The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a report declaring that widespread flu activity continues to appear in 31 states, including New York, despite flu season having already peaked several weeks ago. While this should serve as an important reminder to remain hygienic and avoid contracting the flu, it should also serve as an opportunity for those of us with good health to appreciate what good health affords us.
It is easy to take good health for granted, especially because the discomfort and pain that come with illness are quickly forgotten when they are no longer being experienced. But being in good health is incredibly valuable when one truly considers the effects of being in poor health — how it affects every aspect of a person’s life, from their work to their relationships to their ability to enjoy themselves. Health is, ultimately, all anyone has, for without good health we lose the ability to function easily or well in society and maintain good relationships with people we care about. Good health is the cornerstone of our daily existence, as vital to us as food and water are, and yet we give it little thought until it is suddenly taken away.
There exists a subconscious belief that we are all entitled to good health in some way, a belief that stems from our desire to see good things happen to good people. In some respect, to us, good health is well-deserved because we are studious or thoughtful or productive and thus are owed the ability to function normally each day. In part, illness is so terrifying because of its randomness. We suppress the reality that anyone, regardless of worth or moral character, could wake up tomorrow unable to speak or get out of bed. However, not only is this outcome possible, but is also likely for those living in New York due to the confluence of disease, germs and polluted air.
While it is important to practice good hygiene and receive shots as necessary, it is also necessary to maintain a healthy perspective on illness itself. Poor health is something to be avoided at all costs and for as long as possible, though it is an inevitability of being alive that eventually each of us will be taken by some terrible illness. This is a good reminder to make the absolute most of the time we have while we are healthy, and to fill that time with activities that will be impossible to do when we are no longer well.
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