Emergent: Is Wellness a Worthwhile Pursuit?

by | Feb 9, 2022 | Online Exclusives, Visit, Shop & Play

As this series on wellness exploration comes to an end, let’s look at what I didn’t cover and use the momentum from what I learned.

The final installment in a monthly series about positivity, wellness and reconnection.

This is the last Emergent post of the series. Am I fixed? Nope. Did I cover everything? Not even close. There are plenty more wellness options to explore.

Here’s a quick glance at some other things that were on my wellness radar that never became full stories. I wanted to do a Mountains to the Sea Trail deep dive, which has several sections in Pender County and neighboring locations. Personally, being in nature feeds my soul. When you find something that stirs you that way, do it as often as you can. I also really need to learn to surf. I’ve lived on the coast for too long — there’s no good excuse here.

While we’re on the topic of the great outdoors, I will never understand how people can nonchalantly throw their litter out into the world, but there are countless areas that need to be rid of trash. There are beach sweeps and roadside cleanups that take place if you look out for them, or maybe your organization or church group could sponsor one.

Emergent Woods Path NC

I also tried to go to a local AA meeting a few months back, figuring I may find some good information and inspiration from that type of fellowship. Alcoholism runs deep through my family, maybe even through me, and I’ve often wondered if it’s something I need to consider. I went to the meeting but it was only for women that night, so I had to leave without the experience. I have yet to go back to an open meeting, but they are close by and happen often, if you’re curious. I give myself a half point for trying, but not trying again may erase that half point.

Donating blood is something I’ve long-ignored but is an easy thing to do. Turns out that I have a rare blood type, and my blood is in high demand, so I donate now whenever there’s a blood drive around Hampstead. These days, the Red Cross sends an email and tells you where your donation ended up, which really drives home the point that your 30 minutes of inconvenience could save someone’s life.

Singing in the church choir and gaining a family at Hampstead United Methodist Church has also given me deep personal satisfaction and opportunities to connect with a spirituality that I’ve been skeptical about since my teens, not to mention the growth rings I’m seeing in my kids and in the relationship I have with my wife.

I also met with a therapist this year, which generated several a-ha moments that would have been impossible to discover on my own, so I encourage cognitive therapy for anyone seeking a mental tune-up or anyone who finds himself relearning the same tough lessons over and over again.

Some wellness treatments will resonate with you and others will not. Something that missed the mark with me was a float spa in Wilmington. I’d heard good things about float spas from trusted friends and had been intrigued by the Facebook ads that kept popping up. So I went into it thinking I would be like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, and I would enter the pod one way and emerge as something completely different. I didn’t sprout wings or wiry hairs, no new ones anyway, but did emerge somewhere between meh and disappointed.

Emergent Surf City Bridge NC

Continuing on a wellness journey can be a challenge. You lose interest or inspiration. You get busy and stop carving out the time. You open your yoga mat Christmas present as your brothers-in-law are opening fishing tackle, and you feel like a wuss supreme. To be self-conscious or beat yourself up over lost opportunities or give yourself half points for noble attempts are also necessary parts of the hilly terrain that can change from moment to moment.

Over the last several months, I’ve come to the basic realization that we are all works in progress.

No matter how old, wise or successful, improvements can be made. Maybe “wellness” can never be fully achieved. There are good days and there are bad days. One day you’re trending up and making progress, and the next day you undo all of the good that you’ve been generating by drinking too much, eating the wrong things, losing your temper in front of your kids, fighting with your wife over something stupid, or all of the innumerable ways we screw up as people, and it vaporizes in one glorious fail. Then you just move your game piece back to the beginning of the board and start over. It’s hard, but it’s how the game is played.

Despite the high difficulty level and failure rate, wellness is a worthwhile pursuit. Why not try to enrich and maybe even extend the precious fleeting life that you have? Most of the time it feels good. Even when it doesn’t feel so good, the next moment brings a brand-new chance at swinging back toward the positive.

About the author

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

I am a previous winner of the Piccolo Spoleto Fiction Open, two-time winner of the SC Fiction Project and former editorial director of Men, Ink. I was also a Cape Fear Dad columnist for the Wilmington Star-News. I live in Hampstead with my wife and two children.