Is health a currency?

Today’s little piece of wisdom was inspired by three things. The first is the movie In Time, that’s main premise is that being employed means that you get more life to live past 25. If you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest that you rent it.

The second point of inspiration is something that one of my graduate professors had said during one of my classes in my first MPH semester:

Most people don’t get sick…that’s the reality.

The last point of inspiration is something that my mother constantly reinforces whenever I speak with her. And it’s not something groundbreaking, or an expression that she coined. But it’s important nonetheless:

The only thing important in this life is your health. Health precedes all else.

The question of whether or not health is (or should be) a currency is more of a hypothetical one as health is viewed differently across cultures, socio-economic circumstances and health status. It’s stands true that for many of us, while we are healthy, health doesn’t occupy a high priority in our daily lives. With school, work, family and daily obstacles, health rarely becomes a consistent/persistent thought in our minds.

Here’s a genius formula that I invented and this is really what lead to me writing this post:

Health = independence. Independence = ability to work. Ability to work = money. This means that Health = money….correct?

The inverse could also be assumed depending on your ability to obtain health, which in the US is more of a privilege than a right (money = health).

But if health plays such a fundamental and critical role in our lives, why is health such an after thought? Why do smokers choose to smoke, or alcoholics choose to drink? Furthermore, why are we so focused on attaining a high social status, many times meaning that we neglect our health for monetary gain? I read a post the other day written by my friend, Ryan Witt in which he talked about happiness in the work environment and the new wave of management. And while Ryan’s post focused more on productivity that comes from life coaching, healthy habits and energy optimization, I take a more broader approach and categorize all of those into HEALTH – the overarching principle.

For many of us (and probably my mother), health is more strongly viewed as physical health. Are you sick or are you not? If not, then you are healthy. However, in many of today’s textbooks, classrooms and cultures, health is viewed from all perspectives, including physical, mental, social. So if health plays such a significant role in our day-to-day lives, why do we first deal in money, in time, in resources….why does health occupy such a low hierarchical level?

Now as you may have noticed, many of my posts don’t provide answers to such questions as I subscribe to the thinking that there is more than one answer, and one human being is NOT capable of formulating a single “correct” answer without a community involvement.

I do want to leave you with a thought and a question. The thought:

If our main goals in life include living a healthy one, then we are not being true to ourselves by not prioritizing our lives around our health.

The question(s) (whose answer is hopefully fairly intuitive…at least for me):

If you were to choose between being the richest AND sickest person on Earth, or the healthiest AND poorest person on Earth, which would you choose? Would you choose to live a life of decadence yet spent in hospitals, or would you choose to live modestly (perhaps even an overstatement) yet healthy?

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