Those for whom fitness and healthy eating isn’t a priority anyway, may site Kennedy’s passing as a reason to say, “Why bother? Look at what it did for him!” Well let me tell you exactly what I believe it did for him and why we should absolutely bother. It is also why I will be stepping up my own fitness efforts, reaffirming my Clean Eating efforts, and NOT in the least pulling back.
Robert Kennedy lived a full and vibrant life up until his last six months or so. He spent every day doing exactly what he wanted to do and fulfilling all the dreams and ambitions he had from an early age. For more than 70 years of his life, he rose each morning free of pain, with boat-loads of energy; “abundant good health,” he states in his poignant and thought-provoking farewell message in the July 2012 issue of Clean Eating. Robert Kennedy exuberantly tackled each new day. He enjoyed and shared great success and great health throughout his life.
In contrast, we have come to accept daily aches and pains and multitudes of prescriptions as a rite of passage associated with aging: Sallow skin, brittle bones, diabetes, high cholesterol, robotic knees and hips, pig valves, gout, obesity, Alzheimer’s, dementia and chronic pain…these maladies and a host of others have become widely tolerated by the American public with the advent of drugs and their abundant commercials that increasingly populate the evening news (whose apparent demographic is diabetics who have to pee urgently, can’t get it up, have heart disease, high cholesterol, gastric reflux & dry eyes) as well as every other page in many magazines. And it makes me angry. Pick up a copy of Reader’s Digest and you will find umpteen advertisements for a variety of drugs directed at aging Baby Boomers, and if the ads aren’t for drugs, they’re coupons for highly processed and chemically laden foods that are directed toward those on a fixed income and busy moms. Pick up a Robert Kennedy publication, and you’ll see very much the opposite.
We are the most developed nation in the world, and yet we’ve about “developed” ourselves into oblivion. We have come to accept feeling bad as simple truths in life and as part of the aging process:
· Autoimmune diseases that assign an acronym, but we don’t know the cause or the cure; we simply manage
· Celiac Disease
· Heart Disease
· Infant mortality/ prematurity
· …unfortunately I’ve only grazed the alphabet.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We need to wake up and smell the colostomy bag, stop making excuses and MAKE BETTER CHOICES!! Demand better choices of ourselves and of our families. EVERY bite matters, and EVERY day that we fail to fit in purposeful exercise absolutely matters. As does each day spent in a dead end job or career or in a toxic relationship that does anything other than feed our souls. I don’t want to be in my 70s and wake up each morning, hobble to the bathroom, remove my soiled Depends® and sit there and wait for nothing to happen. I’d much rather my refrigerator be overflowing with a rich variety of colorful produce that I must toil over and prepare than carry around a Rubbermaid® container filled to the brim with multitudes of prescriptions, and constantly worry about how I’ll pay for those prescriptions, because without them I’ll die.
We have been brainwashed to believe that this is the only way to age and that there is no such thing as aging gracefully. Despite his unsavory ending, and I’m deeply sorry for his family that he wasn’t able to write himself a better, more deserving one, I remain convinced that Robert Kennedy not only found the way, but shared the way to live. If not always longer, he’s certainly given us every example imaginable to live a comfortable, healthy, vibrant and happy life before our bodies, as he said, “go the way of all flesh.”
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. There is no alternative to that. But how we get there is up to us, each and every day. It’s never too late to embrace Hippocrates’ philosophy, “Your food shall be your medicine and your medicine shall be your food,” infuse our lives with positivity, a multitude of friends and loving family, laugh often, figure out how to make a living doing what we love, move—as our bodies were created to do—and begin living our best possible lives today.