Key Takeaway: It is important to stay healthy for various reasons obvious and not so. But it is even more important to remember why you are trying to stay healthy, and to keep your health habits in moderation – so that they become means towards an end and not an end in itself.
It’s been a very difficult week.
On top of handling two projects, my beloved auntie Anita Ong – the best friend of my mother, who “brought color to our clan” (to quote my cousin), and a second mother to me – passed away last 21 October 2015 after a very complicated illness arising from radiation therapy complications, lasting approximately a year. She would have been 62 on 9 November. She brought joy to our family as never have been before and never will again, and we will miss her terribly. We already are. Please pray for her eternal repose.
Frankly, it’s been difficult to write since she left us – although out of my emotions came last week’s post, perhaps the most personal of all the posts on this site so far – but I am forcing myself to keep on doing so, hoping that it *really* gets me through. So far, the companionship I get from beloved friends is helping – and that is indeed one of the best medicines to any kind of sadness or grief. Remember, we are meant to live with others, not on our own, more so when you’re trying to live your true purpose.
The past week and this week was supposed to cover topics on healthy living to celebrate MUNI Market and what MUNI itself stands for – mindful living. That is, living with awareness – awareness towards yourself (your health) and the environment. Quite an irony, given that in the middle of last week, we lost a loved one due to health-related reasons.
(Read: My feature on MUNI)
As such, today, I’ll talk about health and its relation to purpose as we see it here.
We all know that health is a vital and crucial part of living – so important that there is an entire industry revolving around it (and I mean layman’s ways to stay healthy, not healthcare, which is a different story altogether). In this age, there is a fast-growing trend of healthful eating and living – organic food and drinks, exercising technology, juicing and salads… you name it. This is especially common for people who are trying to watch their weight, believing that this kind of lifestyle will help them lose weight. To a certain extent, yes, but that’s a different discussion altogether.
Why is staying healthy suddenly so attractive now? Well, for a plethora of reasons. Some people want to stop getting sick. Others want to live for as long as possible. Yet others want to be as fit as they can. The list goes on, and they are all good reasons.
Let’s take it one step further. So what if you’re able to stay as healthy as possible? What will you do with that one additional day of being alive and kicking? Sure, a person might focus on getting and staying healthy. But for what purpose? What if that person doesn’t really have anything to live for in spite of living the most healthful lifestyle you’ve ever seen?
We’ve all heard stories of high-achieving students, workaholics, or young entrepreneurs who literally work their asses off, skipping meals (or eating them very irregularly) and sleep as they work to achieve what they need to achieve. At first, we may question their lifestyle practices – they should eat and sleep regularly, relax and not focus so much on work, etc. This is true. But for someone living their higher purpose – someone who has a very clear and definite reason to get up each day looking forward to its entirety – they may find it very difficult to do; they would prefer focusing on the things they’re doing.
I know this, because it happens to me as well. Sometimes, even with a bad cold, I insist on still working or going out, when I have the energy to do so. Predictably, my mother would force me to rest – and I do rest when I in turn feel bad. But yes, it is very important to keep our health, for reasons obvious and not so.
If we are in a state of general health, we have the energy to do the things we have and want to do. We have the strength to live our purposes, in a way that does not entail needing to take a couple of days off for rest every month (weekends not counting) or worrying that we might drop dead soon (exaggerating, but you get the drift) or need to see a doctor. But we are also actually mandated to keep healthy, again for various reasons.
As a Christian, I believe that my body, created in the image and likeness of our God, is one of his earthly temples – especially when we always invite Jesus and the Holy Spirit to come into our lives. In a way, we do welcome the Lord to “live” in our bodies – and as such we ought to keep order in it. Furthermore, when we are always sick, we make things inconvenient for others: if we always have catchy diseases, we run the risk of infecting others; and loving and caring family members or friends would “need” to take their time off more often to tend to us. So keeping healthy is a mandate not just for your own self, but for others too.
Remember, we are interdependent on each other, and it is a benefit for ourselves and others – many others – when we stay healthy. If we get sick, more than our loved ones will be inconvenienced; we have many more stakeholders than we think we do. So the next time you think that nobody likes, loves, or needs you, think again: you ARE loved and you ARE needed.
But on the flip side of the coin, it’s also a matter of balance and keeping everything in moderation. And on what works for you. So it’s not about going after the latest health trends in food or exercise, wanting to stock up on every last healthy food out there (I do so only for some of them, and only because I actually love eating them) or joining the bandwagon in fitness apps that you only half-heartedly use every morning. Remember why you want and/or need to stay healthy, and don’t overdo it. Like money, make your health your servant, not your boss.
Wishing you a healthy and purposeful weekend ahead!
Featured Photo from Public Domain Pictures.