Grandma, don't you want to live to see me grow up?
It happened in my parents' backyard when I was two. My grandma had come to visit. She smoked like a chimney and my parents wouldn't let her smoke in the house. One day she went outside to smoke, and I followed her out.
I asked her: Grandma, don't you want to live to see me grow up?
She quit smoking.
I'm sure there were lots of other factors that convinced her to quit. The specifics of the story are hazy and probably not 100% accurate. I was too little to remember and only have my parents' re-telling of the story to rely on.
But, more importantly, my grandma did live to see me grow up. She passed away my senior year of college.
This is, of course, far from a public health campaign, but it did have some of those elements, and it was most certainly the first experience I had with influencing someone else's health choices.
I had forgotten about this backyard incident. It came back to me as I was reflecting on why, after years of doing all sorts of other things — not the least of which was PhD research that took me to several continents — I've come back to health and health writing.
I realize that the conviction I had as a two year old has stayed with me. I may shy away from many other controversial topics of conversation, feeling like everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But that's not the case for me and health. It is something that has an evidentiary base, that can make or break peoples lives, and one that I want to speak out about.
This blog will be a way to share some of things I'm reading, researching, and thinking about now, about health and other burning questions. I'm not sure exactly what form this will take, but it will certainly about the power of stories, of amplifying caring and informed opinions, and hopefully, along the way, about leading healthier lives!