, while Ira and a classmate are reading poetry.
like the connecting
It’s not that the poetry reading makes it hard to concentrate, it’s that Kiki can hear Ira’s friend breathe, and he taps his foot in a non rhythmical non pattern which causes her, in her search for auditory patterns, to notice that the fridge is really loud. And also, non rhythmical.
“I needed a little peace and quiet,” she tells Case when she finds him, still in his work clothes, in the garden.
“Too much for you, eh?”
“Mind if I’m out here?” He asks.
“Not at all!” And she proceeds to tell him everything she’s learned so far about BMIs, and neurotransmitters, and nutrition, and how norepinephrine is formed from tyrosine, and serotonin is formed from tryptophan.
“How could I have lived for so many decades and not know that?” Case asks.
And indeed, I’m wondering that exact same question right now!