Same Kind of Monster

My cousin Alan (Brodie) gave me a call this morning; he had a day off too. So we met up at Tollcross, grabbed some lunch and went to see the Metallica film Some Kind of Monster at the Cameo cinema. I’d seen it before, but it was still good to see it again. I still found it moving and inspiring, particularly James Hetfield’s response to having been through rehab and his exploration about how to re-engage with being in Metallica, and the recording and later the touring process. It was a re-evaluation about what was more important in his life: ensuring that the Metallica beast kept rolling, or that he and his family were a solid, functioning and healthy unit.

I can relate to some of that. These last few months, as well as struggling with ill-health (which turned out to simply be to do with a low immune system and dodgy digestion system) I’ve felt under a great deal of pressure, largely from projects that I’ve volunteered myself for. I end up working, and working, because I don’t want to let the other person down, and it hasn’t done my physical and emotional health any good whatsoever. At times it has scared me, to be brutally honest.

When I visited the renal clinic in August (I have a genetically inherited kidney disease) the doctor wanted to prescribe beta blocker drugs for me, in order to lower my blood pressure. I refused them. It scared me that the doctor considered my bp to be too high, but I’m not a fan of reaching for the chemicals straight away. So these last few months I’ve been cycling more (even while I was feeling nauseous — in fact, for the time I was cycling it actually helped me feel okay) and watching my diet and my life rhythm, if you like. I’ve been trying to meet life at less than the break-neck, I-need-to-do-this-now speed that I’ve become used to, and which is less than healthy. It seems to be working. I’m feeling fitter, I’ve lost some weight, and my bp has been coming down too (I bought a bp monitor that I can use at home).

I entitled this post “Same Kind of Monster” initially because I’ve seen the Metallica film once already. But as it turns out it is also because I can relate to something similar to what James was addressing in the film: what are my priorities?

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

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