“Health is not valued till sickness comes.” Thomas Fuller
It has been two years since I experienced deep pervasive illness. I remember the excuses I would make before I was sick. Excuses not to participate, not to eat well, not to move my body. I devalued my needs and was always at the end of my physical and emotional rope as a result… usually depriving myself of what I needed in exchange for momentary pleasures like junk food, TV binges, and endless social media scrolling.
Then, real illness hit, and I actually couldn’t do the things that I’d made excuses not to do before. I wanted to workout, but my heart rate was too high to do so safely. I wanted to eat well, but was so exhausted I could hardly stand long enough to cook. I wanted to go visit people, but I was embarrassed by my tremors and the massive weight gain.
Two years, and a vast health improvement later, I refuse to take my health for granted. I still struggle with residue from that illness, and it is harder than it used to be, but I choose to joyfully prioritize my needs and glory in the health I do have.
This morning I wanted to lay under a blanket and ignore the world, but instead I celebrated my health by walking the kids to the bus stop and then did a short pilates workout. I paid attention to the feelings of strength coursing through my muscles, and leaned into the deep soothing stretches.
I wanted to eat the leftover pizza in my fridge, but I celebrated my health by cooking up some eggs and making a protein smoothie to enjoy with my daughter. I enjoyed deep satiation as my body was fed the nutrients it craved, and savored every bite and sip.
Tonight I’ll be tempted to hole up and play video games, but instead I’ll celebrate my health by spending time with family and friends. I will note the laughter and the joy, finding peace in the smiles around our table.
I choose not to take what I have for granted. I will lean into gratitude and celebrate any and all health as long as it remains in this body.