Miereneuker (Dutch): Antfucker.
Korinthenkacker (German): Raisin crapper.
Both terms refer to someone who is obsessed with small details, nitpicking, and petty bullshit; yet poignantly is usually ignored or unable to execute anything meaningful as a result.
If you’ve opened a magazine, read a newspaper, listened to the radio, watched television, perused a blog, peeked into social media, or basically been alive and taking in sensory input, you’ve probably ingested some “rules” about how to “get in shape” and “eat right” (along with sleeping, having a relationship, getting stains out of carpets, making whimsical Halloween cupcakes, and every other dimension of life).
No crevice of human existence is safe.
There are no longer any un-aired closets, no secret too shameful to share, no body part too miniscule to be anxious about.
Every detail is captured in surgical precision, often literally. As in medical video of fixing the shit I didn’t even know I should care about, like nostril reduction. Or vajazzling.
Now we know what to do, we can all just go and do it. And we’ll be happier.
Here’s an experiment to try.
Attempt to get really, really informed about some facet of nutrition and exercise, using any form of media you like.
Dig in there. Spend at least three solid hours doing nothing else.
Cast a wide net. Go down the rabbit hole. Read forums, and blogs, and mainstream publications, and PubMed, and the Facebook feeds of experts.
Be brave! You’re a mighty earthworm chawing through the intellectual humus of humanity! All will be digested in your gravel-y gizzard!
At the end of those three hours, sit back, rub your eyes, and ask yourself: How do I feel right now?
- Do I feel empowered?
- Do I feel clear, and focused, and grounded?
- Do I have an absolutely unshakeable conviction about what my next step should be? (And am I 100% sure that this next step is not wacko?)
- And do I feel entirely ready, willing, and able to take this next step, able to incorporate it into my messy real life safely and sanely?
- Do I feel relaxed and calm, secure and soothed by the gentle, warm feeling of certainty?
For most of us, the answer will be: Fuck no.
Now, you’re not only out of shape and eating Doritos for breakfast, you’re confused and demotivated. So many details! It all seems terribly important! Where to begin? Oh dear.
Well-meaning coworkers and friends and people on the street will try to help you out of your conundrum.
“What you need to do is a cleanse / go vegan / only eat stuff with a face.”
“Oh my Gawd! Are you seriously doing ___ as your workout? You know that won’t burn fat / build muscle / make you strong / help you live longer!”
“Are you working out in the morning? That’s the worst time! You have to work out in the evening.” (Or vice versa.)
“Squats rule.” “Squats are overrated.” “Nobody should squat.” “Are you squatting right for your biomechanics? Check this anatomy diagram and find out!” “Shut up and squat.”
You end up gnawing on your brain like a spazzy puppy on a rawhide chew toy.
And you’re not healthier. You’re not happier. You’re not stronger in any sense of the word.
There is another way.
Dump the details and the diets and the spreadsheets and the secret formulae and the next great thing.
If you must absolutely have these things in your life, find a coach who can make sense of this for you, filter out what’s important, and keep you from being nutso.
Stop taking selfies of your half-naked body or grabbing handfuls of your bellyflesh (I know you do it) or posting binge confessionals like it’s part of a bigger plan (“OMG! I was such a pig but it’s OK because it’s carb night refeed leptin reset resistant starch reset!”).
I know, darling possums, I know — right now it all feels so important. Like it’ll really help. Like it’ll put you in control. Like it’ll make the world all make sense.
I’m sorry, it doesn’t help. Trust me, I have tried.
Get out in the world and do something meaningful.
Make yourself — and your world, and your existence — bigger. Grow. Expand. Get some gravity.
Take a moment now and write down 15 answers to the following question:
What does “living well” mean to you?
“Living well means ____.”
Fifteen times. Do it.
Because your first few answers will probably be bullshit and uncreative. (It’s OK, everyone’s first draft of Answers to Big Questions is pointless people-pleasing prattle.)
Now look at all your responses.
You’ll notice that you often use phrases like “I can” or “I get to” or “I choose” or some other active verb like “I travel”.
You’ll also notice that details appear exactly nowhere in it.
Because what you really want here is a feeling.
And the best way to get feelings via experiencing things.
(Technically, even imagining or remembering things is a sort of experience.)
That means forgetting about the raisin pooping, tossing away the rawhide chew, and getting out into the world to actually do something.
It doesn’t matter how you start.
Just start. Something.
If you’re just starting fitness, think of any movement that you could do in the next 1 minute. Then do it.
If you’re just starting to learn how to eat better, think of something that truly nourishes and adds value to your body. Then eat it.
If you’re just starting to learn how to take care of yourself, hug and send love to any body part that doesn’t reject you — your pinky finger, your nose, your elbow, your right kneecap. If even elbow love seems too soft and namby-pamby, dip that elbow in some warm water then moisturize it.
That’s good enough for today.
Keep it simple.
That’s your first step to living.