We have one life to live, so take care of your health

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“If I’d have known that I’d live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself. I didn’t expect to make it to 30.” My co-worker grew up hard, in an area where recreation of all kinds was fueled by alcohol.

No matter where we grew up and under which circumstances, young people tend to think they’ll live forever. I was no different, until in my 23rd year with a third child on the way. I should’ve died in a farming accident. What I’ve since learned about life and how short it really is, has been invaluable.

Mental health
(Photo: iStock)

We need the most help when we’re at our lowest. I’m beyond thankful that we live in days where there are options to help us recover. Despite that, dealing with insurance, recovery, rehab, and endless doctor visits, in a word – sucks!

If you’ve been through it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I’ll try to tune the engine so you can hear what it’s like.

Think about the worst experience you’ve ever had on the road, or even in your nightmares. For instance, dropping down the side of a mountain and as you carefully come around a corner, the road conditions change and ahead of you, everything is sheer.

Sheer ice on the road. Sheer drop-offs, where you can’t even see the valley floor. Vehicles twerking and jerking. Fog swirling. You want to wake up, but it’s real. And seems to be never-ending.

It doesn’t matter what is the cause of the rehab. Physical injury. Mental. Addiction.

No matter what brought you to this point, you have a decision to make. Are you willing to survive? What will it take to thrive?

You only live once

We have heard all the cliches such as “You only live once”; “Live like you’re dying”; or one of my favorites, “Are you too busy dying to live?”

You won’t be able to answer this at once. Or even once. You’ll need to keep reminding yourself. There’ll be days that are bleak. Those might be the bright ones.

Keep answering that question.

If you’re in this position, you will need to work hard at your rehab. Here are some tips.

Do your best to learn as much as possible about your challenges. If you are not able, try to have an advocate with you to help. Even if you’re as sharp as a steel cord sticking out of a tire, your perspective may not be so good.

This becomes even more important as you try to deal with insurance, banks, and whatever kind of wage replacement you’re relying on. It sucks. I would say be prepared, but you won’t be.

You, and your advisor (husband, wife, brother, mother, doesn’t matter) are the only ones to trust. You must be very careful. If something isn’t in your best interest, then you need to hold tight and work to get your best deal.

In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to deal with any of those financial matters. Of course there may be some who don’t need to worry about where the money will come from.  You’re probably not an owner-operator then, or even a company driver. Most I know are living paycheque to skinny paycheque. Especially in these high inflation days.

A former boss told me that he always made sure he had six months’ cash reserve. He wasn’t a truck driver. At that point in my life, I probably had a six-month reserve of bills. 

I used to plan how my paycheque was spent. Not a bad idea, but there was never a reserve, so a rainy day left me underwater.

Keep drive alive

You’ll probably make lots of mistakes, but you will do the best you can. Seriously. I’ve made tons of mistakes. But I’ve learned from all of them, so is it really a mistake? Not really. We’re all doing the best we can with the information we have at the time.

Keep the drive alive in you.

You won’t be what you were before your challenge. You will be better.

That fire that is in us, that keeps us moving forward, may only be a spark, but it has the power to push us ahead.

Not what you were. Better.

Maybe I should say, plan for the worst, hope for the best, and be thankful for each step. 

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David Henry is a longhaul driver, Bell Let's Talk representative and creator/cohost of the Crazy Canuck Truckin podcast. His passion is mental health and presenting a better image for trucking to the public.

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  • What you said is so true life is too Short and can end in a instant or change for ever. In my opinion alcohol should only be used in moderation . I also think smoking of all kinds should in a small amount as I have seen the effects on people health. I think the trucking industry ( trucking association) and the truck drivers need to plan for the worst and hope for the best. We should do this as industry or California type laws may have to come in to protect the workers in the transport industry.