How to Build a Healthy Life (pages 149-150)

from "A Nurse Practitioner's Guide to Smart Health Choices"

Building a healthy life is like climbing a mountain. The challenge is always before you and there is effort involved. Look for things to hold on to, handholds and footholds that feel solid and that you trust. Once you’ve found them, climb steadily moving from one hold to the next, ever ascending, until at last you reach the summit—satisfaction with your health and comfort in your life.

Your health rests in your hands and in the hands of your Maker. There is much in life you cannot control. To handle the unexpected and prevail over adversity, you need faith and trust in your power to endure.

Faith comes from the heart. The power to endure comes from your ability to remain agile and to adapt to changing circumstances. Change happens; it can’t be stopped. The passage of time cannot be slowed or halted. We all grow old (if we are lucky). How well you age is largely up to you. It is the intention of this book to give you all the knowledge and tools you need so you can age to perfection.

There are things you can control and things you can’t. This book has tried to guide you down a clear path that will maximize health and happiness throughout your life. It is my hope that you may have a life that begins with a happy childhood, grows into a vigorous and productive adulthood, and concludes in a peaceful and wise old age. The belief that this is possible motivated the writing of this book.

Those whose lives are happiest continue to grow and change until the end. A capacity for change, plus good humor and a sense of optimism, can lift even the heaviest burden and bring comfort through the darkest of nights.

Whether you have worked through this book sequentially or reviewed only those chapters of interest, I hope you have learned something about your health, your health risks, and the healthcare you need. You now have the information you need to make choices about how you can improve your health today and reduce your risk of disease in the future.

There is no one right way for everyone.

It’s a puzzle figuring out what path to health and happiness is the right one. You now possess important knowledge that will help you determine the right way for you. Whatever your size, shape, age, or risk profile, there is a life you are meant to live. Don’t miss your chance to live it by anesthetizing yourself with addictions or unhealthy behaviors.

Life is fleeting. Every sunrise and sunset is unique. Every day that you are without illness, addiction, and debility is a day to treasure and be grateful for.

Those days that are clouded by adversity, pain, and grief have their lessons, too. At the end of long periods of trouble and darkness, peace and light can follow. Don’t dull your experiences with denial or addiction. Relish the joy. Admire the good. Endure the pain. Accept the fear. Feel the grief. And know that all—both darkness and light—will be part of your life.

Have the courage to make up your own mind about things. Don’t buy everything you are sold. Don’t measure yourself by the things you own or the money you make. Don’t think that food or drink or drugs or money or makeovers or sex are going to make you happy. It’s inner peace; it’s being playful; it’s loving people and having them love you back; it’s breathing clean air; it’s moving your body through space; it’s laughter; it’s generosity; it’s honesty; it’s kindness; it’s self respect; it’s integrity; it’s fighting for a greater good—these are things that will make you happy. They’ll keep you healthy, too.

Good luck on your journey. Remember, everything is possible. Live long with good health.