To All Health Advocates of Maryland: Is Anyone Paying Attention?

Every year the statistics come out – the healthiest cities in the U.S. or around the world, or the best workout states in America. Well I don’t think they’re doing this assessment properly. Or maybe I should say they need to find better ways of exploring and sharing health information. The “top 10 healthiest places to live” always consist of those ritzy coastal cities that consist of folks with high paying jobs who can afford to get massages every other day. Well I live on the east coast (yes, my city has been listed in the top 10) and those surveys give me no insight as to what fitness has done for my area. It’s being overlooked! For instance, in Maryland, there are many cities right outside of DC that are considered to be healthy places such as Bethesda, Silver Spring, Potomac – pretty much anywhere in Montgomery County. But Maryland is a huge state with other counties, where is the information for these other places? Prince Georges County is another popular area in terms of diversity and activity near the DC area. Yes, I know Prince Georges County is notorious for all the wrong reasons such as crime and poverty. It’s been that way for years. But over the past decade, there have been significant changes in the county that are not being highlighted enough. These changes have been for the better and continue to occur with no one saying anything about it.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail
Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail

Being a native of Maryland I grew up seeing a good variety of diversity and perspective towards health. But carry-outs and a good share of crime were prevalent in the area I lived in. With the exception of recreational centers, there were no gyms or real places to buy healthy food.  For the most part, health and fitness was not a concern of anyone. People just did what they wanted to do as all the negative statistics continued to rise in disease, poverty and crime. When I go back and visit these places as an adult, I barely recognize the neighborhoods. Not only have they changed for the better in physical appearance, people have taken on new attitudes towards their health. For the first time, I’m seeing the locals being serious about going to the gym, taking strolls around the neighborhood, and supporting local health food establishments (apart from the numerous colon cleanse products!). For example, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is 4 miles distance both ways. People flock to walk this bridge every weekend. Kids, moms, entire families take to running/walking the 4 miles. Some of them go for seconds or thirds without missing a beat. It’s a big deal because it wasn’t like that before. Before they reconstructed the bridge, there were numerous parks all around the area, but they were mostly used for barbequing and hanging out. Now the parks and the bridge are being taken seriously as a way to work out. Another observation that floored me was gym membership. One of the recreational centers in Fort Washington recently opened offering a vast variety of fitness classes, rock climbing and swim lessons. At the beginning of the year the place was packed – from the machines to the studios. Months later into the year the place is still packed, unlike the regular decline shortly after the new year that we’re used to seeing. People of the county are dedicated and serious about their health.
Residents working it out in zumba class.
(Southern Regional Technology Complex in Fort Washington, MD)

So where’s the coverage? Especially since Prince Georges is always in a negative light. There is some positivity going on that needs to be highlighted; there’s development on the horizon that pertains to economic development, increase of real estate and an interest in fitness. It’s good to encourage the positive in people as they strive to make a difference in their lives. This type of positive attitude can have an overall effect on the area and improve the quality of life for Prince Georges.

What are your thoughts?

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My plan

4837657_e0fadf2495_z   A lot of my blogging first started on Hub Pages a couple of months ago. I had an ultimate plan in mind in terms of what I wanted to write and share, and those included my life’s experiences in starting over. There have been significant events in my life over the past couple of years that helped re-shape my mind and perspective on life. One of the biggest steps I took after starting over was buy a new home. At the time it didn’t seem feasible, it was a little over the top and buying the home didn’t provide much outlook into the future for me. Sure I had a steady job, but I didn’t know how I would fare as a homeowner as time went on.  Again, me dealing with fear of the unknown.

When I first thought about buying a home, I was bored. I was doing my day to day job, paying my bills and being a law-abiding citizen. I wanted to do something that involved me investing in my future, something that I could call my own. When I would go for my daily jobs in the evening, I would admire the beautiful houses in my neighborhood and wonder what it would be like to live in one of them. That’s when the idea was planted in my thoughts and wouldn’t leave me alone. I started writing down plans, budgets and avenues I could take towards buying a house. I pulled my credit report, started researching and developed a time frame as to when I would like to be in my new home. The journey was incredible. It was filled with excited twists, setbacks, disappointments and endless changes. Although I had an original plan in place, things definitely changed along the way. There was an ideal location, design of the house, and budget ideas – all in place. Those things changed and evolved as the journey went along up to the day I settled on my house of choice. There were a few homes I loved so much and wanted, but couldn’t get because another offer was accepted over mine. When a seller finally accepted my offer, I was ready to move in the next day, but there were still more twists and turns to go thru before finally getting those keys.

At the end of the day, I’m glad of the choice I made and I’m reaping the benefits of owning my home. No, things did not go as planned to the t, but at the end of the day I was satisfied. There’s nothing wrong with planning, just know that things may not always go as planned. If there is peace within and patience, things will work out just fine. There’s a reason why life happens the way it does and we don’t always have the answers.

So why stress ourselves trying to figure everything out? I’m learning that for myself not just in day to day life, but in my journey as a writer. The original plan has been developed, redeveloped, switched, and retraced over and over again. It’s not going to stop anytime soon. The many changes are development and evolvement. It makes the journey that much more interesting and gives me that much more to write about.

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Back track…


So I’ve been blogging for about a month now, and I’m still learning the ropes of the blogosphere. I know there’s a lot more to learn, which is why I decided to enroll in WordPress’s Zero to Hero class. Our first assignment is to write a “who am I and why am I here” type post. I figured since I haven’t formally introduced myself, I’d use this assignment to do so.

Blogging is not my primary line of work, I’m fully employed with a large organization and it consists of writing everyday, from email posts, to letters, correspondences…all the good stuff. But that is not what inspires me to write. Growing up, all I did was read and write. I loved the Nancy Drew series and comic books. I would be away in my room for hours just reading. As I got older, I don’t know what happened, but I really fell off from my writing. My school teachers used to tell me that I should get into journalism because my writing was that good, but instead I pursued the medical field. I didn’t get as far as planned, but I did enjoy my time in public health – I may get back into it. Who knows? My whole point is for years I’ve been doing technical and academic writing that I’ve sort of lost my “personal” voice in writing. That’s one of the reasons why I’m here, to develop my personal voice and connect with people. Exactly how far do I plan on going with it? At this point, I’m not sure. I do know that I want to convey certain messages to folks, such as starting over in life or recreating yourself with a new beginning. I plan on sharing my journey in those areas as a witness that it is possible to make a comeback after delays and mistakes. With that being said I’m trying to develop this voice by running more than one blog at the same time…we’ll just have to see how that goes!

So there you have it, I’m a part time blogger with big dreams and a plan to reach out to folks who’ve decided to take the bold step of starting over. Even if it means cutting old ties, even if it means looking weird to your family…I know it may be difficult, but it is possible.

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