Who’s in charge of your health? Is it your doctor? Is it your spouse? Is it the ads you see on TV or in magazines or on the internet? I have met many people who would defer to any or all of the above. But you and I know that I am in charge of my own health and you are in charge of your own health. What this means is that I make the primary decisons about what to do when I fall ill or need medical care. I make it a point to seek out information from a variety of sources including my personal physician or the nurse who lives next door or the myriad of cybersources I can find on my computer But in the end I make the decison of what I will do to feel better. I take personal responsibility for my health and I hope you do too.
Several years ago the social researcher Gail Sheehy, author of “Passages” and “New Passages,” wrote that for the first half of our lives most of us are not particularly in charge of how we do our lives. She points out that as children we do what our parents want us to do–indeed what they tell us to do. Even as teenagers and young adults we tend to live our lives based on what we learned from our family of origin, even if we try our darndest to rebel! After all, our primary sources of information about making decisions about healthful and successful living are the familiar ones we learned while growing up in our families whether consciously or unconsciously.
Sheehy goes on to relate that even well into adulthood, indeed up through our late 40’s and into our fifties, we tend to make choices about career, romance, marriage, family, finances, recreation, health, etc. based on how we saw decisions being made in our families of origin. Sure, we may not be making the exact same choices as our moms and dads and uncles and aunts, but we may be making them in the same ways. Anyway even as adults we may not have as much freedom and diversity as we think. Many times we think we have to do things the same way as those who came before us. Think about it. Did you feel any pressure (again perhaps even unconsciously) to act a certain way, to be a certain way, to live a certain kind of life?
In her book, “New Passages,” Sheehy proposes that in midlife and beyond we all have the opportunity to live a “second adulthood.” In this second adulthood we realize that perhaps we did lived our first adulthood the way we thought (and were taught) how it should be done, whether we knew it or not. But in our 50’s our kids are grown, we’ve built a career and successfully worked at it for a sufficient amount of time and are nearing retirement. And we are looking forward to another 40 years or so of life! Yes, life expectancies are extending into the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s! The fact is that most of us realistically have as much time ahead of us as we have lived already.
Sheehy suggests that since we have lived our first adulthood fulfilling the dreams of others, consciously or unconsciously, that now we can change. We can consciously choose to live our second adulthoods truly how we want. No more need to live up to what others think. We are old enough and smart enough and experienced enough to do what we want to be happy and healthy! We can become truly free and independent! We can finally TAKE CHARGE of our lives! What an exciting thought!
We can therefore take charge of our health, fully and finally. We can do what we need to do to live another 30, 40, 50 years happily and healthfully. We can choose to do so right now. No need to wait. No need to do what our parents did (heck, my dad and grandad both stroked out and died at 65! I intend to do better!). No need to do only what our doctors tell us to do (I want to learn how live a healthy lifestyle and let my doctor, rightly so, take care of any acute illness that may happen).
I want to live a long, happy, healthy life until I’m 100! I am taking charge of my health to make sure that happens. I want to show you how to take charge, too. Join me here and at www.heartspacecoaching.com to learn how.