This I Believe

Brittany - Canton, Michigan
Entered on April 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I Believe

From the time you wake up in the morning, do you already know how all of your decisions will be made? For the most part, I’m sure the answer is no, but I bet there are some sort of guidelines that you follow in order to make these decisions easier. Whether it is religious beliefs, moral values, or just something you believe strongly in, everyone has steps they follow when making decisions in their everyday lives.

I strongly believe that living a healthy lifestyle when you are young is very important in order to live a long, healthy life. I grew up with parents, grandparents, and other family members who smoked, didn’t exercise regularly, and really never paid much attention to what they ate. Now that they are all older, they have realized the consequences of these actions; some dangerous, and some even fatal. This in turn has caused me to pay much more attention to the way I live my life.

I have never been a smoker, and have actually been pretty repulsed by the thought of it as long as I can remember. Even as a young child I recall not allowing my parents to smoke around me. To this day I consider it a blessing that I have never been attracted to the idea of smoking. I try to avoid being around others who smoke as well, although working in a restaurant that allows smoking makes it impossible to avoid completely.

One reason I feel this so strongly against smoking is because I had a grandfather who died when I was very young. He started smoking at a young age and developed lung cancer, which ended up being the cause of his death. Since then, my parents who had been smoking since they were teenagers, both quit smoking. I know that’s not an easy thing to do, and I am still very proud of them for that.

Making sure I eat healthy and work out often are also some things I think about on a day-to-day basis. One reason this is so important to me is that late-onset diabetes is very common on my mother’s side of the family. My grandmother wasn’t very healthy and developed diabetes when she was in her early forties. This became a very large burden on her everyday life, and that’s something I wouldn’t want to have to deal with.

This year my mother turned fifty years old. She was never obese or extremely unhealthy, but she did carry a lot of her weight around her stomach. This would put her at an even higher risk of getting diabetes. Just prior to her turning fifty, she began eating healthier and working out almost every day, and has lost nearly thirty pounds from doing so. While the rest of my family and I all figured it was just her going through a mid-life crisis, I just recently discovered that her true motives behind losing all the weight were to become healthier so she would be able to live a longer life.

Although being healthy has always been important to me, finding out more about my family and their history has caused me to make it a priority. For me, when it comes to anything such as cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and so on, I know that the odds are stacked against me genetically. This means that I have to try harder than most and pay careful attention to even the simplest of choices that I have to make in order to live a long and healthy life.