The kind words from guest editor Michael Mortensen below motivated me to express my own reason for gratitude at year end.
First, an update. I’ve been in Vancouver General (what a great institution!) for a month now to deal with cancer of the appendix – a very, very rare and non-invasive form of the disease.
Prospect for recovery: full.
But the surgery is most invasive – 12 hours of it, the toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.
Here’s the thing: even in my 60s I’m in good shape – a consequence of decades of walking and cycling, in addition to some sports, integrated into daily life- a lifestyle I pursue because in a city like this it is so easy and pleasurable to do so.
Decades ago Vancouver made active transportation a priority. And committed the resources to build the infrastructure. And took the risk, often across the political spectrum, to push through contentious projects.
Sure, weather, culture, topography and other factors help. But many places could do this too, and haven’t made the same commitments.
As a result, we are one of the healthiest, fittest cities in the country, and hence the world.
And that translates directly to the bottom line of health-care costs, and to recovery response when interventions occur.
No, my years of activity did not spare me this cancer. But I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for my body to cope now if I lived a sedentary lifestyle, counting on technology to substitute for a lifetime of inactivity.
This is not about preaching the merits of healthy choices. We all know it, public health has overwhelming documented the benefits, and, anyway, people don’t respond well to chastisement. They respond better to that which makes them feel good, when opportunities for activity are accessible for all, safe and practical.
From my ward I can see the North Shore mountains in brilliant display. And I know many thousands are on the slopes, celebrating their bodies and the city they live in that offers such a magnificent playground.
That view alone is part of my healing process. It entices me; I want to be out there with my friends, sharing the culture of this place. Keeping fit. Recovering.
And once again, posting on Price Tags – documenting, exploring, comparing, learning about cities that make this human experience more gratifying, and healthier through good design and the right policy choices.
And for that opportunity to share and interact with you, PT readers, I am deeply grateful.