Monday, December 20, 2010

Doing What We Want

Jeremy is an old soul in a young man's body, clad as he often is in a cardigan, listening to Fleetwood Mac, a great band who broke up long before he was born. He actually eschews Facebook in favor of face to face friends.

I visit Parco often just to engage the bearded twenty-something in conversation, to feel better and more hopeful about the future of our youth. I quiz him sometimes, like the other day.

"So," I said as I sidled up for my long-shot double espresso, "do you do everything your doctor says?"

He paused in the midst of the pour. "Well," he said, "yeah..." He shrugged then. "Well, except for the smoking."

I doubled over and danced up and down. Thank goodness the little cafe was empty.

"That's amazing," I said, "hilarious."

It turns out for all the great wisdom Jeremy has offered up, I had never given him a star. I was glad. This was a perfect moment.

The truth is, no one does much they don't want to do, even when it comes to potentially helping their own health. It is hard to change habits, especially habits we have in spite of what common sentiment might say, in spite of what even "statistics" tell us might shave years off our lives. The truth, which Jeremy knows well, is that no one, not even one's trusted doctor, knows very much for sure. Smoking gives some people lung cancer, while others get off scot free. We have to debate these decisions for ourselves, weigh what matters to us in the moment with potential unproveable longterm affects.

Gold star to Jeremy for being a free thinker, for making a choice for himself that others might judge harshly. He has that right. 

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