The Real Reason I Strive For Health

The real reason I strive to be healthy

I don’t write personal posts often, but this past weekend I lost my grandmother and it has caused me to think a lot about health and illness, life and death.

She was 91 and my only remaining grandparent. She taught me to play chess and to paint, and was instrumental in my faith life.

While I am very sad to have lost her, I am grateful as this was the first time I was ever able to say goodbye to a grandparent. We got to say all the things one regrets not saying…. the things we should all remember to say to our loved ones each day.

We got to say “I love you,” and reminisce about all the good memories. She got to meet her newest great-grandchild.

In the last conversation I had with her, as she sat surrounded by all of her children and grandchildren, she said something that really struck me:

“I have accepted it and I am at peace.”

I realized that not many of us get to say that at the end and it made me really think about the reasons we do things in life.

The Real Goal?

It seems that often in life, the things that seem like such a big deal now aren’t all that important in the long run…

In those last conversations with my grandma, she talked about how grateful she was for each of her children and how proud of them she was. She was really big on helping others and was glad that all of her kids had done that in some way during their lives.

You know what wasn’t said in those last conversations? Things like “If only I had lost that last dress size after having a baby,” or “If only I didn’t have these stretch marks from carrying my six kids.” Nor were there any regrets about not having more money, more clothes, more possessions.

In the end, the most valuable commodity in life is time. One can (hypothetically) always make more money or replace possessions, but we all only get the same 24 hours each day for as long as we are here on earth.

When it comes down to it, the reason we strive to be healthy can’t be so that we fit into the same size clothes we did in college or so we have flawless skin (though those can be great side-effects of being healthy), but so that we can have more time to enjoy the blessings of this life and the health and energy to be able to live it the best way possible.

I hope that God-willing I make it to 91 or older, that I will also be able to say that I am at peace, surrounded by those I love. In the meantime, I’ll be striving to be as healthy as I can be, not so that I can look a certain way or fit into a certain dress size, but so that I have the energy and health to be the best wife and mother possible…

And so that I can have many more days hearing the precious (and sometimes at 5 AM not so precious) sound of little feet each day.

Because at the end of life, the things that won’t matter will be things like:

  • My bank account balance
  • What size I wear
  • How many things I’ve accrued
  • How many people knew who I was
  • What other people thought of me
  • How clean my house was
  • How much work I got done

But rather, the important things will been those that don’t often seem to have value in today’s world:

  • The moments spent cuddling a baby while I could have been cleaning instead
  • Great conversations and time spent with my husband
  • The goodnight kisses
  • The thousands of diapers changed
  • The boo-boos kissed and fixed
  • People I have helped
  • The relationships I’ve nurtured over the years
  • The family meal times spent together just enjoying each other’s company

the important things in lifeI strive to be healthy so that I can see those little feet learn to walk and then walk down the aisle one day. So that I can be there for all the important moments in my kids’ lives and meet my grandkids one day.

In the end, I think that it comes down to love. Not love in an abstract “all we need is love” Beatles way, but love in the self-giving, sacrificial, daily choices we make.

Love isn’t just an emotion that we feel, but a daily choice that we make… and perhaps the most important one we can make. Not only is it the root of faith and relationships but it is what drives those things that will really matter in life. A new mother doesn’t love her baby just because of an emotion (though it certainly is that as well) but out of a desire for the good of her child, a self-giving, nurturing love where nothing is expected in return.

From my relatively short time on the earth thus far, I can say that those are the things that leave me feeling at peace and fulfilled… the times and relationships where love is not just an emotion but a self-giving choice. I can imagine that at the end of life, those are also the things that allow us to say “I am at peace.”

As Mother Teresa so eloquently put it on the wall of her home for orphaned children in India:

Do it Anyway Mother Teresa

What is your motivation? Why do you strive to be healthy? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Great post! It’s always nice to be reminded that it’s the little things that matter the most in the long (and short) run. Thank you!

  2. This brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Beautifully written and exactly what I needed to hear today. I will be referring back to this post from time-to-time.

  3. I love it! The reason to strive to be frugal and healthy is not to be rich and thin, but to use what God has given us in the best way possible.
    Love the Mother Theresa quote, too.

  4. Whew this gave me the tears (good tears)! Beautifully written and extremely powerful quote. Thank you!

  5. That’s beautiful Katie, made me cry! I’m sorry about the loss of your grandma, and happy her life gives you much to celebrate.

  6. Thank you for this beautiful post. I so agree with you. There have been things happen in my life that I look at now and think, “You know, I am sure glad I did….instead of…” Spending time with the people you love, forgiving those who are only hurting themselves, these things matter most. Keep writing. You inspire.

