(deadly) sin #9?

Oh, I’m vain.

I caught an appreciative grin from a man my son C’s age, and I’m pluming myself all the way to lunch. I’m mesmerized by a chance photo from last week, looking at muscle definition on my arms: have I been lifting weights that much? Another pair of pants goes in the too-big box; I spend ten naked minutes this morning surveying all sides of the current shape I’m in.

I curate what I wear, even when it’s tshirt+jeans. My coif matters to me, its color and shape of the moment yet of my age and station. In short, I work to be chic.

I make a real effort. But then again, I don’t.

It’s puzzling, isn’t it? Looks matter to me…but not effort. I own a hairdryer, but it’s dusty. I rarely wear makeup. I ate what I wanted, and my weight did whatever it would do…until last March.

I could have slimmed down at any previous moment, but it wasn’t until I knew my blood sugar had shifted that I began. And it wasn’t even the label “pre-diabetic” that gave me momentum. My forecasting mind is what kickstarted me and keeps me going into this fifth month:

If I’m managing my own chronic condition like high blood sugar, am I going to be an effective caregiver for the three people who will be mine to ward?

Now, insh’allah, this responsibility is a decade and more away. But I didn’t raise my children by waiting until tomorrow to think through the ripples from my choices today. Steps I take today make for an easier walk in the future.

Today I can repeatedly chest-press and curl 70 pounds. By February my pancreas will again be able to care for me without intervention. I will be ready, and I believe I will stay ready.

Which will likely keep me trim. And if that’s my collateral, I’ll keep tussling with my vanity.


PS: I tried to keep my research down to a dull roar, so here are my footnotes. Vanity I’m calling sin #9 because it turns out that Pope Gregory I collapsed vainglory–which isn’t quite the same as vanity–into hubris (pride) back in 590 CE. How did I miss that?

And in other “seven deadly sins” news, they didn’t start out as sins but as evil thoughts. I learned that while reading Acedia and Me the first time. My modern, relativism-trained brain can get behind ‘evil thoughts’ faster than ‘deadly sins,’ particularly when it comes to those of self-absorption. Like vanity!

Comment (1)

  1. Robert

    How easily our brains move from immortality back to mortality and from there to caregivers.

    Evil thoughts are pervasive, though, I’ll give you that. I only think they turn ‘deadly’ when you devote all of your time and effort to them. Or perhaps that’s an ‘evil thought’ in itself?

    Oh, and I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing wrong with surreptitiously glancing at pretty women!

    Reply

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