December 14 – Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? I'll be entering my 40th year of life in about three weeks, and I am very grateful for my health.
This year we purchased some additional life insurance, and I was pretty antsy about the physical. High cholesterol and triglycerides run in my family, and I haven't exactly been keeping healthy habits. Being pregnant and nursing for most of the last nine years can wreak havoc on the diet, but that excuse was long over. It was time to be proactive.
I started walking each day a few months before we put all this insurance stuff in motion. That has helped with the cholesterol numbers in the past, but I was a little worried since I'm older now.
The test results were mailed to our house while I was in Minnesota at a writing retreat. I remember Robert sheepishly saying, "I'm afraid your total cholesterol is 206." I said, "OHMYGOD THAT'S GREAT!!!" It had been WAY higher than that the last time I'd had it checked. And my ratio of "good to bad" cholesterol was excellent.
I am thankful to have seen a clear cause and effect at work this year. But I am just as aware that there are people who do all the right things and still suffer health problems, and there are people who do all the "wrong" things and live to be 100. Not to mention that cholesterol and related numbers are only one piece of the health puzzle.
So I express gratitude for my good health in two (perhaps paradoxical) ways:
- by practicing good stewardship of my body: getting enough sleep, exercising, eating as mindfully as I can (though I have a LONG way to go on this), and refusing to punish myself for not looking like I did in college.
- and also by recognizing that good health is a mystery and a grace. So I hold all these things very gently and try to remember that each day is a gift and tomorrow is not guaranteed.