I Cannot But You Can

Forget “what if” because what if tomorrow you cannot? Forget “I cannot” because one day you really may not be able to. Forget sympathy and instead show empathy.

Sometimes it is important to be selfish and do things based solely on your own needs and your own health. I for one completely understand that and have had to back away from things I massively believe in because they made me mentally or physically ill. 

So none of what I am about to say is me trying to force a lifestyle or an approach onto you but instead it is written in the hopes that you will see the changes you can make and how making those changes can mean ever such a lot to somebody who is unable to do them themselves. 

Think holding open a door for somebody trying to keep their child under control whilst also having ten shopping bags wrapped around their hands but even bigger. Holding that door open gives you a buzz of doing something useful and kind for another human being and I hope the following will be able to give you that feeling too.

Give Blood

I cannot because I have a faulty gene that means my blood would likely be rejected by a healthy person needing it; making them a lot worse. With that faulty gene I also take betablockers that are on the ‘banned medicine’ list at Give Blood centres.

You can sign up for free and book an appointment online. If you are healthy and not on certain medications you can give blood to help save people’s lives and keep them going until suitable treatment is available. There are appointments in various locations at different times of day and I have heard there is normally a banging biscuit or bit of cake waiting for you at the other end. Scared of needles? The nurses are all well trained and super friendly meaning you will be relaxed and they will know the best spot to make it short and painfree.

Reduce Your Meat/Meat Based Intake

I cannot because after over a year of being vegetarian I was getting increasingly ill; many things in my body, including folic acid and iron, were pretty much the lowest my GP had ever seen let alone in a vegetarian. It turns out I am allergic to tree nuts (Brazil nuts are the worst), peanuts (though other legumes such as beans and peas make me a lot worse) and soya (goodbye meat replacements) and it reached the stage where a spoonful of garden peas left me sitting on the bathroom floor being ill for the following few hours.

You can make an effort to reduce your meat intake at least once or twice a week. For me I was always aware of the amount of food, time and field space that went into producing a joint of a beef and how that could be better used and divided among people (the “health” side or ‘those cute animals’ did not interest me). I am not asking you to go vegan but to instead consider your food choices more and think about what went into producing the items in front of you.

I can buy food with more awareness. I care about everybody in the world having food and it being sustainable so that does not mean a shift to organic this and free range that because, a chicken for instance, takes longer to produce, ‘better’ food and also more space but I can still choose between sustainable fish and just any old piece of fish. I can use more off-cuts of meat such as liver, kidney and hearts to make the most of those animals being reared and slaughtered and to try and limit the damage caused by the fact I must eat some meat to get nutrients that are only available in foods I am allergic to.

Do Any Exercise Freely

I cannot because the heart condition I mentioned earlier means my muscles and veins, aoerta etc stretch and get weaker over time as well as being more at risk of sprains, breaks and dislocation of the different bits behind the eye. I spent most of my childhood being the hated referee or rebelliously getting involved in volleyball and having to have physio as a result..

You can at least go out there and enjoy a jog, go for a kick about in the park with your mates or lift some dumbells in the comfort of your own home. You might hate having to exercise or do things to keep fit and healthy but when the only exercise you can currently do is walking and the odd star jump its really a downer because at that point what even is maintaining your weight let alone toning?

Be An Organ Doner

I cannot for much the same reasons as stated above. You probably would not even want to find a savage dog my leftover body when I die because it will all be stretched and containing dodgy gene (yes hello wrinkles I see you). My whole body is knackered and I’m not allowed on the list.

You can because, if you were not aware of this I am sorry to break it to you, there is no purpose in having any of those organs or essential things when you are dead and unable to use them. Help make somebody elses life better or save their life by putting yourself on the register.

Go On Spontaneous Trips

I cannot because I would need to check medication and appointments and by which point the chance has probably sailed off into the sunset. Getting health insurance when the main blood vessel to your heart could literally explode is pretty challenging and more expensive than the usual. I need to check the weather because my body is unable to handle either extreme with sunstroke at 25°c or blue hands at 2°c and then worry about packing the right clothes.. the whole thing is a nightmare.

You can by seeing that offer of £10 flights and booking them, using a bit of annual holiday and just going. No meds, basic health insurance and some roughly accurate clothes and you are away. Go exploring and be carefree by knowing where the nearest hospital is based on a tourbook rather than extensive research of which one you would need to get to in ~that~ emergency.

I could drag this list on and include things like going on rollercoasters, waking up one day and being able to have a kid without 2+ years of planning, being able to do a food shop and carry more than a couple of bags home or even being able to have an energy drink but I think you have heard enough.

Whatever you choose to do in life please embrace every moment of it for you never know what is around the corner. My life has always been this way and I look on with envy at the people that can do things I can only imagine but I am grateful for all the things I can do and I have; I can walk, I can see, I can travel freely when planned and I can have the odd carefully planned meat free dinner and have the choice over what food goes on my plate.

You have choices and freedom and I suggest you use them wisely. Do good for you and do good for others. Speak out for those with no voice. Do for those that cannot. Be good, be human, be beautiful.

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