It is more precious than gold. It is more beautiful than the goddess Venus in her ripest year. It is more powerful than our radiant sun. It is your health. Yet for the majority of us, especially youth, it is often taken for granted and overlooked.
The only people who seem to truly value health are those who have lost it. They are the ones who fight an arduous battle on a daily basis to hopefully one day see the world as you probably already do.
The world through the eyes of the healthy is a dream, but most do not realize it. Every morning is greeted with anticipation, not dread. Appointments can be made freely without worry of being able to make the meetings. A walk to class is but a walk, not a mission to retain balance.
If you are healthy, your world is large and vibrating with opportunity. It is vivid in color and pleasant to look at. The people around you seem to complement your life and add interest. But without health, the world seems too big and all the opportunities are nothing more than reminders of what you cannot do. The same world with the same people is transformed by your perception of reality.
Without health, the world is not much more than crashing sounds and a blur of burden. Even your favorite friends are now not much more than figures that are just as alien to you as the masses who do not understand your plight. Restrictions echo every corner, hesitation is always near and perhaps one of the saddest results is the knowledge that you could have saved yourself from sickness.
While we cannot protect ourselves from all illnesses, we should actively try to maintain good health. So, if you are reading this article and would consider yourself healthy, just stop. Take a break to realize that at this moment in time you are unbelievably blessed. There are thousands of people currently straining in uncomfortable hospital beds and praying through tears to be like you.
So consider yourself lucky. You may think that health and youth is synonymous, but this is not necessarily true. Please realize that just because you have the ability to do something now, does not mean that you always will. Your ability is dependent on your health; do not be fooled to think that it is permanent or guaranteed.
At the beginning of this new school year I have but one pearl of advice for all of you: change whatever you have to do in your life to protect your health. This means the desire to have total health, both mentally and physically. If this means you have to revamp your priorities in life, then do it. Your shiny expensive toys and even your framed diploma will be useless if you do not have the health to enjoy them. Both will just gather dust as you wonder endlessly why things went wrong.
So, to safeguard yourself from such a depressing reality, adjust your life to promote proper health. When it comes to physical health, make sure to be cautious of what you eat. This is especially important to all those new freshmen out there, with your first dosage of college freedom do not plunge into the depths of the junk food world. Not only will this help fight the evil Freshman 15, which does exist (along with the Sophomore 10), but it will hopefully help in allowing you to enjoy all the facets of college life.
We all know the importance of proper nutrition and exercise and it is not difficult to incorporate such things into our lives. Think of it this way: soy milk does not taste nearly as bad as it sounds and you might end up meeting your future spouse at the gym.
In addition to attaining physical health, it is just as important to also strive for mental health. There are many stresses that we put on ourselves that are self-imposed. You might think that it is necessary to take on 18 units a quarter, work an extra job or even be the resident therapist for all your friends, but all of these things put pressure on your mind and body.
While you may not know how close you are to being on your last nerve, realize that if you strain your mind too much there will be a revolt. There is a reason terms like ‘burn-out’ and ‘breakdown’ exist; they are concepts that are real. So be careful with your mind, limit your exhaustion and never try to do more than you can handle. At the end of the day, if nothing went right, but at least you have your health, you have succeeded.
Farnaz Mohiuddin is a third-year literary journalism major.