We have all heard the unfortunate stories about people we know that have died suddenly. In some cases, the deceased have been at ages significantly lower than the usual life expectancy. In sudden death cases, the usual causes are cardiovascular in nature such as a massive heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm, pulmonary embolus or ruptured aneurysm. People that die suddenly have no chance to “prepare” for their death and often have not been able to complete many items on their “bucket list” of dream trips, adventures and other fun activities. The saddest part is that people that die suddenly do not have the chance to say a proper “good bye” or have closure with their loved ones.
When we gather with family and friends to mourn the death, inevitably someone will say: “Live every day as if it was your last one”. This line, of course, refers to the point that we all never know if/when our own death will occur without warning, so we all should “seize the day” and live life to the fullest every single day.
That line is sort of a pet peeve of mine, as if personally, I knew today was my last day on the earth, as much as I love all of you out there, I would :1-not be writing this blog at 5 AM 2- Not go to the office today and see patients 3- gather with my loved ones the entire day and spend $$$ frivolously on eating/entertaining us all.
However, I am making the calculated bet that today is not my last day, and with professional duties, a mortgage and other bills to pay and other responsibilities, I choose to not live every day as if it was my last one.
Turning this discussion to health concerns: If we knew today was the last day of our lives, would we give a flying hoot about how many proteins we ate that day? How much exercise we engaged in? What our cholesterol and glucose levels are? How much back pain we are experiencing that day? How our clothes are fitting? What the scale shows? The answers are “NO” to all of these. I would bet that similar to my thinking, you would all pretty much abandon everything else to spend quality time with your loved ones.
The point: When it comes to lifestyle behaviors, we simply cannot take the approach of “live every day as if it was your last”. We all should devote lots of attention to preventative health measures with weight control being at the top of our list. In doing so, we will minimize the chances of today being the “last day of our lives” and maximize the chances of having many more years (not days) to enjoy the fruits of our labors.