One of my neighbors died over the holidays. As a matter of fact, he and his son were the ones who put the new windows and siding on my house after the tree fell on it during a big storm last year (2011.)
He was in his late 70’s. He was buff. He worked out. He worked hard. He walked every evening with his wife. He was the last person you would expect to pass away.
We had a conversation last year when he came over to release the baby squirrels that were trapped in the eaves. That was an interesting experience. The mother was absolutely hysterical. Anyway, he finally was able to make an opening so she could get her babies out.
While we were waiting, we had a conversation about whether you would rather lose your health or your mind first. My Dad has Alzheimer’s and is a couple of years younger than Gordon.
Do you want to be aware up to the end, even if it means being in pain, or do you not want to be aware of anything and not be able to enjoy your health? My Dad is still healthy, he just can’t enjoy anything.
Tough question, isn’t it?
We both chose losing health first. Which is interesting for 2 people who worked at being healthy, right?
A few months later, Gordon was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. He passed away between Christmas and New Year.
Gordon was an inspiration. He worked physically demanding work well into his 70’s. He looked great. And yet he was taken too soon.
Stories like that make you question whether trying to be healthy is worth it.
Here’s the thing. Up to that point, Gordon was enjoying life in a way most people his age could not. He truly lived his life up to the end. He wasn’t sitting around all sickly, popping pills to stay alive like many people his age.
None of us knows what our end is going to be. All we can do is make each day the best it can be. To do that, we need to take care of our bodies. Being alive is not necessarily living.
Eat your vegetables, get enough sleep, and a little exercise. Its worth it.