When Your Health Fails, It Really Makes You Think

This week’s blog is going to be a departure. I won’t be clowning some hapless nitwit who’s put their foot wrong on a global stage. I won’t be turning some insensitivity or low key cruelty perpetuated against a minority group into a teachable moment. No, this week, I want to talk about something I’ve never really blogged about before – health.

I’ve said very often that I love clichés. They’re popular for a reason. There’s a grain of truth in the many time worn phrases that we bandy about to quickly convey a sentiment. Health is wealth is a classic. It’s true, whether you believe it now or not. And it only takes a moment, maybe a series of moments, to convert those who don’t believe in it around to the right way of thinking.

For the past few weeks I’ve been a third party to something very disturbing: One of my best friends has gotten sick. This is someone I admire more than most people in the world. Someone who inspires me, motivates me, believes in me, and gives me courage. She tells me the truth. She’s someone I learn from almost every time we speak, and her body is failing her.

She’s fighting the good fight, God love her. She’s blessed that she has the best insurance and access to high quality health care. She has supportive family, friends and work peers around her. She has everything she needs to overcome this episode, and I sincerely believe that she will. She’s just that kind of person.

She’s still on her feet, still meeting her daily obligations, with some difficulty, but watching the effort needed has been – chastening. It’s put into crystal clear perspective what I value and why, what and who deserves my attention, and when is a good time to do almost anything.

My life – my working life – is the media, communicating, writing, storytelling. I’m a novelist, a content marketeer, a journalist. But the news is the news, isn’t it? There’s always someone doing something somewhere for some reason. As long as there’s a world that won’t change.

Watching my friend go to doctor after doctor, having test after test and struggling to do something as basic as breathe and walk without wheezing. Well, it’s not overstating the matter at all to say that this week? I could care less about the news.

My brain is full of questions, and my heart is full of prayers for her to recover her health, to stay strong and focused during this time of trial. I’m not prostrate with worry. Thankfully, I’ve managed to win that particular battle of adulting. Worry takes too much energy, after all. But it’s cousin, this nameless specter that hovers at the back of my mind and periodically pokes me to make sure that I don’t forget, maintains a conspicuous presence.

It’s not as though I’m completely unfamiliar with illness. I lost my father to cancer, and my mother just turned 79 a few months ago. I’m watching her slow down, bit by little bit, thank everything, which makes it easier to handle. But seeing a friend, one close to me in age, have her body betray her. *whistles*

All I can say is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Whatever you’ve done, whatever mistakes you’ve made, face them. Find a way to forgive and move on. Pursue your dreams hard. Ignore every distraction that stands in the way of achieving your goals. But do not do so at the expense of your health.

Health is wealth.

I call it the philosophy of one. As in, you only get one – set of lungs, one heart, one liver, one pair of hands, legs, etc. Take care of them. There is nothing more important than your health. Not your pride, not your career, not your ambition, nothing. Why? The philosophy of one: You only get one life, and your body dictates how well you live it.

Prioritize exercise, your diet, stress management, sleep, and securing a healthy environment in which to live. You may need that strength, that foundation, to battle unforeseen problems with your health. That investment in self is one that you will not regret making as long as you live.

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