As a writer my work necessarily entails a great deal of research. I am always looking for breaking news and interesting stories but I sometimes wonder if I would be a lot happier if I didn’t. Every day my eyes are drawn to the latest scandal about some feature of modern life that is slowly killing off mankind and now I find that I am examining every aspect of my own life to see what harm I may be doing to myself.
Food stories are particularly problematic. Not only does every new day bring warnings about some food item or other having serious health implications, the advice proffered is so often contradictory. You should eat oily fish you should not eat oily fish, fat is killing you, it isn’t the fat it’s the sugar. You know the kind of thing. I find myself carefully considering every meal to see if I have included anything which could prove fatal but it seems that just about everything is dangerous except possibly oats and vegetables as long as they are organic, unmodified and raw.
Fitness is another concern. Am I merely overweight or could I be obese? Do I get enough exercise to survive another week or am I overdoing it sometimes and likely to give myself a heart attack? Could a stroke be just around the corner because I am not into marathon running and should I lay off sports like skiing in case I sustain a brain injury?
Of course my very existence is threatening not just my own health but the planet too. I don’t have carbon neutral footprint mainly because I heat my home and fly a lot. I fly because travel is simply my favourite thing to do but perhaps I should stop because I will get skin cancer or drown whilst white water rafting. I drive a car which pollutes the atmosphere and of course roads are very dangerous so I am always taking a major risk in leaving the house. I wear clothes, which means that I am contributing to the exploitation of workers in the third world, the production of dangerous chemicals and the depletion of the world’s resources.
I work at a computer everyday so I am too sedentary, my eyes are probably getting damaged and I am in danger of becoming anti-social. My mobile phone may give me cancer and I will probably find that my tablet is radioactive. I have never needed much sleep but I am supposed to sleep for at least 8 hours a night so I am really in trouble and I am probably getting the wrong kind of sleep anyway whatever that is.
Modern life is killing me and the more I consider the issue the more I realise that it is a miracle that I am still here. I should be dead and buried but I am not. The truth is that people are generally living longer and healthier lives. Sure we should be aware of the dangers and avoid excess but the greatest threat to our health is probably stress and worry over all those things that we allegedly shouldn’t be doing. Anyway life wouldn’t be worth living without the odd adventure and a few treats.
I must go now as I have a plane to catch which will deliver me to two weeks in that dangerous sun with loads of ice cream, yummy cakes, hours reading my tablet and perhaps the odd dangerous sport or two thrown in. If I don’t drown, die in a plane crash or have a heart attack I will have a party with all the trimmings to celebrate my survival. Oh! I can’t do that because helium resources are depleted so no balloons. Oh sod it!
Article by Sally Stacey