Downstream consequences

A few years ago, after a string of bad decisions involving spending money, I decided to cut back by eating less food. I was clearly a stupid 19 year old who felt invincible – at least as far as my health was concerned.

6 months in, I achieved my short term finance goals but ended up with a long term health consequence. I had severe Gastritis and faced a brutal month. The doctor warned me that I needed to eat both regularly and better. She also said I’d done a fair amount of damage over the preceding 6 months and that I’d likely have to be careful for the rest of my life.

She was right. My stomach is comparatively much more sensitive and I experience discomfort if I go through an extended phase with irregular meals. In essence, I am reminded of my stupidity once every 12-18 months. This is one of those periods – I was working on a massive project these past 2 weeks and my meals were all over the place. Cue: stomach issues.

So, today, I found myself kicking off my reflection week by remembering my dumb decision to eat less food 6 years ago that had all sorts of downstream consequences. It made me ask myself two groups of questions –

  1. What other dumb downstream health decisions am I making now? For instance, am I making sure my posture is ergonomic so I avoid back issues when I’m older? Am I exercising enough so I keep my muscles and joints active?
  2. Every decision we make has downstream consequences. Am I considering those consequences as I make these decisions?

Tough questions.

Good questions.

We live and we learn.

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