My life changed on March 15, 2009 with an emergency room visit. It wasn’t a heart attack (thank you, God) – it was an anxiety attack. But at 47 years old, 200 pounds, 44% body fat, medicated for high blood pressure, and living (more like dying) with a massive amount of stress – well the ER docs kept me there for four hours to rule out a cardiac event. And despite my motivation to change my life on March 16, 2009, I still didn’t get serious for three more months. I talked to my doctor. I talked to a nutritionist. I talked to a couple trainers. I talked. I worked out a little, but I didn’t want to “get crazy” about it. Didn’t get serious until June 2009. I was on an elliptical machine at the gym and saw a woman wearing a Bodybugg. I knew what that was for, but I never wanted to commit to the program bad enough to pay for it. And then a thought popped into my head – “Buy that Bodybugg. Get help. Do what you’re told. Do not argue. Do not compromise. Follow directions.” And then the emergency room bill came. Wow. Turns out the hospital we went to wasn’t the right one for my insurance. I’ve been paying that down that bill every month since summer 2009. Today was a big day. I made the last payment.
PAID IN FULL
Hated paying that bill every month because it seemed so unnecessary. We could have gone to the right hospital. I could have taken care of myself sooner – ummmm – no, I wouldn’t have. I wasn’t going to change anything without a big kick in the butt. I can’t express how grateful I am that God gave me a wake-up call. I truly believe I was killing myself slowly with my lifestyle choices. God may have welcomed me home if I died sooner than His time, but I’d rather stay longer. I believe He has given us free will to make bad choices. When I started to learn more about this body, I recognized it as a gift. It’s my vessel for traveling around in this life. I also believe that I am supposed to take care of it.
So yes, my have priorities changed. I’m doing less cleaning, less grading, and less fancy lesson planning. I’m working out, cooking, and blogging. There are days when I feel like I’m being very selfish. But then a reminder is provided – a friend asks for advice, a student tells me they won’t quit because I won’t quit, or I hear from someone I’ve never met who tells me they’ve connected with something I wrote.
However, I’m very worried. The person I love the most is following my old path. Stress is a slow killer. No one can live a stress free life, but so many of us are under too much stress these days. Regular exercise (cardio and strength) and clean eating helps the body combat the negative side effects of stress. Part of that is just getting away from everything for a little bit of time each day. Put the worry down and do something completely different for an hour. Give the brain a break, listen to some tunes, and pump some blood. Make endorphins. It is soooo much easier to deal with everything with endorphins. It’s so much easier to relax when you have a little good muscle fatigue. It’s so much easier to have energy and a good mood when you eat clean food every few hours.
If God brings me home sooner rather than later, it’s all good. I would have had to pay that bill anyway, but today, I know I learned the lesson I was supposed to learn that day. My life will be exactly as long as it is supposed to be. I will pay attention and follow the path laid out before me and be mindful of what I’m supposed to do along the way.