Let’s imagine a guy who has a backpack on her shoulders 24/7. The backpack has five kilos, perhaps 10 kilos, sometimes more. Every morning, she wakes up and goes to the bathroom with this backpack on her shoulders. She goes down and up the stairs of each building she happens to get into/out. The same when she goes to the supermarket, when she practices her hobby, of whatever sort; the same when she makes love and when she has her dinner, or travels anyplace. The same when she holds her kids and when she goes to sleep. The same when she visits the doctor saying she doesn’t feel good and need some pills for whatever, adding that she wants to take care of her health. She forgets about this backpack and doesn’t care; yet, she will always take care of other things that are good for her health. Yes, you’re right; the unnecessary backpacks in this story stand for the additional and unnecessary kilos you’re having on you. It’s a kind of a paradox that many of us say we want to take care of our health – we visit doctors so often – but we (some of us, I mean) have problems with getting rid of our additional ‘backpacks’. Why?
Health – unnecessary backpacks and self-illusion
People in the West are spending a whole lot of money to buy medical services of any sorts to make their lives better. At the same time, they are spending a whole lot of money to things and activities that make their lives worse: too much alcohol, too much smoking, too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt, too much fast-foods, sitting too much time in front of (TV, laptop, mobile) screen, too much everything. This is what I call ‘health-unnecessary backpacks’. What’s going on here? Aren’t we packing our backpacks of heavy absurdities to carry them on everyday? and then complain about low back pain?
Health – unnecessary backpacks and medicine
Yes, it’s crazy but it’s true: the enormous progress in medical sciences and much better access to medical services than any time before make many of us think that doctors will take better care of us than we do it ourselves. If one doctor says she can’t help us, we get annoyed and choose another one, as if in a supermarket, in conviction that ‘good’ doctor can do everything to help. Medicine has an incredible impact on our lives; not only does it protect us against all kinds of illnesses (as it would seem) but also making our lives longer, perhaps longest in the history of this world. Can you imagine that not so many decades ago the life expectancy was forty?! I say all this because in many people the responsibility of having good health is as if moved from those people to doctors, medicine, and health services. I’m not sure it’s a good and healthy attitude.
Health – unnecessary backpacks against the quality of life
At first sight, the relation between health and high quality of life seems obvious. You must be healthy to enjoy life. On second thought, it’s not so obvious. Look at so many (not all of them, though) disabled people who have energy, stamina, and joyfulness; and, on the other hand, look at those young healthy guys who have no idea what to do with their own lives…Most of us are somewhere in the middle of this road, but the most important question is this: do we have any relationship between the state of health and the quality of life? Let’s exclude for a while the people who are really ill (a separate, very important issue) and think about ordinary cases. I’d suggest this relationship is more visible when we don’t think about the health but much more when we think about taking care of your health. It mobilizes you much more and stimulates your attention as to how the quality of life is going up or down.
Health – unnecessary backpacks and your future
Its strange to ask anybody young to imagine this, but, if you are, say, 30 years old (for some youngsters it’s already much!), try to imagine that you will live 50 (yes: fifty) years more! If you are 25 – even more you have: more than a half of a century to live! What does it mean? One of the answers is to get rid of the unnecessary backpack you carry on your shoulders (see above), just NOT to have it for decades on you.
It’s just a game, but it will tell you something important. Take three sheets of paper, each in a different colour. One red: on this you will enumerate up to five ‘unnecessary backpacks’ that, in your view, are the heaviest (e.g. addictions) for your everyday quality of life; the heaviest will get 5 points. The second paper, green: on this, you will enumerate up to five ‘backpacks’ that you have already got rid of; the heaviest one – 5 points. And the third one, white: on this you will enumerate the ‘backpacks’ you want your partner or the closest person get rid of; also here, the heaviest one will get 5 points.
I have a 25 year-long professional experience. It’s mostly as a university professor, but also includes coaching, consulting, and teaching. 35 years of karate as a hobby and the best way of learning self-discipline.