  7. Wonderful touching and inspiring post! I like what you said about love not just being an emotion but a self-giving choice. I have to take care of my dad who had a stroke and my grandpa who’s getting on in years, and it definitely applies. I strive to be healthy for the added bonuses, so I can be active and productive for my whole life and accomplish my goals in life, and so I can be an inspiration to others so they can be healthy and happy and accomplish their goals in life

  8. This is such a lovely post! I definitely strive to be healthy for the same reasons- to spend a fulfilling life with the ones I love, and to feel great every day. Beautiful stuff. x

  9. What a timely message. As a person who struggles with food addiction, this article spoke to me and gave me so much to think about. Thank you for writing this article and I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Grandmothers are such gifts and what a blessing that yours lived to be 91 <3

  10. I love this post. This is what I tell myself everyday – I’ve lost many people close to me during my years (which are not so many, I’m 26!); my mother has Alzheimer’s in a pretty severe stage and my dad died in cancer a few years ago… At this stage I’m planning to change my whole carrier in order to be able to help others, and be able to fulfill myself. So thank you for sharing this, it gave me more faith in that the plans I have for the future are not in vain…

  11. Dear Katie, I’m sorry about your loss of your grandma. 91 is a great age, but you will miss her a lot… What a great post.. You’re absolutely right.
    Love from The Netherlands,

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. Everything you said is true. It’s not who has the most toys at the end but who ends up with the most memories from family and friends. *Sniffle* Thank you for everything you do!

  13. Beautiful post!

  14. Hi Katie,
    My condolences on the passing of your grandma. My goal in learning about health and wellness is just simple. And romantic. But honest. I want to live for as long as I could to be with my dear husband, to have the energy to take care of my three kids, to live long enough to witness the milestones in their lives and to please my Creator and Savior with this life He gave me.

  15. thank you for sharing, blessings and sympathy on your grandma’s passing. What legacy she gave you.

  16. Thank you for sharing! Very touching and well written.

  17. beautiful, thank you.

  18. such a great post, thank you. I strive to be healthy so that I can live long and enjoy life to the fullest. I see so many older adults that have so many health problems that they spend their retirement in a doctor’s office or on tons of pharmaceuticals. I still want to be able to do things and see places when I get older. I recently saw Wayne Dyer speak and he had the same message about love and how true love is where there is no opposite, it just is.

  19. Your article is a lovely reminder of two women in my life (my mother and grandmother) that I love deeply and guide me daily even though they are not on the earthly plane. I often choose to think of what each of them would do when confronted with life’s problems. Your grandmother is always with you.

  20. I am so glad I encountered your thoughts today. It’s taken many decades for me to be able to finally take this message to heart–a CHOICE, not just an emotion.

  21. What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother and to good health! You are in inspiration. Thank you.

  22. Sorry about the loss of your grandma. Love your blog & all the great tips! I have the Mother Theresa poem in my kitchen – it has always been a favorite!

  23. What a precious post! Thank you for sharing something we all needed to hear. Sometimes we tend to forget what is ultimately important. This is so touching.

  24. Katie, thanks for this timely post. As I sit here and contemplate Where do I go from here? Time to downsize and move from a big house when all the kids are on their own, to where we really need to be, what is most important in deciding to where to be, based on what is the most important in ones life.

  25. Thank u for sharing and may she rest in Euphoria! I strive for my Daughter Katherine 22, who is in a word, Luminous but has turned her back to God, influenced by new friends. I strive for my Son, Christopher who has autism but not autistic as it does not define all the Wonders He is. I strive for my Husband, whom I fell in love with 21 years ago, lost and found one another in 2013. He lived 10
    minutes away all those years. He proposed 6 weeks later. We’ve never been so Happy, so Blessed. Be Strong, Stay Cool and above all remember, “Those who always give, will Always have”. God Bless you & yours.

  26. So sorry about your grandmother! This is a wonderful heartfelt post, you’ve said it well and it’s true. It’s exactly why I want my family to be healthy, my heart aches for the sheer number of people I see living life on prescription drugs and in/out of doctor’s offices – really missing out on life, it’s sad.

  27. So sorry for the loss of your Grandmother. Your post is a beautiful reminder of the real, deep reasons for the efforts at being healthy. Thank you.

  28. Thank you for getting us all back to the heart of why we do what we do. Why we, in our free time, make healthy options from scratch instead of buy them. Why we go against the grain of mainstream medicine to go after what we believe is real health. Sometimes it does get overwhelming, just as a mom of 1, but you are right I too believe it is worth it. ( I have the belief part, doing it takes more energy)

    Thank you for writing personally here.

