Every few years, I drive to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery around All Saints’ Day to visit my grandparents’ graves, explore the gorgeous grounds, and search out the resting spots of some of the more famous residents, like Washington Irving, Brooke Astor, and Andrew Carnegie. I didn’t make the trip this weekend, but I did think a lot about my deceased friends and
They are sources of motivation as I strive for a healthier lifestyle.
Some I remember for inspiration and strength; others are sober reminders of the health challenges hiding in the shadows.
I am pretty lucky on the friends and family front. There are plenty of people who believed in me through the years: dad, mom, Aunt Betty, Nana, and our neighbor Marie are just a few. I carry their words of wisdom with me and hold them up as role models for living a vibrant life. My dad, in particular, enjoyed 20+ very full years of retirement after two careers.
I have to admit, though, that the skeletons that lurk in the family closet are even bigger motivators. Type 2 diabetes, dementia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and stroke, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), can run in a family.
Lifestyle choices can reduce my odds of getting these diseases. So I run. I do strength training. I pop in my Beachbody DVDs. I don’t smoke. I try to eat “clean.” I try to break up my workdays with walks.
Who’s in your closet? Who are the people who cheered you on to do things you thought you couldn’t do? Tap them for inspiration. And what about those skeletons? Face your fears. Claim your health. Take control of those things that fuel a vibrant life.