I’ve been thinking a lot about growing older. Granted, I’m only 26 right now (still very young to most people) but those 26 years have gone by at a break neck speed…pretty soon I am going to be 52 and wonder what happened to all those years! What kind of person will I be then? What will my family look like? Where will I be living? I am happy that I am still relatively young…I have enough time to mold my future to what I would like it to be.
Right now my health has been something that is constantly on my mind. As you all know, I am actively trying to lose weight and eat well, so of course I’ve been thinking about it. There have been a lot of close friends and family members who have been dealing with health issues, so that is another reason why I’ve been so preoccupied. My cousins wife just recently passed away prematurely, leaving her family and four young children. She was in remission twice from leukemia, but got pneumonia shortly after leaving the hospital, which eventually took her life. My grandmother had two large strokes which have severly affected her ability to move, talk, and eat. On both of my parents sides there are so many diseases; cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, gout, acid reflux…the list goes on. And while one contributing factor to getting sick is your family history, a lot of it has to do with the way you live your life, and the lifestyle choices you make.
My father is an excellent man…he has always been an extremely hard worker, very skilled with his hands, and has a true engineering mind. Growing up, we called him the “Warehouse of Knowledge” because he always seems to know the most random and seemingly useless facts about everything. He is always loving, willing to listen and give advice to anyone who asks it, and is very generous with his time…sometimes to a fault. He has worked as a Service Manager at a Ford dealership for as long as I can remember, and he is very good at a very tough and stressful job. His job requires that he handles all the complaints for the dealership in a kind and tactful way. Definately easier said than done…I know I wouldn’t be able to hold my tongue with people yelling in my face, but somehow he does. Unfortunately, it seems (to me) that he internalizes the stress, but never finds a release for it. He is always dealing with high blood pressure, which can sneak up on him at the most random times, such as in a restaurant if someone walks behind him, or if he is around too many people. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and has to wear a mask when he sleeps to help regulate his breathing, because without it, he stops breathing 20+ times a night. He also had a minor heart attack (um, if there is such a thing as a minor heart attack) which scared the bejesus out of my family. All of these things, and he still lives a pretty sedentary lifestyle…he comes home from work and relaxes by watching TV and eating, which does nothing but aggravate the problems he already has. My mother worries about him all the time, and she has tried different ways to motivate him to eat better and exercise, but none if it has worked so far. He is too tired to wake up early to exercise, then he is exhausted mentally and physically from working all day to exercise after work. It is an endless cycle that needs to break somewhere, and I don’t want it to happen by another heart attack or something worse.
I think that if my father can see someone who is working hard to make positive changes and is actually succeeding, then it might give him the motivation to make a change for himself. I want that person to be me…he has seen me try so many other things to lose weight, and most of them failed miserably. This time I know it is different. My mind changed before my body has…I don’t think of things the same way as I have before. Just the fact that I have been thinking about my father’s health is proof of that. Before, I would never have felt that anything he was doing was wrong, because I was in the same boat with him. We were both eating foods that we shouldn’t, and we were both too “tired” to exercise. But it is time for me to build a new history for my family…I don’t want my son Logan growing up in a house where it is acceptable to spend days in front of the TV and eat without thinking about it.
The way I figure, based on the predispositions of my family, I already have a lot working against me. In my family tree, there are not a lot of people who have passed away of old age, if you catch my drift. The years may be going by faster than I remember, but I am still young. I choose to take control of my life, and not let it just happen to me. I want to be 50 or 60 or 90 years old and still healthy and keeping up with my children and grandchildren. That is something that motivates me every time I run. It is what helps me get through shin splints and sidestitches and sore legs and to keep pushing for more.