The Only Way To Live
Below you will find Chapter One of my new upcoming book “Health First”
Living Health First is a new way of looking at the world. It is a paradigm shift that when embraced has a ripple effect that reverberates throughout every facet of your life. By prioritizing your health you create changes to your physical, mental, and emotional states that align you with your purpose in life, often leading you to find that purpose.
For too long our society has been living by the standards set long before we were born. I was born in 1978. Growing up I was taught math, language arts, science, and social studies. From preschool to college I was taught mainly these four subjects, with very little physical education, arts, or music. From an early age, we are taught to consume and not create. We are taught to rely on teachers to learn, the state for security, and banks for financial stability. We are taught that to be successful in life we must graduate high school, followed by going to college even if it means going into debt. Once in debt, we can now get a job to pay off the debt we accrued in school.
Next, we need to collect as many material objects as possible going into more debt just so we “keep up with the Jones”. A nice car, house, and credit cards weighing us down with so many liabilities we can never get ahead and continuously work check to check.
This American dream has us working to pay down this debt until the ripe old age of 65 so that we can finally retire and “enjoy” our life or what is left of it. In fact when the social security act was passed in the 1930s the average life expectancy was 62 years old. Talk about a Ponzi scheme.
Unfortunately, most people are unable to enjoy their lives at 65 because they have one disease or another. Broken from years of working too hard and resting too little, they live a life out of balance and find themselves sick, unhappy, and in pain. Since we have made paying our bills our purpose in life and relied on our job to fulfill these purpose people find themselves lost in “retirement”. Without the routine of a job, people have no direction and because they relied on their jobs for so long they no longer have any marketable skills to pursue a new purpose. This lack of purpose signals to the universe that our time here is done and we quickly find ourselves breaking down, mentally, physically, and emotionally. If you are fortunate you have a pension to rely on as my dad does, but money isn’t my dad’s problem is debilitating pain.
Let me tell you a story about my father Tim. My father was born in 1948 shortly after the second world war. He was born in St.Louis but moved to Miami in 1963. He grew up on John Wayne movies, lived through the Kennedy assassination, the Civil Rights movement, and the invention of TV. My dad grew up being told America was the world’s savior thru television and movie propaganda that made romanticized war and did what he any young American male was “supposed” to do. He graduated high school at 17 and immediately joined the USMC to fight against the Vietnamese in a war that lined the pockets of our military-industrial complex.
After serving his country faithfully from 67–71 Tim found himself back home with his high school sweetheart and started his family. In order to provide for his new family, he got a safe union job with Bellsouth and proceeded to fix phone lines and lay cable for the next 39 years. My father met my mom in 1977 and left his first wife shortly thereafter and in 1978 I was born. Growing up I remember my father working 12 hours a day. He would be gone when I woke up and get home at 6 or 7 pm every night with no energy for anything else other than reading and watching TV. The money wasn’t great so in order to provide for us, he worked overtime as much as he could, working weekends and never getting a break. This paid dividends for us financially because in 1990 we were able to buy a nice 3/2 house in a very good working-class neighborhood. My father grew up with parents who lived through the depression and providing for us financially was his number one priority and he did a great job.
Unfortunately, this came at a cost you can’t measure in ones and zeros. My father barely spent any time in the house he worked so hard to own. My parent’s relationship or lack thereof deteriorated over the years. My mother worked at night as a waitress, so they rarely saw each other, and in 1992 they got divorced, just two years after buying him and my mother’s dream house. This was a major blow for everyone in my family. My dad was now paying for a home he no longer lived in, as well as his apartment, and this lead to him working even more. My mother began to drink every night to drown her sadness, and my relationship with her became strained to the point that I had to move in with my father. The ripple effect on our lives continues to this day.
My father did what we are taught to do. He served his country, provided for his family, and worked at a job for 39 years earning a pension and benefits to “enjoy” in his retirement. He was the definition of a company man. My dad is now 71 and has been retired for over 9 years and he lives with my 37-year-old sister who can’t get a job, is in and out of rehab, and who is already a grandma two times over. My father has stenosis in his vertebra giving him tremendous amounts of nerve pain throughout his body. In order to get through the day, he needs to take opiates that have led to him having a functioning addiction. At 71 it is hard to regain the strength and mobility needed to enjoy a higher quality of life. You can’t neglect your health for four decades and expect to thrive in your golden years.
My father wasn’t a lazy bum, he ran 5ks, lifted weights occasionally, and played in basketball leagues until his 40’s, but he never made health a priority. He drank often, never took time to meditate or stretch, and worked his ass off for 39 years. I admire my father and everything he did for our family and our country but watching him come home exhausted day in and day out made me wonder if there was a better way to live my life. A way that would allow me to spend more time with my family, a way to maintain my health and quality of life, and a way that would inspire my children to do the same.
A health first lifestyle not only allows you to enter your golden years stronger but it places an emphasis on enjoying every day of your life. The days of learning until you finish college are over. We live in the age of information now with new life skills at the tips of our fingers.
Part of living a health first life is continually developing yourself, not only physically, but mentally as well. Health encompasses your mind, body, and spirit, and if you neglect any aspect of it you will be unfulfilled no matter how much material wealth you accumulate.
The idea of a health-centric lifestyle has come from years of personal experience in my own life and training hundreds of people in my gym Live Free Miami. I have learned that health is our most important asset and without it, we are a liability to ourselves, our family, and the world at large.
A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues — either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the research found(https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2809%2900404-5/pdf)
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more relevant. In order to prevent disease, we must choose health. It is far easier to sustain health than it is to regain it. Sustaining your health is an active process that takes knowledge, effort, and consistency. Fortunately sustaining your health pays dividends like any good investment, and in this book, I am going to show you exactly how to do just that.
Think of this book as a guide to living a long productive life, full of joy, adventure, and freedom. You weren’t put on this earth to work like an ant building someone else’s anthill. You were put here to create the best version of yourself, and it’s time to get to work!