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there was a three-week span late last year when i thought i was about to die. like i was seriously fearful. suddenly i was in these kind of fugue states. some mornings they were so bad, when walking anthony to school i had these bouts of vertigo and started actually veering like i was about to fall. and through this, admittedly terrifying time, i did what most men do when confronted with scary health symptoms--not a damn thing.

i know this is commonish among men, and i don't know why other men act as they do, but i know why i make the choices i do, however irrational and short-sighted they may be. i have this odd sense that by going to a doctor, i would be giving this 'thing' that is happening merit, you know, a voice. by acknowledging it through a scheduled trip to the doctor, i would bring it from the ether to reality. well, that and i hate doctor's offices and hospitals. but with all the extra time i had not going to the doctor AND not being very productive because i was in this perpetual mental fog i studied my situation. what had changed? when did it start? is it getting worse? and i made the same discovery i've made each and every year for the last half decade.

my years tend to have a repeating cadence to them. in the summer i'm super-active and i get wonderfully lean and my mind is hyper-engaged in all i do. in the winter i eat more, weigh more, sleep more and inevitably through this slide, complain and whine more, and essentially assume the personality of an angsty teenage girl. the moment it starts getting dark at five and gets too cold for my home-made tank tops the fall begins (literally and figuratively), making progress in this time of year as challenging as building sand castles with bone-dry sand.

marty mocks me for my annual emotional slip and slide. she says it's our bodies natural hibernal need and it's perfectly normal and i should just accept it and stop trying to make my unrealistic castles with dry-ass sand. it is worth noting that she will be telling me this while eating a bowl of ice cream or fistful of chips. it is clear she not only accepts the seasonal shifts but actually celebrates them for what they are--a pre-punched ticket to put on seven pounds. let it be known this one of the core ingredients to marty's secret sauce of life. problem is my emotional state, which i would deem unaviodable, is more like, as confessed, a twelve-year-old girl than a 49-year-old man. as you'd guess, it doesn't wear well.

something that deepens my funk is a belief that all this moving around everyone has done in the last few hundred years has put folks in parts of the world they are not meant to be in. i have a theory that your complexion plays a role in this. this belief falls squarely in troy-tistic land, but i think the bodies of a dark-complected person and a super-fair redhead have different needs from the sun. you can argue with me all you want, but your points will stick just as much as that dry sand is adhering to the walls of the turret i'm trying to build on the corner of my sand castle.

but back to my dying problem. a few years back, maybe as many as five, i did some internet research on this phenomenon and in time was pointed to something people called the sunshine vitamin, D3. they talked about how once it gets cold and we start covering up, we stop receiving vital nutrients from the sun. and once our body's stocked supplies of D3 wound down, we would start seeing the effects of this deficiency in a lack of vigor, zest, and focus. so i immediately, and by immediately i mean i pushed my chair from my desk and went to the pharmacy at that moment, bought a case of Vitamin D3, a bottle of orange juice and took five pills in the parking lot like a tweaking addict. for me, it made a change.

but it seems it is a lesson i need to re-learn every year. i've thought on that some and wonder why i've been so slow to figure it out. i'm usually much better at wrapping systems around things that can help me get more out of my days. my defense in this case is the effects of the vitamin are not immediate. you just slowly get better over time and before you know it, you forget what a hot mess you were ten days prior. it's sort of like allergy medicine. you get knocked out and start taking the drugs and in a few days you start feeling better. but it's long enough that you don't really know if it is the drug or the environment that changed (pollen washed away) so at your core, you're a bit skeptical about it all. or maybe it is as i age the effects of this nutrient deprivation are getting amplified and i can't shoulder it like i could when younger. don't know.

the most affirming thing that happened to me in 2017 took place at marty's holiday-work party. i was talking to one of the spouses (spouses at work parties need to look out for one another, especially when your spouse is a high school teacher). our conversation in time wended to occupation and she said she was the vitamin-person at whole foods. always looking for insight in this field, i kinda lit up. i asked her what is the one vitamin people should be taking but aren't. with little pause, she said, "well, this time of year way more people should be taking D3." you should have seen the elation this brought to my face. i near hugged her and danced in place at this news. and as with most people who unexpectedly get caught in conversation with me, she looked utterly confused.

this year it was so bad, AND i'm tired of having to re-learn this every year that i have added a reminder in my calendar that the first day i have to wear a long sleeve shirt is the same day i will start taking 6k IUs of Vitamin D, aka the sunshine vitamin. see, all this vitamin D coursing through my body is making me smarter already!!!




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