Let’s be honest. Jane Fonda’s 7 am workouts were fun and highly entertaining for any variety of reasons. Back then, all you had to do was just get physical to work off the bottle of wine from the night before. Yes, doctors were coming up with all sorts of calamities and connections between bad behavior and poor health, but there wasn’t the high-strung phobia surrounding every molecule of every substance that entered the body, like there is today. We can no longer use styrofoam for food and plastic must be BPA free for our filtered water pillaged from a distant spring in a developing country–yet how is that indicative of health? It’s good to know which foods and elements our bodies consistently reject, but does everyone and their dog need to be gluten free? And how much should our employers know about our allergies, ailments and stress-induced illnesses?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Health lately. And I have come to the decision that I hate that word. Irrational? Most likely. Yet consider how often we see the words health and should together, or health and tips, or health and better. In our guilt-ridden society, health has become a way for us to divide ourselves according to chronic ailment, health guru, gym membership, latest diet, latest barre technique, or the rejection of it all. There is no such thing as practicing common sense to ‘stay healthy’ because even common sense requires a regimen of some sort. (And has anyone else noticed the sometimes militaristic language around getting fit?) We have found another way to categorize, distinguish and, therefore, label one another. With labeling comes judgment.

The desire to live a long life is biblical. Setting a standard of health against which all others should aspire to meet is not. Why is it we can spend so much time, energy, digital space and money on fitness programs yet fight against affordable health care for all?

Here I must confess to you that much of my discontent comes from a series of ‘ill’ health-related instances. Frankly, after the past few years of wondering why my body isn’t doing what I think it should be doing, I am a bit more than fed up with the holistic health garbage spewing out of the Oprahnator. It feels like a distraction. Being a better person can start with our health routine, much like brushing our teeth in the morning helps us smile. But our society has a way of fixating on the health routine, and not actually becoming a better person to others. Will feeding ourselves organic whole foods translate to making sure kids have breakfast before school? Will running three to five times a week help us to see our neighborhoods better? And if we’re all supposed to be able to do a triathlon, how do we know what aging looks and feels like?

How do we know that keeping our bodies and minds fit is the best way to spend our 70, 80, 90+ years?

Eventually, we all cross over into the untouchable category of immobile, and then in the eyes of society, we drop out of sight. As Qoheleth would say, Vanity, all is vanity and a striving after wind.