It’s Easier to Stay Healthy Than to Get Healthy

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

So, yesterday my state announced a list of measures to re-open some businesses and give people the option to go back to work. That’s a welcome sign after all these weeks of sitting around the house. But it comes at a price. Social distancing will be enforced, and protective gear is required. No mask, no service. I’m still trying to figure out how that’ll work in banks.

I remember when getting into a bank meant walking past an armed guard and getting into school didn’t. Times sure have changed. Eight years ago, people were leery of teenagers in a hoodie, and now they have to cover their whole face. Wow! We may have to actually talk to people before we jump to conclusions. What is this world coming to?

Lots of things will change as we move ahead. Sadly, one thing that won’t change is our general approach to health. We’ve gotten so used to just filling the tank and running through life that we forget about preventive maintenance. Besides, that’s for old people and hypochondriacs. When something breaks, you go to the doctor, he gives you pills, and life goes on. Right?

There’s an entire industry devoted to nothing more than changing the oil in your car. And it’s there because people recognize the need. The book says change the oil every 5000 miles, so we change it. Okay, maybe after 7500 miles, but that’s better than nothing. Of course, while you’re there, they try to sell you everything from air filters to air fresheners. It’s all about money.

One time I told the guy I wanted an oil change – nothing more. I was clear about that. First he came back with the dipstick. “Sir, your oil is dirty.” Yep. That’s why I’m here. Then he told me my serpentine belt was worn. Not today. Then he came back with the air filter. I cut him off mid-sentence. “Is that mine?” He nodded. “Then put it back where you found it!”

Yet, when the mechanic points to the owner’s manual and says it’s time to change the transmission fluid or engine coolant, we start to pull back. I can honestly say I’ve never had a car break down because of old coolant or transmission fluid. And I can honestly say I’ve never heard of the brain wearing a hole through the skull. You know, until it happened to me.

Preventive maintenance is simply a practice of fixing things before they break. It’s based on the premise that a complete engine rebuild is costs a few dollars more than a few quarts of oil, or that being sick is more expensive than taking care of your body in the first place. One leaves you walking, and the other leaves you barely able to walk. Both pretty well suck.

For me, preventive maintenance was always a matter of necessity. The cars I could afford pretty much demanded it. A quart of oil leaks out the bottom, I add a quart in the top, and voila! Fresh oil! I wish I was making that up. Smart? No. Not even close. Yet, how many of us do that with our own body? We run and run, and only think about the essentials when the dipstick goes dry.

Right now, people are trying every kind or remedy imaginable, safe or not, to battle this virus. Yet those same people are going through the stores without a mask, reaching over complete strangers to get a can of soup. The hand sanitizer aisle is empty, but the vitamin aisle is fully stocked. You can’t find a box of macaroni, but the produce section is brimming with variety. Do we see a trend?

Which is why I say we won’t learn a lot from this, at least in terms of our overall health. We’re so focused on making the bad things go away that we don’t even consider keeping them away in the first place. We’re so busy trying to fix what’s broken that we don’t take care of what works. And we all know the inevitable result of that. More stuff breaks. Important stuff.

At some point, we all come face to face with the choices we’ve made. Preventive health isn’t something we think about too much until the “check engine” light comes on. And, while nothing we know of today will prevent any of us from getting this virus, we do know that it’s a whole lot easier to overcome if we’re in good health to begin with.

Hopefully we’ll come away from this with a more vibrant zest for living, a stronger love for family & friends, and a greater appreciation for life’s many blessings. Part of that appreciation is taking care of what we’ve already got. Don’t wait for the “check engine” light to come on. Take care of yourself before something goes wrong. You’re worth whatever it takes.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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