being healthy

One of the things I come back to again and again in my conversations with family, friends and colleagues is that there is no way to waste money on good health. Organic food can be pricey. A gym membership can be expensive compared to working out at home. Vitamins or medications can be burdensome. But if you can spend your money on one thing in this life, don’t let it be education, or your family, or your belongings. Spend it on health.

Warren Buffet is 78 and the second richest man on this blue dot. Do you think he’d be getting the accolades for wealth and investing acumen if he had died at 42? Maybe. Many rich people have died young. Many poor people have died old (and unlamented). Wealth and health have long been completely unrelated. I’m sure every one of us knows old poor people and young rich people, and the opposite, and many variations. But age has long been seen as a virtue, at least as valuable as wealth.

But the key question is: would you rather be old and moderately well to do, or die fabulously wealthy at a young age? I doubt many of us would wish to live a highroller lifestyle and die at 40 versus living a moderate middle-class lifestyle and dying at 80. Health is, in a sense, the ultimate prize.

If you consider a long life a valuable thing to pursue, it’s doubly amazing that so many people don’t bother. I pursued my career at the expense of my health for the best part of my twenties. I wasn’t thinking about life in my sixties – it was my money and I wanted it now. How many times have you told yourself that you’re just too busy at work to take some time to exercise?

I don’t exercise as much as I should. Five years ago I was running competitively, lifting weights 3-4 times per week and eating a 90% vegetarian diet – I was in the best shape of my life. But work, kids and life got in the way and I slid waaaaay back on the health scale. It’s easy to do, and if you’ve ever gotten in shape you know how simple it is to slide back. But that’s no excuse. Your health is the only thing – other than your mind – that you can control in this life.

Don’t neglect your health. I lost 100 pounds (actually a bit more) and it’s possible for anyone (although I’ve regained a good chunk of that and need to work harder on keeping it down). Remember that your health is worth more than all the money in the world. Just ask someone who’s not healthy, and you’ll get a straight answer.

Photo by ~ggvic~