I Was Thinking... A Fabulous Body
You may wonder if my column has taken a radical twist. If you are wondering if I’m going to list the best-looking swimsuit models of 2023 or the best body builders of the decade, you will be disappointed.
I want us to consider our bodies. Most of us probably would never rank our bodies in the “fabulous” category. In fact, the full-length mirror in our homes doesn’t usually reflect anything we would dub fabulous. That is because you are just looking at the outside.
For years scientists have tried to develop a perpetual motion machine. That is a machine that once started just keeps going forever. Well, have you ever considered the human body. Even before it officially entered the world, a baby’s heart began beating.
When that child is born the heart keeps going and for most of us, it hasn’t stopped since. Each day the average heart “beats” (expands and contracts) 100,000 times and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood. In a 70-year lifetime, an average human heart beats more than 2.5 billion times. And all this happens automatically without us even thinking about it.
We should really be aware of this fabulous machine since we live in it 24/7. Yet we take it so for granted. Unless we have COPD, emphysema, a bad cold, or in water over our heads, we don’t think much about breathing.
Our lungs start their operation right after we take that first big cry and don’t stop despite the numerous ways we have developed to abuse them. The heart and lungs also have developed the unique ability to adapt to our behavior. If we decide on our own to run or because we are being chased, the dynamic duo of heart and lung ramp up to accommodate our need for speed. While those may be the two biggies, there are a lot of other parts that are also amazing.
While you’re reading this, how many times have you thought to blink your eyes? Yet, I’m sure it has occurred even without you thinking about it.
While some of these things are at least visible, there is a lot more going on that isn’t. Whatever you had at your last meal is now going through a whole chemical process to turn that food into energy. You don’t notice it unless you overindulge and overload the process, so it responds with less than desirable results.
Our bodies are designed to function, but we keep finding ways to interfere with that function by what we put in it or how we use it. But for the most part it keeps going. We break parts of it, lacerate the outer covering and the body works to repair the damage.
From the start as a baby, it grows and changes. We get teeth, muscle development, and become mobile. The changes continue and some we like while others we aren’t so fond of. It matures and soon develops the capabilities to even reproduce itself. The body has its own restraints as well. The hair on your head, and for men on their face, will continue to grow unless cut, but your eyebrows, and the other hair on your body grows to a certain length and just stops. Meanwhile fingernails and toenails just keep going. Though they may crack or chip they continue on, so we are guaranteed a lifetime of tools for scratching.
However, some of those gradual changes aren’t as fun as some of the early developments. Hair taking on a more silver tone or disappearing altogether isn’t so desirable. Wrinkling and sagging skin signal we are no longer young. But with failing eyesight the body is attempting to hide these changes from us.
So, while we are tempted to complain about an increase in aches and pains and curse our bodies, we should be grateful for how well it has lasted the way we’ve treated it all those years.
Did You Ever Wonder? — Why does your nose run but your feet smell?
Photo: I was thinking Ron Albright