I always start my day with a moment of reflection: how blessed I am to wake up, be healthy, and feel strong and energetic. How great it feels to be me, to be where I am and to be at the point in my life I enjoy right now. I am 45 and I feel so blessed and happy about my life now!
I do not take things for granted and, I guess, this is why I am able to appreciate the present moment so much. I was not an example of health and fitness while a kid. Nowadays, I am much healthier than in the past and I enjoy all the energy I did not have back then. I have known many people, including my family members, being sick, disabled, suffering, and even anxious about the day-to-day survival and making meet the financial ends. All the situational stress creating a huge burden, landing directly on their shoulders. And imagine experiencing all these daily worries if you are not in great health (as the direct result of the circumstances endured)! They went through a lot: wars, both domestic and international, martial state, Iron Curtain woes, and so on. All this left a huge impact on their health and well-being, oftentimes shortening their lives and robbing them of the retirement years.
The first 18 years of my life, until I left Poland, I was behind the Iron Curtain, as well. Back in Poland, where healthy food was not available or granted, you had to queue for bread as of 4 AM. Well before the time the stores were open. So we did not miss our chance to get some basic food. If the bread got delivered to the particular shop where you were queuing, and if they had enough of it so that by the time it was your turn, there was still a loaf on the shelf, you could exchange a governmental coupon and some monies for it. If not, tough luck. Sugar, meat, chocolate, and coffee, even cigarettes: you could get them sometimes, and in exchange for the specific coupons, which all Poles used to receive monthly. So, we ate haphazardly what was available and when it was available. Environment was highly polluted and people were resigned and depressed. I suffered from heavy asthma and constant spells of bronchitis or pneumonia and wore the shoes of my mother. The shoes were three sizes too large, with cotton balls between my toes and their tip to fill the empty space. I hated not having my own shoes which we could not afford, as my foot was ever-growing. We never knew what the so-called 'tomorrow" would bring. Many families suffered from repressions and persecution of the state. People felt powerless and had no control over their own fates. By the way, the institution of fitness gyms and spas was non-existent -I saw a real gym for the first time when I left the country. Not the best recipe for great health, good mood, fitness and bright future.
So, I guess, it is very easy for me now to be happy and appreciate it all! I just hope that all of us feel, at least to some extent, how privileged we are to live in this great, free country, have a choice of eating healthy, exercising for health and well-being, taking care of ourselves, spending our time on some work, some fun and some travel! Please reflect for a moment how blessed we are. It will only make you feel good. And, perhaps, say a "thank you" each and every morning, for just. being who you are and where you are, and for having all these choices around us!