Do you know you’re dying? From the day we’re born — especially after we stop growing — our bodies are continuously deteriorating. Organs don’t do their jobs quite so well, digestive systems can get sluggish, fat is easy to amass and muscle is in short supply with each passing year.

Yuck! Who needs that reminder on a bright spring morning? I think we all do! We only get one chance at maintaining our earthly bodies and the majority of us treat our vehicles and computers better than our bodies. We get tune-ups, oil changes, tire rotations and an occasional detail job on our cars; virus protection and back-up programs on our computers to ensure their continuing life spans.

I’ve talked to many people who haven’t been to a doctor in years and brag about it. Just because you haven’t had symptoms that required urgent attention doesn’t mean your body is healthy and all systems are good. Getting an annual physical evaluation could truly add years to your life. Men and women who are faithfully screened for cancer (breast, ovarian, prostate and colon) are much more likely to learn of a condition early and get effective treatment than those who wait for symptoms to appear.

Then there’s the issue of what we eat. Friends and total strangers apologize sheepishly if they’re spotted eating a pile of drive-thru fries. We all know it’s wrong, but it tastes so good, and this one order isn’t that big a deal, right? Uh, yeah it is, because there will surely be another round in a couple of days or next week.

Food is supposed to be fuel, not just something that delights our taste buds. Our physical engines can’t run properly if the only gas they get is processed meat and energy drinks.

Exercise is also a problem. If we do it right, it isn’t comfortable. It causes a little pain. Equally dismaying is the fact that we never arrive, we don’t attain a goal and get to stop working out. This self-inflicted pain is something we must endure for the rest of our lives if we want things to stay in good working order.

Yes, I’m preaching a bit. Part of the reason is that I needed this pep talk as much as anyone. Various circumstances have caused me to not be as faithful about working out and wise about what I consume. Yet, circumstances simply can’t be allowed to define and control my life.

Let’s all admit together that we have a choice, and start trying to make bolder, better ones. Itty-bitty choice changes will go a long way. My daughter makes her baby’s food and uses only organic produce. This 10-month-old eats spinach and carrots for breakfast and loves it!

If we all started taking care of ourselves as though we were making choices for a beloved baby, we’d live longer, healthier and productive lives.

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• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Diane Markins can be reached at Visit her blog at

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