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A couple of weeks ago we focussed on one of those well known clichés which most people have never stopped to think about. Living to work versus working to live. 
 
As so often is the case, our observations have inadvertently ruffled a few feathers and led to some rather “interesting” conversations (!). Particularly with those who have always worn their long working hours as a badge of honour and are now seeing them in a rather different – and less positive – light. 
 
So, while we’re on this topic, we’d like to give you a rather different perspective on a related topic. Retirement. 
 
Ready? Then here we go. 
Turn the clock back a couple of decades and Diabetes was rarely heard of. And, if it was, only in older people who also tended to be overweight and sedentary. Hence the risk factors being summed up as being “fair, fat and over 40” (!). 
 
Type II Diabetes, also known as “Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes”, was rarely seen in those under the age of 40 and could usually be controlled by diet. Or, occasionally, medication such as Metformin. 
 
Come back to the present day and the picture has changed out of all recognition. Figures released in 2016 estimated that, in the UK alone, 137,000 new cases were reported by Doctors during the previous year in addition to the 1.5 million of the previous decade. Let’s just repeat those figures. 137,000 new cases in a single year. 1.5 million new cases in the previous decade. 
We know this is a bit of a cliché – and one you may well have heard many times before – but it often comes to mind when people talk about what they do. 
 
What interests us is that they rarely describe exactly what they do in a way that’s easily understood by the other person. “I own and run a business making widgets for the engineering industry” OR “I design and build bespoke homes for people” OR “I help people improve and maximise their health.” 
 
Instead they’ll give you their job title which, often, isn’t very helpful at all. “I’m a Director” OR “I’m a Builder” OR “I’m a Doctor.” And, by prefacing it with “I am”, their job becomes their identity. 
It’s now estimated that 8 out of 10 adults will experience back problems at some time during their lives. This is borne out by our experience, with David having treated more people with back – or neck – problems than anything else. 
 
Given this, it’s not surprising that there are so many conflicting pieces of advice about what causes back pain and, more importantly, how to relieve it. Sadly, many of these fall into the “Old Wives tales” category – or myths if you prefer (!) – and only prolong the problem, rather than helping speed it on its way. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to put those we hear most often under the spotlight and see if they’re really true. 
With the Spring Equinox yesterday and the clocks going forward to Summer on Sunday, we have two important signs this week that Spring has arrived. And, even better, Summer is just around the corner! 
 
To our ancestors, as well as anyone with strong links to the land and natural world, it’s an important time of year. The farming and gardening year are both well underway, with the promise of things to come. 
Even though these words of wisdom may date back over a hundred years, they’re as true today as when first spoken. They’re usually attributed to the great poet, playwright and raconteur, Oscar Wilde; although it’s been suggested he may have “borrowed” them from elsewhere. We’ll probably never know the truth and leave it to those of a literary persuasion to debate (!). 
 
Anyway, before we digress too much further (!), let’s return to the present day and one of those things that seems so hard to do.  
 
Be yourself. 
The snow may have melted but the “Beast of the East” is still making itself felt. And we’re not talking about yet more potholes on the roads (!), a few dented cars or some local shops playing catch up after the snow disrupted their supplies. Or the floods that so often follow heavy snow. 
 
Instead we’re thinking about things from a much more personal level and how the cold weather affects each of us, albeit to varying degrees (no pun intended!). And, much more importantly, how it continues to do so for a while after it’s gone. 
 
If this seems a strange thing to say, bear with us, it’ll all become clear in a minute. 
We love passing on the stories that we hear, particularly those – like all the best fairy tales we enjoyed as children (!) – which have a moral at the end. 
 
Are you sitting comfortably? Then here we go. 
 
A travel writer was on assignment in Hawaii and taken to meet a local dancer who does the traditional – and ancient – Hula dance. Not, as you’d expect, a young girl but an older lady. A much older lady. 
 
She begins with a demonstration. The music begins and she starts to move. Her hips swivel in a spiral. Her slender hands move in a wave. She beams with pleasure. And, as with all true experts, makes it look effortless. 
 
So the obvious question is asked. 
 
How long did it take for her to master the dance?  
 
A few weeks, perhaps. A month. A year. 
We’ve recently been away for a few days and were amazed to see a huge sign in a shop window. It proudly proclaimed “Smoking is dangerous. Vaping is the healthy and safe alternative.” We should quickly add that this wasn’t in the UK but, even so, we were still surprised to see vaping being marketed in such a blatant way. 
 
Interestingly, conversations with smokers have confirmed that this is their understanding of vaping and explains why so many are now making the switch. The question is whether it’s true? 
This week we’re going to take a brief trip back in time to the mid 1990’s. Whether it’s a walk down memory lane or a living history lesson (!) do join us for a quick visit. 
 
Back in those dim distant days, the internet was shiny and new. Not only was it dial up – which was incredibly slow on a good day – but far from user friendly. If you were fortunate enough to have access to it, you used it for a short period of time and then got on with the rest of your life. It was a novelty and, once you’d finished using it, you rarely thought about it. Surfing, other than that involving a trip to the sea and a board (!), had yet to become a mainstream leisure activity.