What would you tell yourself if you could do it all over again? Let's say you could start at age 14 - or around 8th grade and ready to grow up and head off to high school? What kind of advice would you want to hear? I remember my 8th grade graduation, but I do not remember who spoke. I remember my high school graduation, but I do not remember who spoke. I remember who spoke at my college graduation (Bill Cosby) but I do not remember the actual graduation because I was working for Club Med in the Bahamas on pink sand beaches 16-18 hrs a day 7 days a wk, while my friends walked in black robes. A day that I will never be able to have back. For grad school? There were lots of speakers, in fact entirely too many of them. Just have one and be done with it. No one really want to hear the speakers (ok, well, maybe a few people...), they want their diploma's and they want to say that they graduated.
It is February, no where near graduation time, so why am I writing about it now? Well, I was asked to speak at my grade school graduation. 8th graders are going to listen to me - oh yes they are. Even now I am thinking about what I am going to say that will stay in their heads. Something, just a little tiny something that will resonate with them. Maybe a funny story from when I went to the school that they are leaving. Maybe, something to the affect that as they grow up they should never underestimate the importance of saying "please" "thank you" and "I am sorry". That their hearts will break and plans will often not go they way they wanted, but really and truly, things do work out. But I really want to make some kind of lasting and positive impression on these kids that goes beyond the "I had a stroke and open heart surgery" story. So if you have any thoughts (or know of any 8th graders that might have some thoughts) let me know!
This week I spoke to several doctors. The reasons for why I had the conversations varied from casual encounters to more formal appointments. However, during all instances, one topic of discussion was my heart. This topic often comes up since I feel my heart beat every day and feel that extra flutter whether I am sitting down relaxing or approaching mile 3 on the treadmill. I know my heart, and am convinced that I know it better than any doctor. No matter what they say, what I feel is what I feel. Whether it be an extra beat, a flutter, a stop, it is something deep inside my chest that I was not aware of before my surgery. The hypersensitivity to this muscle is not always a good thing, and sometimes sends me into panic mode, but it also gives me an appreciation for each beat and rhythm that goes on.
For this Valentine's Day I wish you a Happy Heart, and many more healthy beats, how ever fast, slow or irregular.
Why do I Go Red? The American Heart Association works tirelessly to get its message out their about the importance of heart health for women everywhere. One simple way is by wearing Red. Everyone, everywhere, on the same day. Today, February 6, 2009 is Go Red for Women Day.
-One in three women die of heart disease
-Every minute of every day a woman dies from a heart related issue.
-Heart disease is the nations number 1 killer
What frustrates me to no end is that more often than not heart disease (and subsequently stroke) is preventable. As someone who has spent more than half of my life in the fitness industry, I see people who make positive changes to their lives everyday. I come across people who take better steps to a healthier heart. Of course there are those heart problems occur without warning no matter what steps were taken. My stroke was caused by a congenital heart defect. No matter what choices I made, my stroke would probably have occurred. I Go Red for my own heart, for my mother's heart, for my grandmother, my sister, and all the women who do not have a voice or a choice in the matter.