Why I do it
Hope you’re well and staying warm. In Chicago, fall hit fast. My body isn't ready, shivering and hunching to keep myself warm. To make matters worse, I struggle with Primary Raynaud's, cause unknown. It's a condition, where my fingers and toes overreact to cold temperatures, turning them white and painful as the blood supply is constricted. In the fall, even a cold, wet produce department can trigger an attack. Waterproof gloves and a portable hand warmer in my pocket get me by. In the grand scheme, it's a minor, but annoying, health issue.
I grew up with my grandma reminding me, "you don't have anything unless you have your health." A sentiment most ignore, even though we know health issues can arise. Try as I might, I won't know if all my efforts to stay healthy actually worked until the end. According to my Chinese Astrology Chart, I will reach my life's purpose around age 100, so I'm thinking I've got a lot of life to live. My husband's grandfather, a doctor, lived well into his 90s, eating spatzle and stewed meat. His grandmother lived to be 102, washing down dinner with Kettle One. When she moved into assisted living, she started "cocktail hour at Belle's," drinks and a chopped liver app. My grandparents, immigrants from Italy and Romania, ate like "the old country," meat, potatoes, and pasta. They, too, enjoyed long, beautiful lives. Was it luck? Good genes? A whole foods diet? If wellness seems elusive, why work so hard on our health? With limited time here, shouldn't we throw caution to the wind and indulge? Maybe pasta and vodka are the way to go? It's tempting, but neither make me feel good. This quote recited by the nature guide on my recent Hudson Valley Retreat sums it up best - "Let every step you take on this earth be as a prayer." I feel that down to my bones. I want to feel my best for every step, not so much to expand my life span but to expand my health span. I want to feel healthy today and for as long as possible. I want to be awake enough to see it all. I want a strong body to carry me forward toward my goals. I want to be healthy to show up for me and my family. I want to be well, so I rebound faster if sickness surfaces. Moreover, I can't imagine a life without roasted veggies, soothing soups, and marinated proteins all slathered in healthy oils and healing herbs. It's what my body wants. 90% of the time I honor that. I save the other 10% for the pasta and vodka. Even though I have no idea how this great wellness experiment will end, I do it anyway. I'd like to have a 100 healthy years, but will I? Perhaps it's my life's purpose to find out.