We are not guaranteed today nor promised tomorrow, and once today is gone – the time is spent and there’s no turning back to change events or choices. With something so precious – today, now, this moment right here – we owe it to ourselves to live this moment to the fullest. We need to live. With time’s incredible value in my mind, how could I choose to waste it? I can’t. I won’t. I choose to live life to the fullest and I hope you’ll join me.
When deciding what things are most important in life, there are very few that slot in above you own health. How do we prepare ourselves to be our healthiest version? By eating well, exercising, and taking care of our bodies.
Here, we’ll focus on taking care of ourselves by choosing ACTION over the alternative.
So many times I’ve heard others say, “I’m just not feeling it today. I’ll take it easy today and just get this workout in tomorrow.” Maybe they will work out tomorrow and maybe they won’t. I don’t know about you but I’m not hitching my health to maybe.
There was an event that happened early in my life that taught me how important exercise, and being healthy, can be. This story isn’t about me. It’s about a family friend – Brett. But still the message resonated with me and I’d like to think this story is one main reason why I choose ACTION over the alternative. (If violence is not what you want to read about, please skip to the conclusion or to another article. Otherwise, the message is a sound one. Thank you for reading either way).
Brett was about 15 years older than me and when I was 12-ish he was going through his residency after medical school. He’d always tell stories about the long hours, tough cases, and lack of sleep, and I’d always wonder why someone would put themselves through such a grueling schedule. But he wouldn’t stop there. Brett was active. He’d always make sure to tell me about the workouts he’d squeeze into his mornings or evenings. As if he didn’t already have enough on his plate, right?
I admired the passion he shared between fitness and treating patients.
He really maintained fitness as one of the bedrock pillars of his life and it showed in his physique. I remember thinking how efficient and organized someone must be to be in that good of shape during the 80 hour weeks at the hospital. It was impressive, no doubt.
The finely tuned machine was operating under maximum efficiency until one day everything came to a crashing halt.
Brett was leaving the hospital after one of those long and demanding shifts and making his way to the parking garage when he heard a scream. Off to his right, a man and a woman were struggling over something. It took Brett a second to realize the situation was off and that this woman was in danger. She screamed, “HELP!”
He had a choice. He could have put his head down, stayed out of it, and kept with the status-quo, or he could make the difficult choice to intervene – to choose action. His life was devoted to bettering himself and helping others, so it was a no-decision. Brett turned to confront the situation and the attacker.
In the few seconds it took Brett to close the distance between himself and the altercation, he could tell they were struggling over the woman’s purse and that the man had something in his hand. Brett didn’t know what exactly, but soon he’d find out.
In those few seconds, the attacker realized Brett was on the way and started to defend himself by raising his hand. At this point, everyone knew it was a gun that occupied that gloved hand. Not good.
Before the gun was raised up, Brett had made contact and the real fight began.
At this time the woman ran and called for help. Brett fought the attacker over possession of the gun and with blows to the head and body, but he was unable to overcome the disadvantage of not being armed himself. The attacker fired once. Brett fell and then the trigger was pulled two more times. All were hits.
The attacker fled and left Brett to bleed out. Aside from the woman escaping unharmed, the only good thing about this fight was the location. Lying on the pavement with three gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest, Brett was less than a block from the emergency room (ER).
Soon, help came and the doctors went to work.
After hours of surgery and multiple transfusions, the family had been notified and gathered in the waiting room with unparalleled terror in their hearts. “How could this have happened?”
The woman victim stayed with the family to express her gratitude and pray for this stranger that had saved her life. The guy that could’ve put his head down and kept walking, but instead chose to act.
After an eternity, the ER doors opened and a sweaty and defeated doctor put one foot in front of the other toward the group. It wasn’t a smile but it wasn’t a look of apology either. Skipping the pleasantries, he got right into it. The doctor recounted the severity of the wounds and their destruction to vital organs and structures. Eventually, he finished with, “This young man shouldn’t be alive right now. These wounds were in terrible places and caused a great deal of destruction, but he is in recovery now and stable. I’ve seen many patients in similar condition and they don’t typically make it. He is not clear yet, but I have every reason to believe he’ll make a full recovery.”
The family was remarkably able to exhale as the doc went on, “There are only two reasons I can think of as to why he’s still with us. 1) It was a miracle, and I don’t throw that word around commonly. 2) His body is in incredible shape and it’s obvious that he stresses himself regularly with exercise, and maybe because of that his body was able to fight just hard enough.”
Brett did make it and I’ll never forget this story or those doctor’s words. I don’t think there could be a better endorsement for fitness and regular exercise. I’m sure there were nights after 12 or 18-hour shifts that his body and mind told him to stop, go to bed, and rest, but Brett didn’t do that. He chose action. He made his health a priority and because of that, he’s still alive today.
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