Tragedy and Misfortune · 8 August 2013

It sounds a bit morbid, but I have used tragedies and misfortune to my own benefit. Then again, I suppose we all should.

As a young man, I never worried about health and fitness. I was always active and thought I was healthy. That mindset changed when my cousin Danny died in his mid-thirties.

Danny was only nine months older than I and he was always active. In fact, he was on a run with his brother when he collapsed and passed away. Eighty percent blockage in an artery. Nobody could believe it. He was so young. So active. So vibrant. And we thought, so healthy.

When Danny died, I figured I ought to look at my own health. I started getting a yearly physical exam that year. I got a treadmill test two years in a row to make sure my heart was okay. I even had a body fat measurement. (I thought it was way off at twenty-something percent, but looking back, I am sure it was right.) And of course, I had blood tests to check my cholesterol and other important health factors.

(Those physicals and accompanying tests were a big part of why I have been looking for the best diet for so many years. When my brother told me he had diabetes, I had even more impetus to find the right eating plan.)

I may or may not have always been healthy, but I have always been active. Then, when I ruptured my Achilles tendon, I discovered that I needed to have a better plan than just being a weekend warrior. I needed to do more than play basketball or some sport for an hour or so on weekends.

Despite what the surgeon said, I was determined to play basketball again. To his credit, he told me I would need to do certain exercises to keep my Achilles strong. It is after all, muscle tissue. I listened and worked hard at rehabilitating my leg. I was able to play again, but I am still doing the exercises to keep my Achilles strong. And I have taken the doctor’s advice to heart and stopped being a weekend warrior. I do a little something physical almost every day.

We are all sad and upset when tragedy and misfortune strike, but we need to learn from them. Whether it is a relatively simple thing like a ruptured tendon or a life altering event like a death in the family, we need to take control of what we can control and face whatever comes our way. For that is how we use tragedy and misfortune for our own benefit.

All these years later, it is still sad to think about my cousin’s untimely death. But I think Danny would be proud that I have used his tragedy as a benefit to my own life and health.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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