The idea of what is or what is not “well” is different for us all, the World Health Authority (WHO) defines wellness as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Their definition of mental wellness is: “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
The Aboriginal concept of health is not just the physical well-being of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being thereby bringing about the total well-being of their Community. Both of these definitions appear to discuss a superlative concept of health where we are free from disease or infirmity or we are able to achieve our full potential. It’s the superlative or complete concept of “well” that I struggle with and one which I don’t believe is entirely attainable or one which we should necessarily make our goal. I think that if this is all we aim for we will, inevitably, fall short. Personally I wake in the morning and greet my aches and pains like old friends, the pain in my back tells me I have worked, the dodgy knee reminds me of moments in childhood I can only describe as idyllic tinged with spectacular clumsiness. Each of these things and many more beside exist as a reminder of the things I have done, the life I have lived and the choices I have made. Moments of sadness exist to temper and measure the joy, challenge reminds me I am alive. I am not and doubt I ever will be in “a state of completephysical, mental and social well-being” however, I work productively and fruitfully, I make a contribution in my community. Am I completely well within the confines of the World Health Authority’s definition? No, I quite a way off if I’m honest but, I’m well enough for me. I am “Alright” and being “Alright” is something to aim at, it achievable, do-able and its ‘well enough’.