So this past Monday was my yearly physical – you know the time of year where you report to the doctor’s office for small talk, go through the standard battery of tests to make sure you’re “healthy” and then part ways with the wholly unoriginal “See you next year!” I continue to follow this routine although I’m more than confident that there is nothing wrong with me. I exercise more than the average person (I better I own a gym), I eat relatively well, I get the most sleep a father of 2 young children can expect to get; overall I’m healthy. But, everybody has heard the story of the guy who goes in for a routine physical and finds out he has a deadly disease and nobody saw it coming because “he was healthy”. Now this piece is not about the measures of health we use, the validity of tests we deem worthy of determining health, or faults of our medical system, this is a piece about understanding why your health is important.
As I stated I have two little boys; two awesome, handsome, hilarious little boys. I also have a wife; an energetic, strong, loving mother and wife. The health I’m checking on each year is about them, not me. So when my doctor asked why I was there I told him “for my family”. As I drove home I took the visit into my thoughts and realized that was exactly why I was there – to make sure I’m doing everything I can to ensure I’m ready and capable for my family. It was a profound feeling and one that you only understand once you have people you love that depend on you. It provided a moment of clarity that I hope more people can find.
I know, I know I’m not the first person to write about how maintaining a healthy body is the most unselfish thing one can do for their loved ones but I’m OK with that because it clearly hasn’t sunk in with the majority of people. Maybe it’s a Pittsburgh thing, or an east coast thing or an American thing but somewhere along the line we all lost focus on the fact that not only will your poor health affect you but also the lives of your loved ones. That could be anything from managing diabetes, to deteriorating to a point that you need to be cared for another person, most likely a family member OR even worse, dying prematurely. Nobody wants that but there are a lot of people that are living in a way that is not reflective of that desire. Well guys and gals it’s time to stop talking and start doing.
“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s time to stop telling yourself that you don’t have the time or that it is selfish of you to go to the gym because you should be with your family or that it doesn’t fit my schedule or insert another excuse here. It’s time to understand that we’re all busy; we all have families and jobs and responsibilities and social lives. It’s time to recognize that the most unselfish thing you can do is maintain a level of health that provides you freedom and independence well into your golden years so you don’t burden your family and friends with taking care of you when you’re no longer able. It’s time to make it fit in your schedule, it’s that important.
So please spare me the excuses of why you can’t work on your health and fitness and show how much you love your family by taking care of yourself. Show that you care about yourself enough so that physical limitations don’t exist and you are free to do whatever you’d like, whenever you’d like. This is the stuff that inspires people, myself included, and plants the seed for others that THEY CAN to do it too. Be the change and show your loved ones how much care, it’s that important.