THIS IS NOT A BOOK REVIEW
I have been a ravenous reader all of my life (an average of two books per week for at least the last 40 years), and, while I do not feel the need to justify why I read any thing, there’s a story behind this selection.
Perhaps a better title would be How I got around to reading Jordan Peterson’s book.
As you know, I have been recovering from peritonitis and ileus following an appendectomy.
What you don’t know is that I lost 20+ pounds during the 10-day hospital stay that nearly did me in. I was not allowed to sleep, since the nurses came to draw blood every two hours (day and night), and every day was served foods I do not tolerate – mostly anything with soy or sugar – no matter how much I protested. Add to that dozens of pills – mostly antibiotics – on a nearly-empty stomach. By the time I left the hospital (which took some assertiveness skills, both from me and from my sister, who had stayed with me all 10 days), I could not sit up or walk unassisted and was almost totally worn down in every sense.
What I learned from that experience is
1. Hospital and medical staff are not going to hear what you say. Period.
2. Make sure to get a witness after you have your first bowel movement following surgery, or the nurses won’t believe it happened. My sister ended up having to swear it had.
3. Having loud tripe noises is a good thing.
I had stopped coloring my hair earlier this year, and when I got home and took a good look, I could not decide whether I looked more like Carol Kane in The Princess Bride, or like Marley’s ghost, because I was too thin to look like either.
The first thing I had to focus on was a return to my low-carb, high-protein “diet.” I have controlled non-diabetic hypoglycemia for the last two decades through diet alone: Nothing with added sugar, lots if green vegetables, lots of protein from meats, poultry and fish, a few berries and very very few bites of no sugar added ice cream. No juices, no pastas, no pastries. The only way to start was by having three small meals and three snacks a day. Instead of whole milk, I drank 6 ounces of whipping cream (2 ounces 3 x day) since I needed the calories. As I improved, my appetite returned.
Still, I needed a walker to walk across a room and could not sit up or get out of bed unaided for several weeks. The least effort tired me and I was lying down on a rented recliner for most of the day, since I did not want to stay in bed during daytime.
In the middle of this ordeal I had no energy to focus on anything for more than a few minutes. Trying to read a long article was exhausting. Listening to a whole concert on YouTube was impossible. Watching a movie or an opera was out of the question. Forget about researching and blogging, translating, or writing for pay.
As it happened regarding blogging, Twitter and Facebook appeared to have been hiding my blog posts for several months earlier this year. I didn’t have a chance to look into it seriously prior to my appendectomy. My blog readership was down by 80%.
On top of it, I have grown bored of Latin America’s permanent, ongoing dumpster fires ((Mexico, Venezuela, etc.) and loathe the current political atmosphere here in the USA. Excuse the language, but this image summarizes perfectly my current frame of mind when it comes to politics:
It didn’t matter, since I was too tired to be able to get worked up enough to write about anything anyway.
My attention span improved as my sleep cycles normalized. I was mildly bored.
The downside to improving enough to feel bored was that I felt sorry for myself. In addition to the support of my family, Facebook came to the rescue, since I had received hundreds of positive messages wishing me well. Dozens of friends called, brought flowers, emailed and wrote. One morning i thanked God i was not in Puerto Rico without electricity. No more self-pity.
Back in the early 1990s when I developed hypoglycemia I had read Toughness Training for Life, which was most helpful in focusing on my goals and returning to daily good habits.
Two months into my recovery, I was well enough that I became interested in reading books again. I had been watching classical music YouTubes, and Jordan Peterson’s lectures started to show up among the “recommended” (how the algorithm works to connect the two, who knows?). I watched a few excerpts of Peterson’s lectures, which were interesting.
“First, that’s Dr. Peterson to you all, bucko.”
I looked up the book.
On the cover it said,
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
Yeah, you could say I was in the middle of chaos. Let’s see if 12 Rules delivered.
I bought the Kindle edition 12 Rules for Life. That way I would not need to rest the paper book on my sore lap.
What’s the book like? There are nearly 3,000 reader reviews at Amazon. I read a few after I finished the book, and particularly enjoyed Charles Stampel’s The Last Professor.
Toughness Training For Life and 12 Rules for Life share the same basic premise: Life is tough. Loehr approaches the daily schedule. Dr. Peterson looks at what’s inside it. Both will help get you through chaos.
Don;t pay attention to the left’s comments on Dr. Peterson. I recommended the book a few days after finishing it on a real-life friend’s Facebook thread, and in turn my friend’s former college roommate replied to me with a photo of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, followed by a derisive comment that I am “a rich white lady.”
Mein kampf aside, I have been called worse.
So do read 12 Rules For Life, especially at a time of chaos.
And make sure to have Kleenex handy for Chapter 12, where Dr. Peterson writes about his brave daughter Mikhaila.
Indeed, it’s a great book.