Two tough days for me each year are the days I go to the dentist for cleanings.
I’ve gone to the dentist since I was a child. I know the dentist and her staff are my friends. I like them. I just don’t like what they do.
At the dentist’s office last Monday, I said with confidence to the hygienist, “You should find less plaque buildup on this exam. I have a new toothbrush with a built-in timer. I now brush for two full minutes twice a day.”
I waited for a bit of praise, but I didn’t get it.
I got this instead.
“Four minutes,” said the hygienist.
“What?” I asked.
“Brush for four minutes at bedtime, two minutes on top and two minutes on bottom. Two minutes in the morning is good, though.”
Just when I think I’ve adhered to the rules, the rules get tougher.
I realize that I pay my dental professionals to care about and care for my teeth.
If I am unhappy, I can stop visiting them any time I choose. But I won’t do that.
My teeth are important to me.
But today, so many experts (paid and unpaid) tell me how to take care of myself that I am overwhelmed with “good” advice.
From computer, television, and smartphone screens, from billboards, and from literally tons of unsolicited mail I pull from my mailbox, professionals offer me their advice.
Medical doctors say I should spend several hours each week exercising.
Opticians urge me to wear sunglasses when I am outside and safety glasses when I mow.
Dermatologists tell me to wear SPF 30 sunscreen.
Naturalists tout the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar.
Audiologists say I should wear ear protection.
Personal trainers insist that I wear weights on my wrists and ankles.
Therapists whisper, “Go to your happy place.”
Psychiatrists tell me to take antidepressants and practice cognitive behavioral therapy.
Herbalists tell me to drink green tea.
Nutritionists tell me to stop eating salt, sugar, fat, wheat, gluten, dairy products, eggs, soy, artificial colors or flavors; meats from animals treated with antibiotics, steroids, or hormones; fish bred and grown in dirty water; and plants that have been exposed to herbicides or pesticides.
Apparently, Mark Twain got it right when he wrote, “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”
I am all for being as healthy, comfortable, attractive, and active as I can be. But this overload of “healthful advice” is oppressive.
As a good friend said to me this week, “Facts are facts. It is what it is. I am getting older.”
We all are. No one has yet developed a product, activity, or mindset that will stop the aging process.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16, the Apostle Paul acknowledged that our outer selves are wasting away. He encouraged us to be focused upon being renewed inwardly day by day.
I throw away 99% of the advertisements I find in my mailbox.
I did recently, however, save a brochure urging me to make my final arrangements now so when I die, my grieving family will be spared that task.
That, I deemed to be advice worth heeding.