A-Z Survival Guide to Life
P – Prevention
This is the sixteenth installment in the A-Z Survival Guide to Life I am writing for my boys.
I was going to do P-Procrastination, but then I said to myself “Nah, I’ll do it later.”
Prevention – I spent a great deal of time thinking about this one. There are so many things you are supposed to do to prevent stuff when you get older, in fact I have come to the conclusion you could spend your whole life doing things to prevent stuff, that you really wouldn’t have much time to do anything else. I Googled “how to prevent things” and my search results included the following-all on the first page of the results –
How to prevent global warming
How to prevent infectious diseases
How to prevent storm water run off
How to prevent cancer
How to prevent violence
The list goes on and on. And all of these sites come with either 10 things to prevent this, or here is a list of 25 things you should do to prevent this, it is all so incredibly overwhelming (and why is it always in increments of 5, why can’t it be “Here are 11 things you should do to prevent moths from collecting at your front door light?”).
And in addition to all the things (usually 10 or 25 things) you can do to prevent stuff from happening according to the internet, you also get barraged by all the things you need to do according to the doctors, the dentists and all the specialists you might visit on a yearly basis. So – where does one start in preventing things. Perhaps we should start with the top 11 things you need to do to minimize stress and keep the things that you have, functioning and in a good state of repair.
- Brush your teeth – try for twice a day if you can (actually I think it is really after every meal, but I think I have only met one person in my entire lifetime who really did this – and she was disgustingly perfect in everything she did), that’s the recommendation. Sometimes, you might be so tired at the end of the day, you might not want to, but do you really want an entire day’s worth of food fermenting in the crevices of your teeth overnight?
- Go to the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning – And yes, my oldest they are going to tell you all the things that are wrong with your teeth, but that’s their job to make you feel terrible about your dental hygiene. These visits will also encourage you to floss regularly for about the first week or so after the visit, and then you will forget. But try to floss as often as you. Put a picture of your dentist up on your bathroom mirror, this might be a helpful reminder.
- Have a physical examination yearly – this may seem overwhelming as well, but it is only one time out of 365 days. I like to think of the Primary Care Provider as the gatekeeper – they are the ones that tell you all the things that are wrong with you and then they refer you to more people that can tell you specifically where you have failed in your prevention tactics, so then you have more things to do to prevent stuff.
- Visit a dermatologist for a routine screening – perhaps you can do this yearly as well. This is especially important because of your fair skin and freckles. Just do it on the same day you go to your Primary Care Physician – you could make a day of it. How fun would that be? I would schedule the two appointments several hours apart, or at least schedule the Dermatologist appointment first, they never run behind, and they only take about 5 minutes. Primary Care Physicians always run late.
- Take your car in for its oil changes – Nowadays, you don’t really even need to remember when that is, because the car will remind you and remind you. Do not put the oil changes and services off, especially when the car is still under warranty, because if something does go wrong, and you haven’t been doing the recommended maintenance things, they can come back and say it was your fault. Plus, if you do the oil changes and services regularly, the car will last even after the last car payment is made. A life without car payments, is a wonderful thing.
- Take your pets in for the yearly visits – this is very, very important. Make sure their vaccinations are up to date. Get your dogs groomed and their nails clipped regularly, this will keep them happy and healthy and they sure look cute when they come home with their little bandanas on.
- Wear sunscreen – If you think you are going to be outside for long periods of time – please wear sunscreen, or keep covered up. Again, with our freckled, fair skin, this is an absolute must.
- Eat a vegetable once in a while – The current recommendation states that you should eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, not per year. I am not exactly sure how one is supposed to accomplish this. It seems to me you would be eating all day long. This is a tricky one, indeed.
- Start healthy skin habits – Now I know that you think I am nuts about taking care of your skin, but it is the largest organ on your body and how you take care of it when you are young will dictate the health of your skin as you age. Apply moisturizer to your skin after the shower, and use a really good cream for your face. You will be glad you did in about 20 years, when all your peers are developing wrinkles, and you are not.
- Wash your hands – all the time. Don’t get nutty about it, but the more you wash your hands, the less chance you will have of contracting the illness of the season. Try not to directly touch door handles when leaving a public restroom, use your sleeve or a paper towel to open the door. Remember – most people do not wash their hands properly and I shudder to think what types of microbes reside on the door handles of public restrooms, and for that matter shopping carts, elevator buttons, etc. etc. etc.
- Enjoy life – this is probably the most important piece of advice. You could spend all this time worrying about things you should do to prevent illnesses, loss of teeth, cancer, global warming, violence, car malfunctions, but the bottom line is all of this has to be done in moderation and not fanatically. All the experts have their top 10 tips, but use a filter, decide what is most important. Be sensible, wear your seatbelt, avoid serial killers and life will be good.
And if you think this is bad, wait until you have children – the expert tips and guidelines increase exponentially.