This was a hard one to write for this reason. So much of what ails us and those we care about is due to Alzheimers, and other degenerative diseases, to say nothing of the chemicals and toxic shit that are in our everyday environment and food. And medicines. Oh how I could go on. The list is endless.

This of course was NOT pointed at those who did not have the capacity any more. Those folks are lost to us. This is focused at those of us who are perfectly capable of making those changes and choose not to. It is hard damned work to be healthy, to say nothing of having to protect ourselves against a predatory medical system that does not get incentives for prevention. A food industry that cares nothing about our health (Coke, anyone?Aspartame, anyone?Sugar, anyone? Fast food, anyone?)and would do anything including pay off unethical doctors to write dishonest reports about the effects certain substances have on us. (The Case Against Sugar, Gary Taubman, The Hacking of the American Mind by Dr. Robert Lustig)

To say nothing of governments who siphon money away from health and safety into political campaigns so that people get lead poisoning. We needn’t trust anyone for any reason. Oh, you got sick? Here, we have all these great hospitals. Stay with me here.

About 70% of what we look like and our quality of life later in life is strictly in our hands. What a pity we have to protect ourselves from the very people we’re supposed to trust- doctors- whose motivations are so easily swayed by pharma companies and whose best intentions are squashed by insurance companies. Once the medical industry went for-profit, Ameria’s health was on a slippery slope. Health isn’t the outcome. Profits are. An empty hospital bed is a drag on profits. There is much more money to be made in our sickness, our diseases, our horrific anxiety about our appearance. Our desperate, useless, monumentally stupid fear of aging, which no one can stop, and nothing we can do will prevent. But we spend our treasure fooling ourselves to look younger, when the only youth we can possibly possess is in our emotional maturity and ability to laugh.

I possess considerable empathy for anyone who is battling a weight and health problem. However, I am no longer willing to engage with those who simply aren’t willing to put the time into working on themselves. Life takes survival skills. A good life takes thrival skills. A deeply happy life takes Olympic-quality emotional work. Many are called, not many answer. It has far less to do with religion and far more to do with personal responsibility. When I own ALL the results of my life, I can be happy. When I know that I own all my emotions and how I choose to feel about my circumstances, I am free. That’s incredibly hard work. Available to all, grasped by few.

In America today, to have true health takes a level of determination and dedication that makes me damned glad I’m Army strong. Glad I know how to research. Glad I don’t trust my doctors, don’t trust Congress, sure as hell don’t trust the current Oval Office, and read everything with a very, very questioning eye. I piss off a lot of doctors. But I am by god for the most part healthy, although I have my challenges. Those challenges are things I did to myself, not from a pharmaceutical or bad food. That I can deal with. So far I’m winning that battle. I just hope I can win the war. By that I mean I hope to go out on my own terms, a long, long, long away from American health care.

American doctors die at home. There’s a damned good reason for that. They know what waits for them inside a hospital. They want to die a peaceful death on their terms. So do I. I don’t owe the hospital shareholders One. Red. Cent. Nobody does. But the life I lead before I get there? I want that on my terms as best I can as well. I’d like to see the majority of us have the same.

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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