Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Preventive Maintenance


“If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”—Eubie Blake

While driving to an appointment recently, I suddenly realized how much time I now spend in taking care of my physical body.  When a person is young and busy, he or she may let other things take precedence over important activities.  Physical well-being is one of those.  When you are young, you think you are going to live forever with the same vigor and stamina.

As an older adult, I am aware of how my expanding list of names and contact information for various specialists and how often medical appointments pop up on my calendar.  I see my physician twice a year—one for an annual physical and once to make sure my meds are working properly.  My dentist makes sure that I see him twice a year.  I have regular appointments with my ophthalmologist and have started seeing a chiropractor.  Of course, my gastroenterologist always makes sure that he has a shot at me every five years.  All of this, and I am a reasonably healthy person!

The time spent with these professionals is well worth the effort.  I consider this preventive maintenance.  Just as you make sure that you get your car serviced regularly and have an air conditioner technician check your HVAC every year, you want to avoid a problem or crisis at the most inauspicious time.

We are willing to take care of ourselves physically in order to avoid crisis, but I wonder how many of us are taking care of ourselves in other areas of our lives. 

Professionally, are we seeking out people who can help us assess our vocational needs, identify growth areas, and live intentionally?  Life coaches can provide this type of support to individuals.  As a coach, I also have a mentor coach who helps keep me focused.

Spiritually, are we engaged in practices that will strengthen and guide us each day?  We may do these in solitude, in community with other believers, and under the guidance of a spiritual director.  Such investment prepares us for those spiritual trials that will come into our lives.

Emotionally, are we involved in activities that allow us to stretch ourselves and invest in the lives of others?  Whether family, friends, church activities, or community service, we are more emotionally balanced when we spend time with others.  If we feel that we are being dragged down by a sense of grief, depression, or guilt, do we seek the aid of a professional counselor to help us?

How much time are you spending in preventive maintenance—physically, professionally, spiritually, and emotionally?  The investment will pay off in the long term.

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