As I get ready for hosting a table at the Rosemount Writers Festival, I am conscious that I am – in some ways – packaging myself. Who am I as a writer, artist, and person with chronic illness and disability? These days, people talk about branding. I fear that is a side effect of monetizing, which is something I don’t particularly like. We need to be free to be who we are and do what we love without worrying about how to get paid for it. But that’s not the real world.

If I am going to spend my days in a way that enhances my well-being, I need to know what makes for a healthy life. I think in the good old days, many people got their minimum daily well-being requirements without effort. They moved their bodies as part of their work, ate vegetables and a little meat (and prayed over it), connected with their family members in the evenings and the larger community at church on Sundays. They sang and danced and told stories. Of course, I’m romanticizing. They also got sick and died young. If I lived in the good old days, I would be dead by now – to put a nonsensical sentence in place.

That paragraph tells me what I think makes for well-being:

  • moderate physical exercise
  • healthy eating (lots of vegetables, a little protein and starch and sugar enough for joy)
  • connection with the holy
  • family togetherness
  • spiritual community
  • participation in the arts

As I seek ways to enhance my own and others’ well-being, considering that list seems like a good place to start. What am I forgetting? How do you define well-being? Let me know in the comments…