Susan L. Farrell, Author

Living in Fear or the New Healthy Lifestyle?


In looking at the health histories of my parents, grandparents, and siblings, there have been some serious medical issues including cardiac disease, diabetes, skin cancer, colon polyps, and breast tumors. Some of these have involved multiple people.

Do I live in fear of getting any of these? No. Do I try to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid getting them? Yes!

I eat relatively healthy (most of the time). I exercise 4-5 times a week. I have never smoked. I don’t drink often, and when I do, not in access. I wear sunscreen, and usually a hat, when I’m outside and it’s sunny. I work to maintain a healthy weight. I get an annual physical with my physician, so I know if my lab work and vitals are still in acceptable ranges. I get colonoscopies and mammograms as scheduled. If something has changed, I want to know as soon as possible so that I can take action.

My husband has a similar family medical history. Unfortunately, though, he has heart issues rather than just a family history. Like me, he lives a healthy lifestyle and does the same things as I do. (Except he doesn’t get a mammogram. He gets a prostate exam. We argue about which is worse.)

We don’t consider any of this as living in fear. We consider it living a lifestyle that will keep us as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Since COVID-19 emerged, life has changed drastically. There is still a great deal we do not know about the disease, especially the long-term effects.

Do we live in fear of getting it? No. Have we modified our lifestyle to avoid getting it? Yes!

We do as much as is practical to avoid being with people that aren’t in our immediate circle of friends and family. When we can’t, we try to stay at least 6 feet away. When we can’t do that, we wear a mask, especially indoors. We wash our hands frequently (that is nothing new). We shop online and order for curbside pickup or delivery whenever possible. We “eat out” frequently, but we do it with drive-through, pick-up, or curbside service. When we get together with others, we stay outside and usually do something active such as golfing, hiking, or riding bike.

For us, this is part of our new healthy lifestyle. Granted, we have it easier than many because my husband is retired, and I write from home. We don’t have to “go to work.”

There are many things we want to do when the pandemic is over. And we want to be healthy enough to be able to do these things. So, we’ve adopted a new healthy lifestyle appropriate for the current situation. Social distancing and wearing a mask just don’t seem to be that big of deal under the circumstances. (It’s easier than maintaining my weight!)

I know there are people who think we are living in fear. Honestly? I don’t care. Not only are we keeping ourselves as healthy as possible in today’s world, we are also helping to keep others healthy by not accidentally infecting them.


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