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If you’ve graduated from middle age to your third trimester of life, you know what I’m talking about; that time of year when all those diagnostic appointments and wellness checks take place.
That tiny dot in a mammogram they say they will be keeping an eye on.
A joint that hurts, but the bones look fine.
Something on your arm that wasn’t there a year ago.
A heart that needs to be studied more closely because one of your parents had cardiac issues.
The Not-So-Fun Part of Getting Older
There are so many body parts that require attention on our parts as we age and to be honest, this is the part of growing older that kind of sucks. While many of us are more active than ever (pickleball, anyone?) you can’t act as if things won’t happen to you.
Are we teenagers again, thinking we are invincible? Hardly. So why not place a golf ball marker on the green and get things checked out so that you can return and finish by sinking that putt?
Everyone and their mother uses the word “anti-aging”—but what does that mean? Taking the dirt nap? To ignore the aches and pains, the periodical check-ups, the uncomfortable changes, and finding out years later that there were things you could have done to prevent them, could very well leave you with regrets; and those are like the stuff you can’t scrape off your shoes.
Even with all this complaining about taking care of our health, it’s important to relearn that each day is a priceless gift. And that taking care of your health means giving your loved ones the gift of a longer time-released dose of you.
The Importance of Being Proactive
While your insurance company bombards you with newsletters about preventative care, our medical system is indeed set up to be reactive, instead of proactive. Our parents’ generation saw doctors as gods, while ours tends to question everything told to us, performing online searches to confirm that what they are saying makes sense.
Not unlike that generation, however, most Americans focus strictly on reactive healthcare, only visiting the doctor’s office when experiencing an adverse disease, injury, condition, or symptom. Waking up one morning to a fever and body aches, for instance, might send you straight to urgent care.
Depending on the doctor’s diagnosis, he or she may prescribe you antibiotics to help your body fight the infection. But that means that both you and the doctor are reacting to the symptoms.
Proactive means taking action before symptoms manifest. Rather than waiting until you feel the symptoms of the cold or flu virus, you can take a proactive approach to your health by boosting your immune system with vitamin C and antioxidants, and by drinking plenty of fluids.
Getting Older Is Like Maintaining a Classic Car
It also means considering everything you are ingesting in a thoughtful, healthful way, and making sure you keep moving—every day. If you stop, you might turn to stone. Ugh. A sobering thought. Look at it this way: If you don’t start being proactive about your health now, then in which decade might that happen?
This is just a reminder to everyone that the older we get, the more we are like classic cars that need more maintenance than the newer models. Diagnosing any engine problems early means you can continue to leave the garage and not worry about breaking down on the road.