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Choices Matter

How do you think you'll die? At what age do you think you'll pass? If you're younger, you're probably thinking peacefully in old age. You aren't thinking that you'll pass decades earlier and even less, by your own hand. If you're older, you may have a notion that you've already done the damage or done yourself in.

It all comes down to choices. Our mortality, how and when it happens, how it plays out, peaceful or not comes largely down to choice. From the day you are born, when the clock starts ticking so to speak, it matters what you ingest, whom you love, how you love, and how you self-soothe. As organisms, what we ingest, our food, our drink, our media, our information, our guidance is critical. There are bad choices for what we ingest, and they can ruin your being and shorten your lifespan.

Many of those we see on hospice come by way of choice: those who choose to smoke and vape; those who do all forms of drugs; those who drink heavily; those who eat too much; those who don't eat well; those who acquire transmissible illnesses; those who abuse themselves; those who live with interminable stresses. The road to hospice is paved with poor, but smaller, seemingly insignificant choices - trying that one cigarette; having one drink to calm your nerves. Each of these choices, driven by poor self-worth and existential anxiety, will cause damage seen or not, and over time will contribute to an overall accumulation and degradation. And for many of us, it is in our 40's and 50's where poor choice starts to manifest, where things start to break down, where the car begins to need repairs. Sometimes the repairs are a wake-up call; sometimes they are not enough.

You, the younger person hearing this, you are the one to whom I'm really speaking. You still have the ability to choose how your health will go. You can choose not to vape or smoke; to depend on alcohol; to do drugs; to eat poor quality food; to eat to excess; to gorge on media; to justify indulging in "softer" addictions. You can choose to protect yourself sensibly and courageously in your relationships. You can choose to educate yourself with evidence-based studies which exist, understanding what behaviors and ingestions there are which lead to longevity. If you do these things, practice valuing your health at an early age, making sure that, "what you ingest is the best," there might not been a 100% guarantee you'll survive to older age, 80 and above, but you will radically increase your odds.

You can have a chance to mitigate or postpone cancer, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, cirrhosis, end-stage renal disease, neurodegenerative disease, obesity mortality, chronic infections, and chronic inflammatory conditions. Listen to a hospice medical director: you don't want to end up earlier than expected on hospice.

Choices matter.


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