Are you a smoker? An overeater? A drinker? A workoholic? Addicted to or obsessive about anything unhealthy? So many of us in this country are. How did we get this way? Does it worry you?
From the 1950s, women started working outside the home. Modern advances in medicine and technology made life easier. People moved from the city to the suburbs. Doing things faster became the only way to keep up.
When we had time to make our breads, desserts and meals from scratch and ate a reasonably sized portion; when we could walk or ride a bike to the grocery store or the library or school; when we could watch TV only until 9pm because the station went off the air after that hour; when part of the excitement of the day was seeing the mailman walk up to our mailbox; when we played outside til dinner and went back out to play til dusk…that’s when people were healthier, less stressed, had more time for the family and hobbies. When we watered our lawns and pulled weeds by hand; when soap and water was good enough to clean almost anything; when we ignored the occasional pesky insect; when we used fresh air, flowers and a fresh baked loaf of bread to enhance the scent of our homes…that’s when we were healthier and free of so many chemicals.
There are informative articles in newspapers and magazines, reality shows on TV and reports on the Internet all telling us what we need to do to be healthier, to avoid serious illnesses and to live our lives with more quality. We read them. We pay attention. We may do further research on the topic ourselves and talk to our family and friends about it. We even try to take some of that advice and put it into practice.
It’s quite obvious that most of us don’t succeed on the 1st or the 5th or the 20th attempt to set ourselves on the right track. We’ve gotten lazy, spoiled and seem to think as we did as teenagers…”nothing bad is going to happen to me.” We think we still have time, no matter how much time has passed since our initial effort. We carry on for decades still telling ourselves the same untruths…I’ll quit smoking by the end of the month…I’ll start on my healthy eating plan on Monday…After this one more fast food meal, I promise to cook dinner at home…it’s a party, I can’t deny myself a drink/dessert.
The reasons we do this are as varied as people are different…not enough time to plan, it’s too expensive, not ready to change yet, it’s so much easier to…spray chemicals on the lawn/make dinner out of a box/drive instead of walk or ride a bike/join a gym/play a board game with your kids, etc, etc, etc.
So, one day, you get the feeling that you have put off whatever it is you know in your heart that you should have done for yourself and your family just a bit too long. You feel as if you’re on the edge of ‘TOO LATE’. How hard will you kick yourself when the day comes that you are diagnosed with lung disease from smoking, diabetes from overeating, cancer from pesticide use, failing organs because you just couldn’t stop yourself from overindulging your wants instead of taking care of your needs? And at that point, will it matter how angry or sorry you are? Oops, it’s too late!
I’m as guilty of this behavior as anyone. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have medicines to cure illness, technology to make tasks faster and easier, enjoy eating to the fullest, or reap the benefits of the hard, sometimes stressful, work that affords you a comfortable life. But, I vow to live by Socrates’ adage, “Everything in moderation. Nothing to excess.”
Change is hard, but it will be well worth the effort.