Honestly, who leaves a Christmas tree up for six weeks?

My husband, Kyle, and I reluctantly took our huge, ten-foot Christmas tree down after its epic six-week stint through Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.

We went big this season, with it being Kyle’s first REAL tree (ever!) and it being our first married Christmas. Perhaps we prolonged its display, too, because we live on a major street corner, and the lights and ginormous lit star on top could be seen for miles (or…a few blocks)!?

It all started after just six days of enlightening our living room… The wilting, that is.

I didn’t realize Christmas trees need TLC, too?! We got on Google ASAP (“how to care for a Christmas tree”) and began watering it every day, but the tree didn’t drink the water.

And its wilting got worse.

We had an idea to spray the branches with a squirt bottle, but it seriously struggled to get the curl back in its branches. After another week of more wilting, our tree mirrored that of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. We accepted our chronic weeping willow, and kept that thing lit for its remaining holiday showdown, but later realized the issue:

Dried sap will form a seal over the cut stump within several hours if the water level falls below the base of the tree. This prevents absorption and leads to CHRONIC drying out, deterring future water uptake and livelihood.

And we let the water level fall below the base of the tree. Major fail.

After finally taking the decs down last week and ingeniously throwing our dead Christmas tree off our third story balcony for the city truck to pick up, I reflected on its dear life in our living room.

Next year, we will get a new tree and make SURE that thing is watered daily. Maybe I’ll even make my husband do an extra watering at 3 AM (too far…!?) to make sure the pine needles are healthy and happy :).

Unlike a sick Christmas tree, when our body is chronically ill, we can’t just toss it away and wait for the next season to buy a new one. We have to take care of ourselves proactively to maintain good health, like watering a tree.

Chronic Disease is Preventable

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis – are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S.”

And chronic diseases are a  MAJOR problem plaguing 133 million Americans, or almost 1 out of every 2 people.

Prevention is supposedly the best cure, right? And yet 75% of healthcare costs are tied to chronic disease, the most PREVENTABLE type of disease.

At $2.3 trillion, or 16.2% of our GDP, the United States spent MORE on healthcare in 2008 than combined federal expenditures for national defense, homeland security, education, and welfare.

Let that one sink in for a bit.

In the midst of our national debt crisis, we could all be freaking heroes if only we took ownership for our health!

Why is it that, as Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “We forget ourselves and our destinies in health; and the chief use of temporary sickness is to remind us of these concerns”…?

I would dare say that these outrageous statistics of chronic disease in our country delve into a deeper issue, one tied to the reasons behind why so many of us even get to the point of chronic disease.

If we remember ourselves and our purpose daily, then we will do the things we need to do to best achieve our destinies… including nourishing our minds, bodies and souls on a daily basis. That means that every choice, every bite, every step, every thought, and every DAY has implications on our FUTURE health conditions and the associated costs. More importantly, our daily health choices have implications for whether we ultimately achieve our destinies or not.

Is it worth it to invest in eating healthy, moving our bodies, and nourishing our souls?? Apparently, it could be worth $4.13 trillion in 2023 if we don’t.

Looking at that statistic, I don’t know how we COULDN’T believe that health truly is wealth.

Don’t be a statistic. Don’t wait until “the water level falls below the base of the tree,” and the wilting starts to set in for life.  Take responsibility for your own daily decisions to maintain and improve your wellness, so that you optimize your wellness and your journey along the way.