Compromise Health… Compromised Life

In my pursuit of what I perceive to be a “good” goal, I sometimes catch myself neglecting a critical building block of life – physical health. Logically, I know better. Being an former athlete, I should know even better than that. When I finally come to my senses, I look back at the fact that if stupidity were a person, even it would have more common sense than me. The hustle, the bustle, the “grind,” work deadlines, appointments, life, these factors create a world in which “time” and I start running together, but by the end of some days, “time” ends before I’m even halfway done with my daily tasks.

Interestingly enough, in my mind all areas of health are always at the top of the list, but in reality, I look up from time to time to see them drifting down to the middle. For the first time in my life, inconsistent workouts due to the demands of work/life, and roller-coaster-like energy levels (because mental stress and even “positively” focused energy and productivity demand my waking attention) have become the more common experience. And obviously, as a result (no surprises here) more health ailments decided that despite my plans of exercise, health, productivity, and purpose, it needed to sideline me for days or even weeks.

Recently, a visit to the doctor for chronic pain ended with a diagnosis of a degenerative condition that will require obsessive-like action and attention in order to avoid surgery in the near future. Say what? I know, that’s how I felt. After processing the diagnosis, here is my conclusion: You can chase a life dream, but you will not obtain or sustain it, if you run out of energy (or good health) along the way.

I’ve had to quickly refocus my attention back on health, not in words only, but in action. Whether it is a stressful emotional, occupational, or physical experience, or significant school, work, or personal time constraints, sometimes you just have to decide that you cannot compromise on mental, physical, or emotional health. Literally, your life and happiness depends on it. There is no point in chasing a dream and deteriorating your health or emotions so much in the process that you cannot enjoy the fruits of your labor once the goal is accomplished.

When I was younger, older people told me that as you get older it becomes harder to balance life and easier to neglect your needs. Well, I’m not that old yet, and I’m certainly not dead yet, so although I lost focus for a little while, I’ve dusted myself off, looked in the mirror, said “oops,” walked away saying “ouch,” forgave myself for it all, and am back on the wagon! Anyone care to join me?