Late-20s Health Consciousness

(Disclaimer:  This is not medical advice.  Check with your doctor for that.)

In less than a year and a half, I leave my twenties and enter the decade that is the bridge between youth and middle age.  Yep, none other than the thirties.

Among the issues in the 30s are the onset of graying/balding hair, wrinkles, bone density loss, and possibly some modest eye and ear changes.  Thankfully, most eye issues don’t become common in the 40s and beyond.  Also, potential arthritis in certain region(s) of the body might be on the horizon.  I’m already obese, and do have a receding hairline.  Plus hypertension and high cholesterol.  And pesky senior moments.

Yet before then, I resolve (two months early, LOL) to improve my diet, and when possible, get more exercise.  In the way, this is like “beating the clock.”

Today, I went grocery shopping, based on information from WebMD, and was able to wisely judge what foods I’ll take and what foods I’ll skip.  These decisions took into consideration about sugary foods like honey and maple syrup, and transitioning from margarine to certain oils, like olive or canola.  Fruits should also be consumed in moderation (due to their sugars).  Fortunately, I seldom drink alcohol, though I have a characteristic “beer belly” as such.

I could go on and on about the different annoyances of aging, but to put it in a nutshell, keeping youthful as possible is just another core duty of adulthood, except it strikes later on.  You can join Facebook at 13; drive at 16 or 17; vote, marry, and smoke at 18; drink and gamble at casinos at 21; but 30 is more ominous.  (It’s strange that age 20 means virtually nothing, LOL).  At one time age 30 was more truly middle-aged, but that nowadays that nucleus probably stands around 40 or so.

Here’s the good news.  While your body crumbles down the decades, we are freed from it at death.  And believers, according to God’s Word, will eternally enjoy a heavenly world without pain, sorrow, tears, etc. (cf. Rev 21:4).  Plus, your body will be resurrected (cf. 1 Cor 15), and analogously the created order (cf. 8:18-23).  While God did not provided many details, he gives enough information for the sake of hope (Rom 8:24, 25).  But God already has an ultimate retirement plan (namely, heaven) that trumps all earthly ills.  (Whether you get a good retirement plan is between you, your financial planner, and God)

So whether you are 18 or 88, count your blessings, keep disciplined in all realms (physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc.) and trust in the Lord.  Amen.

The RPE: The Retina’s Buddy

The RPE (retinal pigment epithelium) is a tight membrane that lies between the retina and choroid (a blood-rich tissue between the white of the eye and the retina) layers of the eye. This layer, long known to absorb excess light, is now known to have many other roles. It supplies the retina with glucose (an energy source), fatty acids (which help construct the membrane of the receptor, and retinal (part of the visual pigment. Likewise, it removes wastes and water (which must pass through the cells). Receptors, in this case, are the “rod” and “cone” cells of the retina. The retina proper and the RPE co-differentiate starting in the embryo.

Both light received by the receptors and the oxygen in the choroid bear heavy oxidative loads. The disk-like membranes of the rod and cone tips are shed after their destruction, which are later absorbed by RPE cells. Free radicals are also generated. This noxious environment warrants antioxidants, heat absorption by the choroid, and intrinsic repair methods. Despite this defense mechanism that can be sustained for decades, a by-product of shedding receptors can cause decline thereof, starting at a rather young age.

This absorption by the RPE, which takes place in the morning, is promoted by light and the turnover for the entire length of the receptor’s outer segment (the region where light is absorbed) usually takes about 11 days. Together with circadian rhythms, receptor coordination is required for the full effect. Both nocturnal and diurnal animals have the same daily rhythm.

So, what does this mean for us?  Well, since I’m not a medical doctor (and certainly not an ophthalmologist), I can’t convey the whole truth or give relevant medical advice. But these phenomena continue to show the universal wear-and-tear decline of the body (and the eyes are certainly no exception), no matter how nourished it is.

(Source:  Strauss, Olaf,  Webvision, webvision.med.utah.edu)

A Better Idea

For those very things I was to use a “standard” website for, I may just put them on, yes, this blog!

The same principle applies:  no site or source is an island.  This is true of both the Internet and libraries.  And since everyone has different goals of research, claiming that “one site does it all” is quite cavalier.

