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~

5 comments

  • It can be so hard to focus on health when our society doesn’t put an emphasis on it. I try to work out 4 or 5 times a week, but it rarely goes like that. But seeing a dear friend struggle with chronic health issues in her early 30s has helped reinforce the importance of taking care of myself. Some health issues, like hers, are outside of our control. I want to do whatever I can to be as healthy as possible, but it can be difficult with temptations to eat poorly and be slothful are all around us.

  • I agree with Emily. I’m an avid half marathon runner, eat healthy food, and get plenty of sleep. Yet some people at work actually sneer at me and say they’re too busy with their families and work to have habits like mine (I’m single and choose to work a reduced schedule). Living a healthy lifestyle is hard enough with so much temptation around us, but when it’s viewed as a self-indulgent luxury, I have to wonder how our priorities have become so messed up.

  • I’m with you in the exercising boat. I don’t do it nearly enough. My biggest problem is that I’ll go through stretches of being healthy (eating better, exercising more, etc.) and then streteches of being pretty unhealthy. I like to think they balance each other out but I know the unhealthy stretches take their toll and not in good ways.

  • > 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.

    Sometimes it takes a near death experience, or a health condition that makes you realize how mortal you are. Your health directly affects your productivity. So, even looking at it from a bean counter perspective… having good health means being productive and being able to productively generate income for life goals that you have.

  • IMHO, as long as you’re not drinking, smoking, doing dope, or driving like a maniac, health comes down to the luck of the draw. What set of genes did you inherit? Did you grow up in an affluent family that could provide you with good food, sound shelter, and decent education? These are things over which we have no choice but that determine our health for our entire lives.

    For that reason, I don’t obsess over health issues. I don’t smoke or do dope, I stay off the roads as much as possible, and I eat real food instead of junk food. Otherwise, I forget about it.