“If You Don’t Have Your Health, You Don’t Have Anything!”
We’ve all heard the above ‘old saying’ at one time or another or others like it. We’ve long been told that our health is the key to a long life and that we should develop healthy habits early on so we can live to a ripe old age. You know as well as I do, you can have all the riches one person could ever want, but if your health fails, what good is wealth if you can’t get out and enjoy it? When we’re young adults we just sort of blow this notion off with a yeah right and a shrug, because that sense of invulnerability we possess when we are young doesn’t allow us to make any sort of connection, we’re too damn busy, living the life and making our mark to be very concerned.
Then we hear it again as we cross the threshold into middle age and now it may hit a little closer to home and makes a little more sense to us because by then we’ve begun to see grandparents, parents, or their friends who have died or whose health is failing and whose quality of life has taken a drastic turn for the worse. They no longer seem to be living as much as existing. We definitely give it pause for thought but it doesn’t lasts long. Before you know it we’re back out in the rat race chasing our tails, trying to get the most from living while we can.We sense that our cloak of invincibility is beginning to tear and fray at the edges but what the hell, we’ve still got time.
As we enter our mid 50’s and begin contemplating retirement we totally understand what the saying is all about. For now not only have we experienced the loss of loved ones from our parents and grandparents generation but we’ve begun to lose friends of our own age as well. We’ve also got friend having knee, hip and shoulder replacements and other surgeries because their body parts have simply worn away. Then there are those who have chosen to live with their aches and pains. What the hell happened to us? Is all of this a result of working to0 hard, playing too hard or simply not maintaining our health as we should have? One has to wonder.
And things change. I would never have imagined standing with a group of male friends at a party or reception and instead of discussing sports, cars or women over a beer, we’re talking about what ails us! That’s right, the topic of the day is prescriptions were taking, treatments and doctor visits! I have to wonder, did our parents do the same?
Then some of us have the misfortune of going to a 35 or 40 year high school reunion and what we thought would be fun is disastrous. The first thing we notice is how much the herd has thinned out. then we begin hearing about classmates who have died from various forms of cancer, stroke, heart attack, lung disease or other killer diseases or conditions. Occasionally there is an accidental death or two, but most are health related. Then you find yourself looking around the room and wondering, “who the hell are all these old people?” “Some sure haven’t held up to the passage of time very well.” Then it hits you like a ton of bricks, you’re one of those old people and you wonder how you must look to them! Yeah, then it all makes sense.
So here I am today at 60, riding my bike four of five times a week, trying to watch what I eat, wondering why the hell I didn’t start taking better care of myself sooner. Actually I wonder why I didn’t just continue taking care of myself. In my early forties I was actually doing pretty well. I was going to the gym regularly, riding my mountain bike, feeling pretty good and weighed a lot less than I do now.
Then in 1995 I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and that sort of took the wind out of my sails. I couldn’t understand how I could be physically fit and still have HBP. It didn’t make sense. So they medicated me and life went on, but I was no longer motivated. Two years later I learned I had high cholesterol as well and freaked. My doctor told me it was genetic. So they threw some more meds at it and sent me on my way! Yeah, that’s about the time I lost all motivation, turned true couch potato and buried my bike in a corner of the garage.
35 pounds later I’m working it, doing what I should have been all along, active! I’m still not sure what’s worse being over weight or being hungry. right now I’m both, but it’s worth it to get my health in check. Hey I thought about it often enough, I just never got up off the couch to do anything about it. Better late than never!
So why now? What got me motivated again? Well all it took was a single email from my doctor. I went in for my annual check up in early February and had some blood work done. The email was about my results which were in the normal range (thank God) But what really got to me was the last sentence. It simply said “work on losing some weight.” So that’s what I’m trying to do because “If You Don’t Have Your Health, You Don’t Have Anything!”