However, this very blog is a perfect way to communicate information I have learned recently, or not-so-recently.  Whether it’s an issue that may warrant comment, or if I am simply sharing a neat topic I have learned (whether voluntarily or not), this is a great place to discuss it.  And of course, as I progress though my academic endeavors, I become more and more qualified to write about more and more things.  My community college library (and possibly, the one of the university I attend), public libraries (especially the Philadelphia “Central” Library), books I own, and of course, the internet; are all great potential sources that I have access to.  Perhaps the best blog posts concern how academic facts impact daily life.

Well, everything should be back to normal now!

Never Mind About the Proposed Website

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.  But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.  For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ.  We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence.  “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Cor 10:12-18, ESV)

For quite a while I was analyzing the same topics from different angles in order to see what they have in common.  Here’s the catch, though:  I was doing it in an over-extensive way, to determine, say, that if one source had all its details elsewhere on the Internet and often other sources (no matter how widespread).  And deep down, it turns out that all you ought to do is focus on your territory.

Honestly, the real joy in learning comes from understanding that all of it is centered on God, and from there, Wisdom Incarnate, that is, Christ.  And it need not be duplicated.  Everyone’s knowledge base is a library filled with varying repertoires of facts.  And that’s great!  We’re not robots, and your knowledge, gifts, and talents are your personal property.  You can share it, or not, at your discretion.

Also, whether a deceased person that discovered a given principle of knowledge was a Christian or not is irrelevant.  They have been eternally judged by God, and in any case have left behind their contribution for us (cf. 1 Cor 10:25, 27).  And as always, the handy-dandy principles of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes can be useful (as long as they, being OT books, are lined up in context with the NT as well as to society today.)

So, now to the meat and potatoes.  why an endeavor as proposed earlier is not appropriate?Each person must obtain his/her knowledge the way they need– and want– it.  Foolish comparison, and even worse, oppressive distribution of material (like junk mail, your ration of 4-letter words today) is unfruitful and inappropriate.

Note the word “oppressive.”  It’s absolutely fine to distribute information (oral, written, etc.) toward person(s) who are interested.  But don’t get nuts over it; rather, usually, keep it in a nutshell.

So, can we now put barbed wire fences around that university library down the road?

The Worth of One’s Knowledge Base

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.  (Prov 1:7, ESV)

Unbelievers, while being just as able as believers to obtain knowledge, do not thoroughly understand what something means in the long run.  Based on this, Christians have a higher purpose for this, as cited in Phil 2:4 (ESV):

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Fundamentally, we can all use our knowledge bases for the common good, and to advance the kingdom of God.  Whatever your area of expertise is, there is somewhere you can fulfill the needs and demands of whom you serve.

On a personal level, knowledge compounds and inter-plays with previously learned knowledge prior to the newer information.  Whether its a mere pronunciation difference or a topic that builds on something you learned 20 years ago (making for a great review LOL), knowledge is always useful to some extent.

But first of all, let’s discuss what this thing called “wisdom.”  Basically, it is living within God’s parameters of earthly existence to survive and thrive.  This is not the same as actual “earthly” wisdom.  James describes the difference like this:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)

“Heavenly” wisdom comes only through the Holy Spirit, through prayer, Scripture reading, preaching, and other means of grace.  Thus Christians have a fuller awareness of doing what is best as their clock on earth ticks.

And as in all things, moderation.  Ecclesiastes (a Biblical wisdom book, which, like Proverbs, is attributed to Solomon) illustrates when you should draw the line on certain things, such as pleasure, work, and learning.  Yes, we share this terrestrial ball.  But not forever.  So while you should enjoy things on this earth, don’t get too absorbed in them.  For example, Eccl. 12:12 puts secular study like this:

Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Learning is good, and is something we do whether we like it or not.  But if you study with selfish ambition, that is basically folly.  Yet when done in moderation (as with all your tasks), understanding our natural world (or any other area(s) of knowledge) can bear great benefit.  By the way, since Solomon’s time, “books” have met their rival distant cousin: the Internet.  Gutenberg sure helped, though.

Wow, now we have made a bridge between a number of areas of thought!  Would you like to buy it?  (It’s far cheaper than Brooklyn’s for sure!)