Wednesday Nov 08 2006
By Vincent DiBianca
Regarding aging, health and well-being—I find myself interacting with people who live in two worlds. Many of my friends take medication (particularly antibiotics for loads of ailments), undergo surgery, eat what they want, rarely exercise and several smoke. Other friends (although fewer in number) believe that the body can heal itself inside out, eat nutritionally (organic foods, vegan or vegetarian), meditate and exercise regularly, take vitamins, supplements and healing herbs, don't smoke and would only consider surgery as the single last resort, if at all.
Sometimes it's tough to tell which is the happiest group. (My friend sure looked happy the other night eating this delicious looking decedent chocolate desert with syrup and whipped cream.) However, it's easy to tell which is the healthiest group. They are younger looking, have more energy, are more upbeat, more confident and are more trim and fit.
Belonging to the latter group (the healthniks), I sometimes feel hard-put to relate to my friends in group number one (the "I only have one life and I'll partake in all of its joys" group) -- some of who greatly admire my actions and others who think I'm absolutely nuts. Most of the time I laugh off people's digs about my healthy choices or shrug off the envious comments. Other times it's a challenge to communicate and interact without slipping into a certain arrogance or defensiveness. For example, I couldn't believe my good friend rather quickly resorted to gall bladder surgery and now is taking antibiotics because of a minor skin condition without really considering the alternatives (and the implications of his choices). Like all of us, I guess he has chosen his way to live life. Actually, I don't think it's a choice I think it's more habitual or accepted behavior or the unwillingness to confront the initial sensory response to change.
I love my friend. Maybe, his path is as good or better than mine -- I wouldn't bet on it. In fact, I'm not betting my life on it. There is too much overwhelming research mounting to support path #2. Plus, I need to trust my body and see how it feels and looks when I choose path #2 over path #1. (Recently, after a vacation I fell into old behaviors like my good friends who "enjoy life", I watched the pounds come bouncing back on, my energy decline. I experienced less deep sleep and relaxation and I watched the emergence of indigestion and headaches (unheard of for me). Although the donuts tasted great -- life really wasn't very enjoyable.
So, albeit cumbersome -- this is the first time that I've ever tried to express my feelings on the subject. (Okay, maybe I'm venting - I guess that's better than hyperventilating). By the way, although I may die tomorrow of a heart attack -- I want to give myself the best chance of a long, robust and healthy existence.