Risky Business

I’d love to be one of those cavalier people who swears they don’t make New Years Resolutions. I love the thought of living my life without being bound to the activities of modern society, not following the herd, rising above the convictions of mere mortals. Sadly, I am deeply entrenched in group-think on this one. The beginning of the year just seems to be the best place to make a resolution for change. There is an entire year ahead of you (which makes it SO easy to measure the timeline of your goals), the calendar is full of crisp, white boxes (in which you can write in your deadlines or accomplishments) and, well, everyone else is starting too!

This year my resolutions have come about after a detailed assessment of myself and a cold hard look at my life. In my real life I’m a nurse, and that’s what we do, we assess. It’s a little harder to turn those observations on yourself and to recognize what is so glaringly apparent when looking at others. In my assessment, things aren’t looking too good for the old girl. At 43 years of age I already know that it’s a matter of time before certain things start happening. Age related disease processes begin at ages much younger than I am now and only begin to show themselves in the later years. I’ve always convinced myself that I have good genetics so I have a little more lea way in my life. I can be in the sun more, don’t need to worry about what I eat or if I have one more cocktail. The thing is though, that as I’ve aged so have my relatives, and our health issues are becoming more apparent.

As a family, we really do ok. It isn’t that each of my elders has become debilitatingly sick with numerous age related illnesses. The problem is that for each of them that has ONE disease, I recognize that I am now at risk for every one of those diseases. There is the family member with diabetes, the one who had a stroke, the one with kidney disease, the one with Alzheimers, the one who had cancer, the one who had emphysema, the one with high blood pressure and the one who died of a heart attack. Now, at the advanced age of 43, I have a risk for each and everyone of those and it’s scary as all hell. That’s just the genetic round of Russian Roulette that I’m playing though. Once you factor in the damage I’ve done to myself (the sun, my eating & exercise habits, stress, weight, etc) you just have to sit in a corner, rocking and asking, “what the hell have I done to myself?”

And so, my friends, as to my New Years Resolution, it is simply this: do all I can to avoid an early and tragic death (oh, yeah, this is the desperation resolution!). To meet that goal I have to do all those things that end up on the typical resolution plan: more water, more exercise, more relaxation, less crappy food, less stress, less weight, less sunshine….Oh, yeah, and if I should die in a tragic car accident I want it known that I will be one pissed off poltergeist for having lived my last days on earth in such healthy depravity!

PS- please note, that my New Years Resolution did not start until January 6, so I do have a little bit of the rebel alive in me yet!

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