Supplementary List Bullet Point #12:
Can’t use age as an excuse. Body is designed to function for 100+ years. Hold up your end of the bargain.
I read Blue Zones by Dan Buettner (TED Talk is below), which is a study of populations in the world that have the highest proportion of centenarians (people that live to be over the age of 100) in an attempt to find the “key” to longevity. Old people are awesome, and happy, thriving, sharp old people are even more so.
Buettner, rather than finding specifics that all populations follow, found that there were general similarities and principles that everyone naturally followed, and that those who aged gracefully into their 90’s and 100’s ALL:
- Move naturally, every day, for the majority of the day, and in an unstructured setting (i.e. not a gym)
- Have a purpose greater than themselves, their reason “why” they live and get out of bed in the morning
- Can find a routine to handle stress and relax every day
- Stop eating when they’re 80% full (!!!)
- Eat a mostly plant and lentil/bean based diet
- Drink alcohol regularly, always socially, but also in moderation
- Belong to a faith-based organization, or at least believe in a power greater than themselves
- Value family life and take care of the elderly/young
- Have supportive social circles
So what did I take away from this book? Most importantly, age can’t be your excuse for not doing x, y, or z; the body is created to survive, and it is meant to be moved in order to thrive. Find your reason “why”, eat real food, find a stress outlet, and spend time around people that you love every single day. It’s a simple formula, but some of us have found a way to overthink it and make it difficult.
So what is “our end of the bargain”? To me, it’s taking care of yourself and your health in order to play your current role in life, whether that’s to be a working adult, a growing child, or in your twilight years (which are hopefully lived abundantly). Will I make it to 100? I’m not sure, but Buettner lays out some blueprints to “create your own blue zone”, and this plus quieting down to listen to what your body tells you could be the right combination at the start.