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“Does it bother you that your husband is going to die young?”
This was the well-intentioned question I was asked when I had told a colleague I was about to be married, and that—by the way—my soon-to-be husband had been a Type One Diabetic since he was in his early teens.
That was over 38 years ago, and to date my husband remains healthier than most people I know. To be fair, despite the insensitivity of the question I was asked, most people who live with Diabetes do indeed suffer a host of symptoms and serious “complications” related to their chronic disease. My husband Jim has worked hard over the decades to manage his condition and to thrive. He is living proof that his dietary and lifestyle choices do indeed make a difference in the quality of life and the state of his health.
Over the decades of living with someone who lives with a chronic and life-threatening disease, I have learned a few things.
First, I have learned that our physical health is one of the most precious blessings we have. There is not one aspect of life that is not affected by our health. This is true for spirituality as well as for our general happiness, our financial well-being, our goals, career, family life, and our compassion for others. We should never take it for granted… yet all too often, we do.
Second, I have learned that different people have different motivations toward guarding, improving, or even neglecting their health. We all want to feel good and to look good. We want to enjoy and protect our loved ones. It isn’t easy. We are bombarded on all sides of the culture with messages about youth and vitality, but also about age and illness. A fancy new diet or new medical breakthrough comes along and it can be hard to sort through the noise and make good choices. Yet choose we must, even in the face of confounding messages from the American Medical Association, Big “Pharma” and the Food Pyramid schemes.
It would be fair to say I am a bit obsessed with learning about human nutrition, health and well-being. I do find it fascinating. It is a passion of mine, but it’s also very personal. I know what motivates me.
When it comes to health, what is your “Why?” Once we know what motivates us, all the choices get easier.