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Who’s your friend?

The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.
           Thomas Jefferson

Yesterday I was out on patrol and came across a young resident I know so I stopped for a short chat.

Every evening he takes his dog Otis for a walk and Otis always likes it when I stop to talk because he gets a cookie from the local cop.

I complimented him on his obvious weight loss, he thanked me and in the same breath said, “boy you find out who your friends are when you stop drinking and decide to get your health back.”

It seems that the people he frequented the bars with no longer have time for him. They no longer have the main ingredient in common. And that would be frequenting the bars and drinking until the wee hours of the morning.

Instead of bar hopping he now jogs, runs, paddle boards, surfs and has a long walk with Otis every evening. He has dropped weight and has improved his overall wellbeing.

Now there’s the name-calling. Health nut, exercise addict and any other name his supposedly friends can come up with in hopes of making themselves feel better and less inadequate.

This young guy was really feeling down about being snubbed by his drinking pals so I related a similar incident that happened to me a few years back.

Rosemary and I went to a “FRIENDS” house one Sunday afternoon and right away this friend offered me a drink. I politely declined but he wouldn’t accept that.

Friend: “Come on Doc have a drink with me.”
Doc:     “No thank you I’ll have a coke.”
Friend: “No, you have to have a drink with me. What’s the matter do you think you’re too good to drink with me?”
Doc:     “ Do you think you’re too good to not drink with me?”

He stared at me for a few seconds, smiled and said, “I get it” and he never offered me another drink.

I was never invited to anymore of the drinking parties and that was good. I’ve exercised and eaten properly through the years and I’m still around enjoying life and he isn’t, he’s no longer with us.

I’ve been called health nut, Mr. exercise, exercise addict and just about any name you can think of by people I know in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

If you noticed I didn’t refer to them as friends because friends don’t disrespect friends. Friends show respect and acceptance.

The dictionary says a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

I have friends that I have an occasional drink with and we enjoy the camaraderie. Sometimes I’ll have a beer with them but usually I have a coke or bottle of water and yet we’re still friends. That’s what friendship is about, being non judgmental and acceptance. We accept one another for who they are and there is mutual respect. And that’s what it’s about, respect and acceptance.

I suggested that this young man forget about these people who refused to accept and respect him for who he has become and get on with his life. After all he already has his best friend with him and that’s Otis.

If he continues on his new path of exercise and healthy eating he’ll have a happy and healthier life. And it’s very likely that he’ll meet people who accept and respect him for who he is and not whom they think he should be.

In closing don’t allow the naysayers to convince you to not exercise. If you’ve recently started exercising hooray for you and if you’ve been exercising all along keep doing it and invite someone else to join you.

And always remember, never say you’re too old or you can’t because you’re not and you can.



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