Real Health

I was afraid of getting older, but in time I learned to value my life experience--and my health.

BY: Jaye Lewis

 
I've never been an athlete.

I've never been much interested in sports, ever since I stopped playing touch football with the boys when I hit puberty. I've tried tennis. I hit the ball too high, too long, and way over into left field. I've tried softball. Thank goodness that ball is "soft" and big, because it felt just awful when it hit me in the eye. I tried running, but I couldn't get anyone to chase me.

Finally, I settled on walking, and for a number of years I walked three to five miles a day. I realize that there is an Olympic sport referred to as "walking," but when I tried that, all I succeeded in doing was throwing my hip out.

I'm definitely NOT an athlete, but I make do, especially in my mid-life years.

Which brings a question to my mind.

When did I hit mid-life? I remember when I hit 30. I had to visit a grief counselor, because I knew my life was over. I remember 40. I had to see a grief counselor the day after my first child graduated from high school and moved out of the house, because I knew my life was over.

Then I hit 50, and I was all excited, because I was able to join an organization called AARP. My husband was especially excited because he is younger than I, and he got to join too!

Fifty became the magic age. I knew that as long as I was in good health, in this day and age, I probably had a good 50 years ahead of me.

Then came the asthma. OK, I had that much earlier, but it only became life-threatening after 50. Then came the fibromyalgia. OK, I had THAT earlier, but it's not life-threatening. Then came the arthritis, and more recently at 55, the diabetes. Somewhere in there, I became very interested in pharmaceuticals. But finally one day I became free.

I began by noticing the sunsets, and now I had the time to stop and really wonder at the beauty and the magnitude of it all. Then I moved onto the sunrises, and I quickly found out that if I wasted the early morning, I missed the loveliest part of the day. Then I began to notice how grateful I was to be able to witness the changing of the seasons--the first whisper of spring, the rustling of the leaves beneath my feet in the fall.

When illness would hit me, I found that I actually enjoyed the solitude--a time to reflect, gather my thoughts, and pray, at leisure. I found that I was experiencing this mid-life season, and I was no longer missing every moment, shackled to the chains of worry and what might be. I found that worrying about tomorrow only served to make me overlook the blessings of today.

It's not always easy. A few loads of laundry and a pile of dishes can take an entire day. But then, I don't push myself a lot. So I forget to make the bed as I watch the rosy glow of dawn meet the rising sun. I have time to walk our wooded acre with my little dachshund straining at the leash.

I get to meet the day every day. I get to say goodnight to the sunsets. I've studied a lot of sunsets in the last five years, and I've never seen two that were alike. I get to know my Creator as I never have before, and I've gotten to make MY mind up about the mysteries of life. I've grown certain that all this was no accident.

I feed the birds and I take great delight in their multi-colored hues, especially in the spring. I drag a chair to stand on so that I can fill the feeders to the brim. I say a little prayer as I wobble, a little cockeyed, on the chair, and I laugh at myself and all the pretensions of my younger life.

I take great delight in my life. I thank God for all the precious little things of every day. Friends. Family. Neighbors. And health--a health of the soul.

For I have come to understand what real health is, and when you have REAL health, then you truly have everything.
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