Healthy Extremes are Extremely Healthy

Most people would agree that humans are somewhat adaptable. However, as we age, we allow societal norms to become ingrained and we lose faith in ourselves; the belief, not the ability to adapt is what diminishes. I know this because we say things like, “Oh kids are so resilient” but then turn around and say, “The older I get, the harder it is to change.” We are convinced that there are certain rules placed on our bodies and our psyche that prevent us from being adaptable.  Experiencing extremes in life can promote adaptability, which is simply a key to growth. For example, it has been said that immersing the body in alternating hot and cold water can jump-start the immune system response. Experiencing this extreme change in water temperature is, as many would say, not as bad as the anticipation of getting into cold water. In other words, we may have a tendency to fear the extreme but once we become familiar with it, we realize how absurd that fear really was. I think it would be safe to say that for many of us, as we age, we become more fearful of the unknown and less likely to take chances to experience extremes.

There are countless ways of experiencing extremes in life. Of course, I rely on traveling as a conduit for learning life lessons and this is no different. Traveling can supply a healthy dose of extremes, thus, providing copious opportunities for personal growth. I’ve seen first-time international travelers leave this country with certain perceptions only to have them shattered during their experience abroad. Pushing ourselves to experience something different or uncomfortable simply allows us to emerge with a higher sense of self-worth and adaptability.

Handling extremes comes down to acceptance of perception. We shouldn’t judge our perceptions because everything that we have experienced (public education, advertising, our upbringing) has shaped us and we have had little control over that. The sooner we can accept that our perceptions are what hold us back from experiencing life, the sooner we can move forward and experience the things that will allow us to grow. After moving from Chicago to Arizona, I said I’d never shovel another driveway in my life. I had a sort of ‘grass is greener’ perception once I got to AZ and saw no need in moving snow from one area to another when I could just drive to Flagstaff to ski and then drive back down to the Valley and go for a swim. However, today I find myself in the middle of a blizzard and have to look at my perception of extremes. I went from living on a tropical island, showering outside, and going to the beach daily, to a place that got about two feet of snow in the last twenty-four hours with a change in temperature of about 70 degrees (from Kauai to here). I can look outside and think about the insanity of it or I can put my snowshoes on and go experience the extreme. I think it’s fairly obvious what my choice will be.

About Carlos Bill

Carlos is a dynamic public school teacher and Principal with professional development experience in 2nd language acquisition, educational technology, and classroom management. He also is Co-Founder of Travel to Learn, an organization dedicated to teaching people how to live a truly regenerative lifestyle with respect to health, relationships, and the natural environment. TTL does this through public speaking engagements, workshops, and travel programs.
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4 Responses to Healthy Extremes are Extremely Healthy

  1. colin says:

    i put my money on you shoveling snow

  2. Cassie Taylor says:

    I saw the picture…you shoveled. :)

  3. dad says:

    Por favor, sigue escribiendo. Quizas este blog es lo más profundo que has escrito…
    y no pudía encontrar ni un error en la gramática. Yo no podía “encontrar mi voz”
    hasta que tenía más que cinquenta años y ya, cuando todavía eres muy joven, has cultivado tu propio estilo. Pero recuerdas que el estilo nunca es más que una extensíon de la idéa principal de tu blog. Es decir que la cosa más importante es el tema… lo que quieres decir… tu mensaje… y desde has elejido una carrera en el mundo de educacíon, espero que puedes hacer una coneccíon entre tus experiencas y cómo aplican al mundo de educacíon. En otras palabras, que has aprendido que puedes usar para mejorar el sistema educational? Claro que tus pensamientos personal son muy interestante, pero si puedes establecer un enlace entre tus experiencas y cómo puedes aplicarlas en un salon de educacíon, quizas puedes creer un regalo que todos los maestros pueden usar con sus estudiantes. No sé porque, pero por años ahora, nada que escribo en íngles suena bien a los oidos. (Bueno… quizas yo sé, pero este no es un lugar donde debo enfocar en el problema.) Supongo que este email es lleno de errores en gramática, pero tambíen yo sé sí sigo tratando de escribir en español, voy a mejorar mi estilo. Y lo mismo va a pasar contigo en íngles. El arte de escribir es un camino que puedes caminar toda tu vida. Nunca va a llegar al fin de aquel camino, pero es una viaje que puedes disfrutar toda tu vida. Por años, poniendo palabras en una pagina me dío una manera a celebrar las memorias inolvidable de mi vida y tambíen me ayudaron a sobrevivir los choques de mi vida. Yo pasé horas luchando con palabras, tratando de decir lo que tenía que decir… y finalmente, aquellas mismas palabras devolvieron y me apoyaron. Y ahora, para mí, es un placer tremendo a leer tus palabras y pensamientos. Bueno… terminaré el mensaje de este email con el consejo que puedes encontrar en las mismas palabras con que lo empecé… “Por favor, sigue escribiendo.”
    abrazos… dad

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