The personal finance blogosphere takes the accumulation of wealth seriously. One can literally read hundreds of posts each day espousing the virtues of saving more and spending less in the hopes of one day reaching financial independence. That’s the pinnacle of wealth accumulation we strive for – the day when our money makes more for us in a year than we could make for ourselves in a year. That’s a sweet place to be.
So we spend much time and focus in this area of our lives. Researching. Writing posts. Sharing with others. Developing our blogs. It’s all part and parcel of the gig.
I can tell you, having been at this for almost a year now, blogging can eat you up if you allow it. So can working too hard at your day job. So can spending too much time watching television. So can updating Facebook all day long. So can any activity or hobby taken to excess.
By definition, when we overindulge in one area we naturally neglect other areas of our life that need attention. It’s impossible to give maximum total attention to every facet of our lives at the same time. Something inevitably has to give.
In addition to our personal finances, another area we sorely neglect is our health. There was a time in the not so distant past when this was true of me. I was consumed with my work. I was not getting enough sleep and I rarely exercised. I was sluggish, not eating well and sat around for most of the day. And the numbers on the scale kept getting higher and higher.
Then, to quote Zangief from Wreck It Ralph and Street Fighter II fame – “I have moment of clarity.” That clarity came in two separate events.
Two Personal Moments of Clarity
One occurred on a cruise my wife and I took for our 15th wedding anniversary. At dinner, we sat next to a couple our same age who were coincidentally also celebrating their 15th anniversary. The husband, in addition to holding down a full time job, was training twice a day for a triathlon. I was really impressed as he told us about why he loved doing this and how he found time to train. The more we talked through the week, the more I became challenged about my health and fitness level. “If this guy can do it, why can’t I?” I thought.
Another one of my moments of clarity came the day my seemingly healthy father had a heart attack. It’s a real scary moment when you get that phone call and many things rush through your mind on the way to the hospital. Of course I was concerned for him (and he has recovered very well) but I kept thinking to myself, “Is this going to be me in 20 years? Will my time with my family be cut short because I’ve neglected my health?” My grandfather had also died from a faulty heart so there is a history of this stuff in my family.
These events are what pushed me to begin consistently running a little over two years ago. It has not always been easy, keeping up with an exercise schedule, but the results have been amazing. I’ve lost over 30 pounds from my all time high and significantly lowered my blood pressure. I feel stronger, sleep better, have more energy and am more alert and focused during the day.
In addition, I have found running has many side benefits, beyond the health related aspects, that I was not anticipating.
1. It has given me confidence. When I set a goal and achieve it, I feel really good about myself.
2. It’s alone time. We all need more of this – a chance to get away by ourselves, with only our own thoughts to focus on.
3. It’s an idea generator. My mind percolates when I run. I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve thought of while pounding out the miles. The only problem is remembering my ideas before I can get somewhere to write them down.
4. It’s all on me. What I mean is that I have no one else to blame other than myself if I don’t follow through on my schedule. It’s self-accountability and I love that.
5. It’s very spiritual for me. My early morning runs have been a special time to connect with God in prayer and meditation.
6. I’ve rediscovered what it means to be disciplined. And I’m trying to cultivate the discipline I’ve developed for running and plant it into other areas of my life.
We only have one body. If that body breaks down due to neglect we have no one to blame but ourselves. I want to be around as long as possible for my family and to enjoy the financial fruits of my labor.
Hopefully you have been encouraged to start an exercise program today. Start small and within your own limits. You don’t have to run but do something. Exercise is a vital part of a balanced life. I know you won’t regret it.
Questions: Have you experienced moments of clarity when you realized, “I’ve got to do something about my health!”? What exercises do you enjoy?
Next Post: Marathon Training and Writing Mental Blocks
Prior Post: Funding College: Should I Work or Do SAT Prep?