Healthy means and healthy ends

I heard a refrain the other day about someone who passed away before their time – “He/she used to exercise and lead a healthy life. Sometimes you wonder, did all of that help?”

I’ve heard similar refrains in the past.

There are many quotes around smoking from the years it was in vogue. An example is – “Smoking kills but we were born to die anyway.” These quotes have been re-purposed for other unhealthy habits left, right, and center.

The strain of logic assumed in both examples is that healthy living would help us prolong our lives.

But, should it?

The question we must ask is – is doing something good a means to an end? Or, is it simply worth doing because it is good?

I would posit that it is almost always the latter. It is worth living healthy because we live every day feeling in our elements – feeling alive. Similarly, you don’t read because you are going to die the most knowledgeable human being you know. You read because you will be able to use what you learn to live a wiser, happier life.

Let’s not confuse quality and quantity. After all, it isn’t the years in our life that count. It is the life in those years.

8 thoughts on “Healthy means and healthy ends

  1. Agree these things are ‘worth’ doing regardless, but statistically speaking, someone’s bias will always be in search of the outlier (see: “But Willie Nelson is still alive).

    That doesn’t change the fact that (statistically-speaking) not smoking, limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising 30+ mins 3-4x/week, wearing sunscreen, et al. greatly increase our odds of living a longer, healthier life.

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  2. Yes, being healthy increases the quality of the days you have alive. You wake up feeling good, and you have solid energy throughout the day. In addition, you are happier and more positive.

    Eating like $hit, usually leads to the opposites of what I mentioned above.

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  3. Yes! Going further on the book example, sometimes I read nonfiction because I enjoy sitting down and reading, not even seeking the near-future reward of being wiser.

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  4. I personally enjoy exercising because it makes me feel strong and vital and I carry that into other areas of my life. My motto here is : I’m going to do me. You do you…

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