Time: Enemy or Friend?
What are you investing in for your future?
It was estimated that in 2016 1,685,210 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people would die from the disease. About 2200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds. Arthritis is reportedly the leading cause of disability in the US.
These three conditions have one major characteristic in common — They take time to develop.
I have met people in my practice who think these diseases won’t happen to them. I have met others who think they are inevitable. In a way they are both right. It just depends on how you have spent your time. It’s cliche, but people say it takes 20 years to make an overnight success. Likewise, it can take 20 years to create a health crisis. In many of the cases of these and other diseases by the time you are diagnosed, the chances are great you were developing the disease for years, possibly even decades, before it reached a detectable point.
There were probably warning signs along the way. In the case of arthritis, maybe the mild ache you used to experience after a hard workout gradually became more and more apparent, and it started to linger a little longer each time. Next thing you know it’s there the moment you wake up and stays with you most of the day. Then one day you bend over to pick up a sock and you suffer a full blown disc herniation. Cardiovascular disease may have started out with just feeling winded after going up a flight of stairs. Then it took a minute to catch your breath after a brief walk. Suddenly you have a piercing pain in your chest, your left arm is numb, and you’re being rushed to the hospital. In the case of cancer, it could just be a subtle feeling of fatigue that gradually snowballed into problems with concentration, digestion, unexpected weight loss, and failing energy. Next thing you know you’re being told it would be best to have your affairs in order.
The thing is when a problem takes that long to develop, it is too easy to ignore. There is no urgency to change when it seems like everything is “fine”, or at the very least “not that bad.” You add on the fact that most everyone has monthly bills, work deadlines, family schedules to keep, phone bills, grocery bills….You can get stuck treading the water of daily life while your health is slowly slipping away, and you just don’t feel it strongly enough to act. By the time you get hit with a clear enough signal of the problem, it might be too late to do anything. Suddenly that far off problem is here and now and time has run out.
I would like to hear that I am wrong. That you are one of the few who already realizes it’s important to manage your health proactively so that you’re keeping problems at bay, and preventing the stress of daily life from breaking you down prematurely. The fact is if you are not actively managing your time and prioritizing health, you are invariably making time for illness and disease. Your battle with gravity will get out hand. The very oxygen you breath will start working against you by forming free radicals that cause unmitigated cell damage. Blood vessels will close down and shut off. Joints will fuse in mechanically disadvantageous positions.
You get the picture.
I urge you to think about what you would like to be capable of doing 20, 30 or even 40 years from now. If, for example, you want to be able to play with your grand kids and take care of yourself every day, you might have to change the way you live. You won’t reach that goal passively, or by accident. You are blessed simply because you have the power to choose to live in a way that helps regenerate and revitalize your body, rather than allowing it to degenerate and decay prematurely. At any age, at any level of health, there are always things you can do to make your body function better and be healthier. The sooner you start working on developing habits that help you grow and repair, instead of breaking down and falling into disrepair, the more likely you are to have more, quality time.