Now that we hit a certain age, health matters differently to each age group:
:: Teens: I only go to the doctor when my mom takes me/makes me
:: 20s: Why would I bother going to see a doctor?
:: 30s: I know I should go see a doctor but with this and that I don’t have time
:: 40s: I owe it to myself to go for an annual checkup even if I dread it
:: 50s: My social dinners carry a conversation about health with those of same age
:: 60s: I go to the doctor frequently and have a lot of different medications
:: 70s: I talk a lot about others’ health problems, who’s still alive
:: 80s: I am may need help to get to the doctor, it’s the one appointment I won’t miss
:: 90s: I am happy to be alive and around to go see my doctor
:: 100s: I like the fuss from the media for my age, even if I’ve done more in life
Genetics play a defining role in what our health footprint may be. If you have been paying attention, you have noticed health issues from our parents and even siblings. If you have been an observer of population trends, you may understand why pharmaceuticals have gotten so big and important: The Baby Boomers are over 65 and consumed with turning back the clock. InBETWEENers are coming to grips with medical diagnosis and taking strides to beat the clock. GenXers may start to understand why health is a looming concern for most citizens. Millennials are arrogant to believe that they have a long life ahead of them.
When I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes almost two years ago: it was a shake up and a wake up call. Almost grieving, or full board grief to the loss of the clean bill of health. There were blood tests and dietician appointments to monitor my diet. It was a bit of a challenge because my husband had been faced with gluten intolerance. Reading labels, incorporating a balanced diet, choosing low fat over trans fat wasn’t a difficult change.
If you are like me, I have a lot of things on the go, with work and a shrunk family home, but necessity to be “on call” to my four blended children is always a priority. Often, my own health takes a back seat.
When each of us faces our wake up call can vary. Whether we embrace it, study the heck out of it to bridge understanding, or ignore it all depends only on each individual. Often, we lose a family member or know someone who’s life is cut very short by a heart attack or some other mortal event. That is when we may take our own mortality and health more seriously.
I’m glad that the GenX community is a very healthy, active bunch. They, and the Inbetweeners, have observed the effects of poor choices impact others: a sibling, a close friend or an acquaintance.
For our Millennial children, they have formed habits, live a lifestyle that is much milder than their predecessors whether it was the hard drinking, heavily smoking, less active Baby Boomers or the stress-burdened inBetweeners parents. They aren’t out of the weeds, however. The poor choices in drugs is astounding to me. The availability and acceptability of drugs started at a super young age, compared to their parents: The Baby Boomers and InBetweeners. Peer pressure and social environment influences whether Millennials partake in drugs, most many of us hadn’t even heard of until the threat loomed from our children.
Baby Boomers, Inbetweeners and GenX knew about the effects of alcohol, more likely because of a family members addiction. Besides weed, cocaine was off in the distance for the faster crowd associated with the big cities like New York or mega-athletes, or Hollywood crashes. Not something that was around us until much later on, and less likely automatically there like it is for Millennials who can say “Meth, extasy, crack” more easily than their older influences who base it more on television, media or movies consumption.
I’m thankful that the drugs that our kids, The Millennials, have to face were not around when I was growing up. I often base that on the concentrated choice to put figure skating ahead of social pressure. Even when I went to college, it just wasn’t around, or I had already formed a good habit of understanding that “I am who I surround myself with”.
I appreciate and don’t take for granted the influence of myself and my kids father gave them: a leaning towards a balanced diet, lifelong athleticism, and although not perfect, still much better than they can see from those in the same age bracket.
There is a close correlation between having an athletic extra-curricular focus that influenced a healthier attitude. I think that one of Stephen Harper’s (Canada’s former Prime Minister who was ousted due to lack of popularity) biggest legacy may be the extra-curricular tax break. It promotes parents to get their kids involved in a sport or activity that would distract them from making poor choices or bridges awareness to avoid those spiraling downwards by participating in activities that will crop up later on with health. There is likely some very good research out there that defines kids with extra-curricular activities, most often sports, are least likely to impact themselves and their families with drug addiction, sexual permissivity, putting them at a major risk to disease, career malfunction, or burden on society or government resources.
It all starts with each of us. Are we putting ourselves first in our health considerations? Are we setting a good example for our children? Are our children equipped to avoid the trappings of peer pressure, or, at least, making choices recognizing that they become who they surround themselves by?
Our governments can help, but it isn’t their responsibility. It all starts at the doorstep of our own youth, career influence or social environment. It can be offset by the habits we form, with a focus on making us better, not weakening our ability to be there to help others. Who need us, count on us …. to be THERE!