Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Health is Wealth

Patti complained of joint aches for the first time only when she was 70. Amma started to fret about not being able to do things as quickly as she did before when she was at the end of her forties. And I have back-aches, leg pains in my late twenties!! What is the world coming to?

Two close friends of mine, S & B had Slipped Disc issues, just months after their marriages. A friend of mine passed away at a very young age – stress. My neighbour’s husband – aged 33 – had a heart attack one night – out of the blue. The cause was found to be stress.
Many of my friends complain about hair loss and aches and pains so often – so do I. Whereas I remember amma having long, black and thick hair even when she was in her forties. On one side I keep reading about how ‘Life expectancy’ is increasing over the years and on the other end, the more personal end, I see how the ‘Quality’ of life is decreasing.

My father never got his blood / blood pressure / cholesterol checked till he reached the age of 40. M’s husband P has very high cholesterol at the age of 29. And I cannot think of a day my father refused Puris for the fear of increase in cholesterol.

Amma or Appa never counted the calories they consumed, not were they bent upon walking on the treadmill every single day – they did not even know what a treadmill was. On the other hand if the Mr. or I miss out on a single day’s workout, we panic and get depressed further. What is happening to us? Before eating a single sweet / tasty item, the Mr. reads off from the label at the back to see how many calories he is consuming. Even before hitting 30, we are so conscious of such things – I cannot imagine what we will be eating at the age of 40 or 50. I am not against healthy and good eating, but the whole fun of having something tasty like a puri or a cup of ice cream is lost if the conversation is laced with topics like ‘cholestrol’, ‘aging’ , ‘ heart attacks’ and so on.

With increasing life expectancy, increased comforts, and increased income levels – we were supposed to be more ‘healthy’ right? But that does not seem to be the case.

The necessary EVIL – software industry seems to sap out every healthy bone/muscle/tissue in our body. Sedentary occupational environment and long working hours seem to be taking a silent toll on us. I cannot even remember when was the last time I walked to a grocery store to get provisions – reason – after having a long day at work, I simply cannot think of walking to a place to buy stuff. All her life amma would walk 1 or ½ km from home to station to get fresh vegetables or groceries – thus getting all the exercise she needs in a fresher environment than the stuffy gym where I struggle to lose calories.

All of Mr’s fingers are broken – excessive usage of mouse and keyboard! I pay more for medical bills than what my parents probably paid their whole life. The money that I earn is much more than what both my parents earned together ever – it allows me to buy all the ‘material’ things that I want – gives me the opportunity to visit exotic places that they would only dream off – but at what cost? But then do I have a choice?

Every time we talk of changing our profession, we draw a blank. I have to admit it – which other profession gives me this much dough? And more importantly what else am I skilled at? Zilch!

Wise men wisely said ‘Health is Wealth’ and not ‘Wealth can bring health’.


Gomathi Sarma said...

This is such a wonderful blog and your every word is so true.

I dont know if its just eveil in Software industry that is causing all these problems. If you look at a lawyer or a doctor - they have the same stress. I think we are living in a fasr paced competitive world which is causing all these problems.

But I have decided not to sacrifise my youth worrying about all these. I do eat icecreams and eat chocolates; i love fried items and I dont hesitate to eat that. I dont go for work outs; but we do hike in summer.

Subha Srini said...

Hi vidhya,
I share the same thought with regards to change of profession. I keep complaining to Mr. that I feel that I am not even able to make mental calculations !!

I used to freak out with chocos, icecream, cashews ... but now I dont even remember when I ate puri?

how very true is every word of yours !!

Vidhya Rajesh said...

Gomez- Atta girl ! That is the way to go. There is no point in sacrificing our favourite stuff - after all life is all but one :). Even i do the same thing - as much as i eat , i try to work out at get it off :) with no absolute guilt ..

Subha - Hello ! Madam ! Welcome back to getting in touch :) ... Nee romba pesadhe ... unakku ethukku ithallam parkannum eer kuchchi maathiru irrukaay nee ...

Usha said...

I am not sure that they did not have these problems in old times. there were two reasons for their not being so common. One their way of life, their daily life involved a lot more physical exertion and this resulted in the caloriesgetting worked out. Secondly they did not undergo regular medical check up - and noticed any abnormality only when they were really sick.
You are right that our sedentary lifestyles are asource of a lot of our problems and the comforts we enjoy amke it difficult for us to indulge our tastebuds.

Inca said...

WOWaaaaaaaaaa - Superb post.
Oh yes - we all sail in the same boat. Seeing every calorie, vitamin content and wat not- huh! But yes we have to take care only because of the job we are at. But then there is a limit in the number of hours we need to work - we need to take time each day to take care of our health. No more night outs. No more slogging. Get out of the office at 6 - enjoy the time with the family!