  29. Love this post! Sounds like you learned a lot from your Grandmother. You are blessed to have had her with you for so long. Good reminder for why it is important to strive for good health. One of my favorite Mother Theresa quotes.

  30. Perfectly said… You have articulated all the reasons, deep down, I also strive to be healthy! 🙂

  31. Beautifully said. This is the prayer of my heart. This is living the beautiful life. God continually bless you!

  32. Thank you for this important reminder of a healthy perspective, and keeping priorities in the order of importance as they ought to be!

  33. So encouraging Katie!

  34. Wow — Right on. Nearly brought me to tears, too. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and heart, and for reminding everyone of what’s really important in life. Many blessings to you.

  35. This is one of the loveliest, most poignant things i have ever, ever read! Thank you, Wellness Mama, for your words. I imagine your beautiful family are all helping you and eachother through this sad time. Blessings to you all.

  36. Hi Katie
    This was a beautifully written post! I am also mom to five young kids but mine were born in six years! I found your site when looking for ways to get healthier, specifically to overcome severe iron deficiency. My first pot of bone soup has just finished cooking after 48 hours and I just burned my mouth and tongue in my excitement to taste it. Thanks for all the great ideas, I will be definitely be using lots of them- though maybe not the the placenta pot roast!

  37. Thank you for sharing your heart and why you do what you do! I have been seeking to learn everything I can about health and nutrition lately and with that comes evaluating my WHY. Your blog has helped me so much!

  38. Thank you for posting this. I just recently lost my grandma, and it’s been really difficult. But she lived such a selfless and loving life, and in the end I know she was at peace because she lived her life for God and for others. It’s so good to be reminded of these truths, because unfortunately it’s too easy to get caught up in things that don’t really matter in the end.

  39. My husband & I are trying to live healthier & teaching our young children to eat healthy and exercise. My Grandparents lived into their 90’s, My maternal Grandmother reached 102 without disease of any kind (I had a close relationship with her most of my life, she passed 4 yrs ago). I was able to spend time (until I was 8) with on of my Great Grandmothers who lived to be 93. I remember being so upset that I didn’t get to go to the funeral to say farewell (due to stormy weather my father turned the car around & we went home – it was a 1 1/2 hour drive one way). They all lived long lives due to eating healthy food that wasn’t tampered with. They gardened and stay active. On the other hand, my maternal Grandmother outlived 4 of her 6 children due to various diseases, including my Mother who died at age 68 from Pancreatic cancer. My kids won’t grow up with much grandparent time, as my husband’s parents live on the opposite side of the country from us. To me that is sad because I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandparents and what they taught me. You are what you eat, so eat healthy to be healthy.

  40. Thank you Katie for the reminder. i often get stuck in the superficial.

  41. Beautifully written. .. I am sorry for your loss. It’s times likes these that you step back and put your life in perspective. I believe that compassion, giving, and self worth can create peace on earth and most definitely peace within yourself. I follow your post not just because you are informed about healthy lifestyles, but also because you care, you care to take time away from your family to teach us so that we too may have the tools to live to 91 years old and be at peace with it. .. I too have all my grandparents in heaven, along with very young aunts, uncles, cousins who left us too early. All health related, these losses have forced me to take that step back and think about living not only the most joyful life I possibly can, but also the healthiest. Most don’t understand, they say I go overboard, i think about it too much, but that’s ok. They can say or believe what they want. I am at peace with that.
    You mentioned time is most valuable, and although I know that, sometimes I forget, so for that reason I am putting my phone down to spend QUALITY time with my baby! Happy thanksgiving!

  42. So sorry for the loss of your granny! I too lost three of my grandparents long ago, and I’ve only one granny left. This post is worth its weight in gold. Such wise advice is hard to come by. It’s so easy to follow the health craze for the wrong reasons!

    Very often I hear people telling me I should take better care of myself. Until a few years ago, this had always struck me as slightly selfish—why should my eight hours’ sleep be so important, rather than, say, making time to volunteer? Then I had a very difficult time in my life, in which I crammed way too much… I won’t bore you with the details, but someone I hold in high esteem told me to slow down. I said I couldn’t, because I had to do this and that, and still some more. Then he said “If you’re not well, you cannot help people as much or as well as you could otherwise”. OUCH! That made me react.

    It does seem, especially to the self-denying Christian mindset of giving yourself to others, that actively taking care of yourself comes down as a bit selfish. All I say is, everyone should know why they do what they do and set their priorities straight. At the end of the day, it is obvious you can’t give what you don’t have, and that’s flat.

  43. This will never be old or out dated.
    Things I have been striving to practice for my 43 years.