I know a Hungarian man in his fifties who fled Communist Hungary on foot. He believes, among other things, that poor people are poor because they are lazy. I would strongly disagree on many levels, but also because in terms of material wealth, I am poor, and I am a workaholic. He sells carpet and does exceptionally well financially. I promote fitness and health and just make ends meet (although in terms of having touched many people’s lives in a positive way, I feel very wealthy). Apparently, people would rather buy new carpet than invest in better quality of life.
The reason that I mention this person, whom I will call “Andy” is because of a conversation that I will always remember having with him. It was just after Katrina and I was lamenting the fate of all of the people who could not leave before the hurricane arrived. Andy’s response was, and relating it to his departure from Hungary under the threat of Communism, “Ve valked to escape” and he adamantly and honestly believed that people would have survived if they simply had walked out of New Orleans.
So what is the point of this blog? People could not have simply walked out of New Orleans to safety for many, many reasons, so I strongly disagree with Andy. He felt that they were just too lazy (since a disproportionate number of poor people lost their lives) to walk. The way that I do agree with Andy, however, is if that more people invested in their health and fitness, they would have better quality of life and a significantly greater ability to confront and overcome challenges in their lives. Whether it was walking up a flight of stairs, around the block, playing outside with their kids or having the energy and positive attitude to find a better job or advance in their present job.
At a time of year that has lost its meaning and instead is all about shopping and buying gifts, aren’t you worth enough to invest in your own health and wellbeing? It would be an investment that would pay off a hundred fold and you and everyone around you would benefit. And God forbid, if a Katrina like challenge came into your life, you would be able to walk, or run, to safety.