By Vincent DiBianca

Regarding aging, health and well-being—I find myself interacting
with people who live in two worlds. Many of my friends take medication
(particularly antibiotics for loads of ailments), undergo surgery, eat
what they want, rarely exercise and several smoke. Other friends
(although fewer in number) believe that the body can heal itself inside
out, eat nutritionally (organic foods, vegan or vegetarian), meditate
and exercise regularly, take vitamins, supplements and healing herbs,
don’t smoke and would only consider surgery as the single last resort,
if at all.

it’s tough to tell which is the happiest group. (My friend sure looked
happy the other night eating this delicious looking decedent chocolate
desert with syrup and whipped cream.) However, it’s easy to tell which
is the healthiest group. They are younger looking, have more energy,
are more upbeat, more confident and are more trim and fit.

Belonging to the latter group (the healthniks), I sometimes feel
hard-put to relate to my friends in group number one (the "I only have
one life and I’ll partake in all of its joys" group) — some of who
greatly admire my actions and others who think I’m absolutely nuts.
Most of the time I laugh off people’s digs about my healthy choices or
shrug off the envious comments. Other times it’s a challenge to
communicate and interact without slipping into a certain arrogance or
defensiveness. For example, I couldn’t believe my good friend rather
quickly resorted to gall bladder surgery and now is taking antibiotics
because of a minor skin condition without really considering the
alternatives (and the implications of his choices). Like all of us, I
guess he has chosen his way to live life. Actually, I don’t think it’s
a choice I think it’s more habitual or accepted behavior or the
unwillingness to confront the initial sensory response to change.

I love my friend. Maybe, his path is as good or better than mine —
I wouldn’t bet on it. In fact, I’m not betting my life on it. There is
too much overwhelming research mounting to support path #2. Plus, I
need to trust my body and see how it feels and looks when I choose path
#2 over path #1. (Recently, after a vacation I fell into old behaviors
like my good friends who "enjoy life", I watched the pounds come
bouncing back on, my energy decline. I experienced less deep sleep and
relaxation and I watched the emergence of indigestion and headaches
(unheard of for me). Although the donuts tasted great — life really
wasn’t very enjoyable.

So, albeit cumbersome — this is the first time that I’ve ever tried
to express my feelings on the subject. (Okay, maybe I’m venting – I
guess that’s better than hyperventilating). By the way, although I may
die tomorrow of a heart attack — I want to give myself the best chance
of a long, robust and healthy existence.