Just In Case You Thought You Were Immortal, You’re Not

06 Dec Just In Case You Thought You Were Immortal, You’re Not

I started writing this post stating the definition of mortal. But it was so absurd that I scratched what I had written and started over.

Other than saying what mortal means, the end of the definition said, “not immortal,” well, no sh*t.

On that fine note, Happy Friday.

Being Mortal by Atul Gwande was published several years back. Gwande is a practicing surgeon who addresses not only the limitations of his profession but also the quality of life as we age in this book. Being Mortal is a memoir of sorts, and also bit of a documentary of nursing homes, hospitals, and modern medicine, all written regarding the care of the elderly, especially toward the end of life.

When I first saw this book after it was released (2013 or 14) I wasn’t jumping to be the first to read it. The title alone was enough for me to think, yeah, maybe another time. I don’t have anxiety over death or aging, but it really didn’t appeal to me. I’ve seen this book here and there since then, but just last week I came upon a used copy, so I bought it. In part because I just finished participating in #nonfictionnovember and have steadily been reading more non- fiction this year. The other reason is that this is an area we are all going to face with our loved ones and with ourselves. I think Gwande is insightful, intelligent, and has a way with words. If I’m going to read anything on this subject matter, it better be interesting and well written. I don’t mean to make a statement like the “not immortal” definition that leaves you staring at this blog muttering, “no sh*t” under your breath (because who says, “hey, I’d love to read a poorly written book). I simply think I’m more willing or my patience level is higher when it comes to fiction. If I’m reading non-fiction and it’s about the end of life-cut to the damn chase, don’t speak above me, but also don’t write pedantically.

That’s not asking too much, right?

Next on my Friday agenda is dessert.

I adore pumpkin pie, just so you know.

FYI: It is crust less. If you are one to want a crust with your pumpkin pie, there are several keto crust recipes on Google. Pick one, prepare it per directions, then make this recipe and pour it inside.

The cool thing about this recipe is that it’s on the paper label every can of pumpkin purée. Also, if you buy the store brand, the purée is around seventy cents, so it’s cheap too. One can (I think 14 oz or so) per pie plate is needed.

To make this low carb, simply sub out the sugar for stevia (or whatever granulated sugar substitute you prefer) and also sub out the sweetened condensed milk for heavy whipping cream. Use the same measurements for the stevia and heavy whipping cream that the can says for the sugar and sweetened condensed milk. Every other ingredient is exactly the same. I let it cool for awhile if time allows. Like regular pumpkin pie, it firms as it cools.

Moving on.

Since I’m not officially off work yet, is it inappropriate to discuss wine? Although it is probably more appropriate to discuss it rather than drink it, so there’s that.

Good old Jam Jar. My go-to.

Not a whole lot to say, other than it’s a favorite. Kind of the comfy-but-cute-pants of wine. If you are doubting this, just look at the cute twist-off cap.

This is a sweet Shiraz from South Africa. Jam Jar also makes a sweet white (I think the white is too sweet and in general I prefer red) if you prefer white or would like to try something new. The white also has a cute cap (but in blue), so wear cute comfy pants if you are drinking one too.

Cheers 🍷🍷

“Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death but a good life to the very end.“ —Atul Gwande

“In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all of its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. Unlike your experiencing self—which is absorbed in the moment—your remembering self is attempting to recognize not only the peaks of joy and valleys of misery but also how the story works out as a whole. That is profoundly affected by how things ultimately turn out. Why would a football fan let a few flubbed minutes at the end of the game ruin three hours of bliss? Because a football game is a story. And in stories, endings matter. Yet we also recognize that the experiencing self should not be ignored. The peak and the ending are not the only things that count. In favoring the moment of intense joy over steady happiness, the remembering self is hardly always wise. “An inconsistency is built into the design of our minds,” Kahneman observes. “We have strong preferences about the duration of our experiences of pain and pleasure. We want pain to be brief and pleasure to last. But our memory … has evolved to represent the most intense moment of an episode of pain or pleasure (the peak) and the feelings when the episode was at its end. A memory that neglects duration will not serve our preference for long pleasure and short pains.” When our time is limited and we are uncertain about how best to serve our priorities, we are forced to deal with the fact that both the experiencing self and the remembering self matter. We do not want to endure long pain and short pleasure. Yet certain pleasures can make enduring suffering worthwhile. The peaks are important, and so is the ending.”—Atul Gwande

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