I wonder what we really mean when we entreat a friend to ‘take care’?
Perhaps we’re suggesting that they should keep an eye out for dangerous threats as they make their way through their day?
Don’t get mugged, look both ways before you cross the road, check for the imminent arrival of asteroids, that sort of thing.
Maybe we’re also proposing something else though? Perhaps deep down there’s the thought that we want them, literally, to look after themselves? To stay healthy.
And of course, boring as it may sound, you stay healthy by eating properly, drinking plenty of water, getting a decent amount of exercise and a sufficiency of sleep, amongst other things.
After all, if you value the other person you’ll want them to stay well, for their own sake and for yours. It was for the good of the whole tribe that each of our hunter gatherer ancestors needed to remain fit and strong. When enemies attacked, when there was a wild animal to be hunted, when there were youngsters to be cared for, every tribe member had to play his or her part.
Although our circumstances have changed, our bodies and brains have perhaps evolved more slowly. We may believe we’re very different from Stone Age man but deep down our brains have more in common than we may admit.
It therefore makes sense for you to want those around you to stay healthy, to ‘take care’.
But if it’s so important that others do this, isn’t it just as necessary that you too should take care? Of yourself?
I know I have to remind myself to do this, so perhaps you’ll also need a nudge in this direction.
I’m sure you know what’s good for you, so why not add a little of it to your day?
And, by the way, don’t worry about asteroids. None are scheduled for the foreseeable future. No need for a crash helmet today.