Einstein, Kayaks, and How to Navigate a River….

Me demonstrating how not to paddle a kayak.

There’s a famous quote from Albert Einstein that we’ve all heard time and time again:

“The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”

I hate this quote, for a number of reasons. The first being that Albert Einstein never said it. It’s just a random saying that some dude stuck on a picture of Einstein to create a meme. Now he’s more famous for saying that than he is for telling us that energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared (see what I did there? That’s E=MC², proving that using Einstein references to sound intelligent is even better than quoting eastern philosophy).


Secondly it is way over-used and honestly, I don’t believe it’s the definition of insanity at all. A guy can play the lottery every week for his whole adult life and lose every time, but he keeps playing because he thinks this week he can win. He’s not insane, he’s just a moron. Unless of course one day he wins, then he’s smarter than all of us. Still though, he’s not insane. This is why doing the same thing over and over may be the definition of foolishness, but not insanity.

Insanity could be defined in any number of ways, from walking through the mall naked because you think that you’re invisible, to using your shoe as a phone to call Elvis (I may have done one of these things once when I was drunk, I’ll leave it up to you to guess which one). But not discounting any of these, I feel most of all  insanity is thinking that things will never change. That somehow everything will be the way it is forever. That YOU can’t change. To me that’s plain bat shit crazy.

“I’m too old for that shit.”

I heard it again last week from a co-worker when we were talking about being in our fifties and starting a new excessive program.  “I’m way too old to start doing that. I’ll stick to walking around the mall once a week. My days for working out are long gone.”

That’s Insanity.

This is the reason for my rant. This concept that you are too old or too set in your ways to change. Because the idea of changing up your diet or joining a gym seems like a big commitment, you decide to just stay the way you are and accept the fact that you’ll remain at this level of health for the rest of your life. Well, I got some news for you Bud, you are going to change whether you want to or not, just probably not in the way you are going to like.

It’s like being in a kayak floating down a river. You’re not sitting in still water; the current is taking you downstream. Sure, you can just sit on your ass and enjoy the ride, it’ll actually be relaxing while you slowly move with the water and enjoy the scenery as it goes by. Doing this however lets the river decide where you’re going to end up. That doesn’t sound like a big deal when the river is deep and wide, but before too long, if you don’t get stuck on a sand bar or end up in the bushes, you’re going to end up in the rapids. Then it’s your ass. You won’t stand a chance if you do nothing and go with the flow. You’re going to need to paddle, and paddle hard. The problem is it may be too late at this point.

So, all river analogies aside, the point I’m trying to make is that you can’t just stay the way you are now and hope nothing is going to change. You are the way you are today because of the choices you’ve made in the past and the habits you’ve developed. You are not too old to develop new ones. In fact, you will anyway so you may as well determine what those habits are going to be.

The bottom line is simple-  You can change your lifestyle no matter how old you are. Because if you’re older than forty, and you’re not exercising regularly and eating right, then today is the healthiest you will be for the rest of your life.

And there are rapids ahead…



  1. Very well said! I think most people don’t think about the consequences of not changing up their ineffective exercise or diet routine. We ARE too caught up in watching the scenery go by to imagine the rapids ahead – and for some of us they are only just around the bend! I’ve been sitting idle in my arm chair for 6 weeks enjoying being able to just sit on my butt for a change, however, I have also been noticing that I am experiencing more difficulty walking when I do walk now and I have much less endurance. I need to pick up that paddle now! Thank you for reminding me!

    Liked by 1 person

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