Reuniting, 15 Year Style

Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended my 15 year college reunion.
Fifteen years, folks.
People married soon out of college already have children who are full fledged independent beings with personalities. It was fun to meet these young people, some of them less than a decade away from college themselves.
Many of my college friends are just starting families, pregnant, or with toddlers. Some are writing law reports to free unjustly jailed prisoners on life sentences for non-violent drug offenses (Jennifer Turner, college roommate). Or teaching African American history at a historically black college in Mississippi (Robby Luckett, first new person I met in pre-frosh days. His six minute history of the South brought down the house: “Race, racism Frederick Douglas. Race, racism, Abraham Lincoln. Race, racism Martin Luther King. Race, racism…today.”) Or racking up poker bling as a many-times-repeat world champion (Matt Matros, the guy in the dorms who would go to Mohegan Sun to play poker every weekend). People do cool things with their lives. There are many cool things to do in life.
It was fun to catch up with others. And it was fun to sit on a Health and Wellness panel organized by Vanessa Anderson—sharing practical tips for healthy living in stressed out lives. I shared my tried and true behavior tips for healthy living—
The 5-2-1-0 approach for kids (five servings of fruits and vegetables, no more than 2 hours a day of television and video games, one hour of movement, and zero sugar sweetened beverages).
And the 0-10-30-150 approach to adult health (zero cigarettes, ten minutes of relaxation/meditation daily, a BMI of 30, 150 minutes of exercise each week).
That “BMI of thirty”—body mass index, how tall we are compared to how big we are—is determined by the 5-2-1-0 behaviors I encourage kids to adopt, which, in turn, are shaped by the environments where we live, work, eat and play.
social determinants of health
Jennifer McTiernan, founder of CitySeed, a farmers market in New Haven, talked about her journey to healthy eating via Chez Panisse, and bringing organic food fresh from the farm to the city. Kamilah Jackson, MD, a psychiatrist and director of adolescent health for the city of Philadelphia, talked about developmental stages in life, and accepting where we are at. She encouraged us to embrace our vulnerabilities and find coping strategies for our anxieties, exuding calm, understanding, and warmth. Since not all of us can be crime novelists (Julia Dahl), or art critics for the New York Times (Karen Rosenberg) or fathers of five (Robby Luckett)–“Where you are at is where you should be,” Dr Jackson said. The panel ended with a celebration of all things yoga. And we went forth into the world, movers and shakers, to follow Beyonce’s simple command (channeling Michelle Obama): “Let’s Move!”
And to party like it was 1999.

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