I want to be a sponge, not a colander


Patrick Newell

I watch, I listen, and I take notes – either by writing them down or absorbing the always-valuable mental notes. It is my job as a reporter and writer to glean facts and knowledge, and use that material to inform the public. In the process of gathering, the sagacity of the ones I study may rub off – or at least I have stored a few crumbs of their genius.
A few men and women I have watched and learned from the past few years also happen to be those I see several times a week around town or at the Norwich YMCA. In no way do I believe they are attempting to mentor me, although I do believe they have indirectly set a standard for me to attain. They do it not just by what they say, but what they do.
For instance, one of my former teachers at Norwich Middle School, Dave Doughty, astutely noted several months ago my fixation on weighing myself. I cannot recall the exact words of the conversation, but he asked me how I felt. I told him I felt great. He said something else about feeling good about one’s self, and although he was not getting philosophical about life’s meaning, I understood the point he was making.
In other words, if you feel healthy and you’re still able to do the things you want to do – and your waistline has not outgrown your pants – then why fixate on what a scale says?
Since that time, my scale watching has dropped off to almost zero. Almost grudgingly and without much concern, I weighed myself earlier this week for the first time in nearly two months. That is a big step since I regularly weighed myself nearly every day at the YMCA for over seven years.

Note: Read Patrick Newell’s full column in the Friday, Aug. 1 print edition of The Evening Sun.