Learning to Live

Today's post is authored by fellow MedEq Member, and member of the Education Project Group, Kavya Davuluri. 

There are a thousand and one ways through which education impacts health.

It will only take one however, to prove my point.

Education is learning. Regardless of what we do, whether staring into the clouds, listening to music, or even sleeping, we are always learning.  It’s amazing how we can go about living our daily lives and each day, no matter how little attention you are paying, you learn something. The famous mantra of, “Learn something new everyday.” resonates well within each and every one of us whether we believe it or not. Clearly, when you’re in school, you’re trying your hardest to learn and often times, funnily, the information doesn’t stick when most you want it to. All the while, you’re gaining some information. Education in its literal sense is what prepares us for our careers and future which is not only beneficial at the individual level, but more importantly at the community level as well.

But what about when you’re a baby? You never expressed a conscious effort to learn, but it still happened! You managed to learn how to flap your tongue around and make certain sounds which have certain meanings. Then, you took an idea that simply had an abstract existence in some neurons of your brain and turn it into a sound that goes and pounds against someone else’s eardrum and becomes a thought in their mind.

Confused? Sorry. What I’m talking about is simply complex, or complexly simple: language.

Back to you as a baby though. You, as nothing but an adorable little infant, managed to gain the key to humanity without even trying. Sure, your parents likely corrected you and emphasized that it was “water” and not “wawa” but a toddler version of you didn’t go to sleep enunciating “wadar, wader, water” into the darkness of your nursery. You didn’t even have to try. You were naturally talented. Gifted, you could call it.

But I’m going to burst your bubble and let you know that it’s sort of the norm for humans to learn language as a baby. But cheer up, you still have that amazing ability I described above. Start from “flap your tongue,” should you want to review.

My point is this: education is learning. You can learn about something. Understand it. Figure out how to wield it, much like a knife. Use it for simple things like chopping up vegetables or chopping down a tree. Okay. Let me make this more practical: math, for example. Use it to figure out how much a tip is going to be at the end of the night, or how much it’ll cost to refinance a house.

Let me make it a little more important than tipping. Being healthy. You can learn how to be healthy, training yourself to do it, or being taught or trained by another person, likely a professional. Whatever manner you decide to learn through, the most important thing is that you are. Learning, I mean. And learning what? To be healthy.

This is one way in which education impacts health.  

Being healthy isn’t just about being able to wake up in the morning, sucking in the air and smiling instantly and feeling refreshed. It’s not some commercial for some product that won’t work. Being healthy is about life.

It’s a small miracle that we exist. Both scientifically and religiously. We are given a life. We can become writers, musicians, architects, dreamers, eaters, sleepers, laughers, relaxers, runners, friends, mothers, brothers…anything we aspire to be. All you have to do to live a full life, full of possibility and opportunities taken, is to be healthy.

I know. There are things out there that ruin our chances of living out this gift of existence; things we can’t keep away simply by being healthy. Alzheimer’s. Leukemia. Breast Cancer. Sickle Cell. Huntington’s. Allergies.

But there are so, so many more things that people do to themselves. There are so, so many things that you can prevent, that you can avoid simply by being healthy. Being healthy isn’t the key to a long, happy life; it is life. Health is what lets us get up in the morning and, maybe not rise up super refreshed and ready, but it’s what gives us the chance to smile at all.

The first step is this: learn. Educate yourself on how to be healthy. Talk to your doctor. Read books written by educated people. Don’t Google, though. Join a gym and meet a personal trainer. Come to MedEq events and find out more about being put in touch with the right people.

Learning may actually be the hard part. The whole actual doing of it? Piece of cake. Don’t let the sun turn you to leather, eat things that bloom, visit a doctor every now and then, don’t suck on a flaming tube of tobacco, take a vitamin, jog to the beat of a familiar song, dream often.

Education is learning. Learning how to be healthy…why, that’s life.

I’ve given you the key. The rest?

Up to you, my friend.

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