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Life is a gift so live it
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It is a miracle, plain and simple.

I reached 53 years of age recently. It defies all the odds.

First there is conception that some put the odds at a million to one for the right sperm to connect with the right egg to start the process of creating the unique individual that each of us is today.

Then there is the infant mortality rate. Back in 1956 when I was born, it was just over 26 per 1,000 live births. It has now dropped below 7 per 1,000 live births. Compare those numbers to 135 per 1,000 in 1911.

Had I been born in 1900, my life expectancy would have been 47.3 years.

No matter how you slice it, those of us who are alive today and living in the United States are lucky.

Yet many of us squander what we've been given.

The human body is an amazing creation. It is resilient in so many ways. You can abuse it and fail to treat your body as a temple for years yet you can change your lifestyle and bad habits and often reverse damage you've done to yourself.

Perhaps there has never been a generation of people who have so much at their finger tips to live life to the fullest and for a long time at that thanks to basic health sanitation and medical breakthroughs. Even so, we often have the idea that there is an easy way to make ourselves healthier, a magical pill if you will.

Consider what we have: Clean treated water, wastewater treatment, and solid waste collection systems that almost flawlessly prevent us from developing health issues from the water we drink, how we dispose of human waste, and how we handle garbage. It wasn't that long ago that sewer ran in open ditches in the street, garbage piled up in the streets, and water was anything but free of viruses and germs that could make you sick or even kill you. Those three things by themselves are considered the biggest improvement to health and extension of our life expectancies.

Yet we often complain bitterly about the cost each month of those services. It is a fairly cheap payment, though, for our health and our lives.

We fret about things such as Alar on apples and genetically altered seeds yet we fail to grasp what advances in the lab have done in terms of improving productivity of farm lands, reducing the spoilage of food and lowering food costs substantially.

At the same time we worry about such things we pass over non-processed foods for packaged items - whether they are frozen or boxed - that lack the richness in vitamins but add sodium, saturated fats and sugars in sufficient amounts to tax our bodies.

And regardless of what we eat, we bemoan the "high" price of food when in reality food today costs less than it did 50 years ago. There is a price to be paid for convenience and many of us pay it whether it is via our pocketbooks or chipping away in so many slight ways at our health.

Life is a precious gift. Yet too often we devalue the gift of life through what we do to ourselves.

The odds were against you being born and having a place like America to call home.

Too often we go through life wishing we won the lottery when in all reality we won the grand prize the moment we were born.

Life is great. Live it.