Picture a little girl roughhousing in the yard with her dad. He tosses her in the air then leaves her to start the lawn mower and tackle the backyard chores. Soon he’ll be rehydrating from the garden hose and deciding what time to fire up the grill for their healthy chicken and corn dinner.
After the barbecue, they will test the Ph in their above-ground pool together, and he will remind her that he can’t attend her upcoming camp show because he has a routine cardiologist appointment.
The year before, it turns out, his doctor had alerted him to an alarming heart condition, so he made the important lifestyle changes in diet and exercise that would allow him to live a long, fruitful life.
This was not my dad.
My dad was the man who lost his long battle from his cardiology condition when I was in college, leaving a gaping hole in our family.
He was not necessarily to blame. Back then, we didn’t have all the information that we do now. I, conversely, am able to live my life intentionally. Since heart disease runs in my family, I do the things that I know will give me a better shot at longevity.
It is easier for us now to make the intentional choices that allow us to be more proactive about our health. Living intentionally is a conscious decision, and one that allows us to take responsibility for our own successes and can help us in all aspects of our lives.
We can focus on things we can control, and try not to stress too much about what we can’t.
Instead of watching the weather forecast and fretting about possible rain on an outdoor graduation party, we can consider a Plan B: looking into restaurants or tents or selecting a rain date.
Plan. Think through. Make things happen. Again, control what you can.
Living proactively isn’t just for our health. It can be applied to communication as well. In a business transaction, for example, we should think about any scenario that might arise and address it beforehand. Are you wasting your entire day waiting around for a furniture delivery? Will you be entitled to any refund if your college student’s classes go remote because of COVID-19? Get all the details of any arrangement in writing so that there are no questions, an approach that is taught in every Business 101 class.
Setting intentions are important in our personal lives as well. Your girl’s weekend with your college roommates coincides with the beach weekend your husband had planned? What solutions could you think of before having the conversation with either your friends or your husband? Could you change the hotel dates without penalty? Will that beach house be open for any other date? Investigating options and solutions beforehand will make life easier for everyone, whether it’s vacation planning, car maintenance, healthcare, planning for a college education…or even a meal!
Being proactive and making conscious choices requires setting intentions and planning. But it will allow you, and those around you, to lead a much more fulfilled, and possibly even a longer life.