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Articles & Interviews > Reflections by the Current

by Betty Murr

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On a warm lazy sunny afternoon in the Ozarks, on the banks of the Current River where I spent my childhood, I sat remembering my earlier years. What a good life. I thought of so much to be thankful for. My immediate family is still living, though each with their own challenges and obstacles, my brothers, sisters, and parents. I was alone. My husband had died of cancer 18 months prior, following 20 years of marriage. Now my challenge was to pull myself together and move on with living. Memories. Just wonderful memories, precious memories.

A friend had suggested I take along a book and at least look at it. I did. As I looked at the book, I breathed in the clean fresh moist air. The sound of flowing water in the river was soothing as it passed slowly downstream. Birds were singing in the nearby trees. I swatted at a horsefly that sat on my knee, ready to make a meal of me. I missed. It was too quick. I looked at the book. It was red and blue and titled, It's Your Life-Choose Well, written by Kathleen K. Passanisi. My gaze fell to the six artistic depictions on the back of the book. I looked closer and studied them intently. There was a hand, a light bulb, a pencil, an apple, a sun, and a heart. I was curious. Why would an author so blatantly place these items on the back cover? Then I realized it was a synopsis of the book.

An apple made me think of the old saying, "an apple a day will keep the doctor away." Or, was it, "an onion a day will keep everyone away?" Indeed this was a simple nudge to remind me of my physical well being. Health is taken for granted until you have problems and then, only then, does it seem to take center stage and become so precious. Do you want to take care of your health while you have it? Of course, we all do. But what is meant by "good health"? To me it means being well.

Good health can include good physical health (the apple), and mental health (the light bulb) as well as emotional health (heart). All of these are essential to being well. In addition, a hand represents the social relationships in life. One cannot live in solitude. We are social animals. We need other people. The sun reminded me that we all need a spiritual outlook on life. We need to believe in something. For me this is the religious aspect of my well being. The pencil reminded me that most of us need a vocation in order to afford the luxuries of a good life and to live comfortably in an environment of our own choosing.

A happier, healthier and saner life is still possible after 50, even for me. Kathleen had presented numerous gentle nudges throughout the book that encouraged me to keep on reading. Just enough humor was included to keep my interest peaked.

Hours later, with tears from laughter rolling down my cheeks, I realized that I had just experienced a life changing event with this book. Just for the health of it! Yes, indeed. This book is heartily recommended for a change of pace for everyone. Your life can be filled with humor as you address issues and experience life to its fullest. Choose Well. It is your life. Only you can make the choice. I wonder, have you ever seen a horse fly?

About the author of the book:
Kathleen Keller Passanisi, PT, CSP, CPAE is a seasoned health care professional and former radio columnist. A member of the Speakers Hall of Fame, she has spoken to hundreds of thousands about quality of life issues and left them rolling in the aisles. Recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in the discipline of therapeutic humor, Kathleen draws from personal experience and connects with any adult trying to make the most of life in a complicated world.