Why the gift of health is SO important
Your Magenta Monday Magic.
Grab a cup of coffee…this could take awhile!
Earlier this year my husband, Charlie, said, "I’d really like to go to the Atacama Desert in Chile."
While it wouldn’t be my first choice, I am game to travel anywhere!
So, we put together a two-week trip visiting Santiago, Valparaiso, the wine country, and 5 nights in the highest, driest desert in the world.
And the best part? We decided to take our adult kids - 24 & 26. We hadn’t been on a big trip with all of us in years.
We all were SO excited!
So, you may be asking…”ok Bridget, but what does this have to do with health?”
Bear with me for a moment while I get there…
First, a peek behind the curtain into my creative process with these emails. I start writing them about 2-3 weeks prior to the first one going out. I then work with a copywriter to help tune them up and then we schedule the entire month at a time.
This means that when you’re reading about a situation that I’ve experienced in my own life, it generally happened up to a month prior, or longer.
Here’s the deal - originally in the email that was to go out today, I talked about the importance of health in creating a life you love. And all of that is absolutely true! Prioritizing Health is the pillar that gives you access to all the others.
I used an example asking, “how can you take your dream trip with your husband if you’re not taking care of your body? Or…he’s not taking care of him?”
So, back to my story…
I have been frustrated with my husband’s lack of physical regimen - he is 66 - 10 years older than I am and for the most part, is in pretty good health. He sees the doctor regularly, flosses and brushes multiple times a day, and eats pretty well.
But when it comes to regular exercise, he’s always “too busy.” Yes, he works incredibly hard, but even so, there was a time when he was very committed to working out regularly, getting up early to get to the gym.
Honestly, it makes me nuts!
I can’t understand why - when we’ve both prioritized travel as a critical element in our lives - and physical health is a critical part of that - he doesn’t take it more seriously. I definitely don’t want to nag him but I also want us to live a long, happy, healthy life…together.
So last week, he wasn’t watching where he was going and he took a spill. Initially he was fine, but over a couple of days, his knee swelled up like a balloon and was very stiff.
I love my husband dearly, but I can tell you he is NOT a good patient. Whether it’s a man cold or a paper cut, he makes it clear that he is suffering. Can you relate?
On top of this, he was incredibly frustrated and feeling bad, which made it SO much more difficult to want to take care of him. This, coupled with my own frustration (and maybe a touch of self-righteousness) made for some tense days leading up to our trip.
Despite all of this, I remained optimistic. I started laying out my clothes, charging my iPad, and filling up my travel toiletry bottles.
Sunday morning he went to the ER just to see if they could drain any of the fluid or offer any support, to no avail.
It was then, on the eve of our trip, that we realized that given his knee brace, lack of mobility, and the long journey, he couldn’t travel. We made the heartbreaking decision to cancel the trip.
And just like that, life imitates art.
Cue all the feels: Disappointment. Frustration. Sadness. Disappointment. Anger Empathy. Self-righteousness - I told you so!
Did I mention disappointment?
If it had just been the two of us, I think it would have been easier to stomach, but we were so looking forward to the rare opportunity to all be on this adventure together.
I felt sick as I canceled the flights, which was only exacerbated when my phone notified me that it was time to check in, literally as I was doing so.
Later in the month, you’ll read about how important the structure of routine is in your life - especially as things go sideways. And that’s where I went.
I woke up Monday morning at my usual time and was feeling sad and a bit sorry for myself. I couldn’t help but think, “I should be finishing up packing before we leave for the airport.” I knew that I was being a bit of a baby, but I also knew to give myself the space to work through it.
So, instead of putting the final touches on my packing, I practiced meditation.
I took my dog for a walk, being particularly conscious of the sun rising as it always does, the beauty of the fallen leaves on the ground, and the vibrant colors of a flowering shrub.
I went to the gym and did a particularly hard workout even while noticing the exact moment when we should be loading the car.
By the time I got home, I felt more centered.
I had more space for understanding.
Instead of contempt, I felt more love, connection, and empathy for Charlie.
While rationally I knew that life goes on and it will all be ok, I started to feel it emotionally as well.
Thank you for allowing me to share my life in real-time. At the risk of boring you to death, I am going to close with a portion of the email that was originally scheduled, as I think it’s very relevant.
If you are in poor physical health, the things that make life worth living will be lost.
And the positive emotion you get from all of those activities - joy, connection, love, awe, gratitude - will be lost along with them.
Let’s face it - whether with ourselves, our spouse/partners, or in-laws/parents - we’re heading into the years when the chances of things going sideways increase BIG TIME.
Having a healthy physical and spiritual routine is preventative and will support you when things don’t go according to plan.
Don't you want to be as strong and resilient as possible?
By prioritizing your health, you’ll fuel all the other Pillars.
You become empowered to create a life you love.
When you’re healthy, you can play.
You can be joyful.
You can travel.
You can take that art class or start your journey to getting a black belt.
But when you are not feeling your best, poor health overrides almost anything else when it goes south.
You know what they say…
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone!
It’s the 1° shift that makes the biggest difference over time.
This week we are shifting our perspectives about prioritizing health!
Whether it’s exercising daily, consciously choosing to eat better, or drinking a lot more water - instead of thinking about it as a chore, consider it a beautiful gift you can give yourself.
Let’s begin by writing down the one next small step you can take to improve your health today.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Take a 15-minute walk without AirPods or music. Enjoy the silence. Savor nature
Drink a big glass of cold, delicious water
Start looking for a church or social group you can join
Sign up for a hot yoga class (and then go to it!)
Set your alarm to get up earlier than normal so you can meditate or journal.
Then tomorrow, pick something else on the list or add your own.