This Saturday I threw a surprise birthday party for my mom’s 60th – she loved it!
We had friends and family come from all over – We danced with belly dancers, we sang Armenian songs, and we ate great food together.
It was perfect.
What I really found interesting was how much life everyone had. The average age was about 65, but every one had the energy of little kids, especially when the belly dancers arrived – even Sydelle.
Sydelle is one of my family’s oldest friends – she’s 92 (and enjoying every part of it).
When I see older people thriving it always gets me thinking…
“What’s their secret?”
I looked into it and found some great information from National Geographic’s Dan Buettner.
Dan had the same curiosity I did, so in 2008 he went out and found the common thread that allows people to live long and healthy lives.
He focused specifically on regions where there’s a high percentage of 100 year-olds living well.
These regions included:
- Sardinia, Italy
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California
- Costa Rica
When Dan concluded his research there were 9 things that made the difference:
- Move naturally- walking and gardening were common activities of the centenarians
- Hara hachi bu – eat until you are 80% full and no more
- Plant slant – eating meat once a week and no more. Chicken, fish, and vegetables primarily make up their diets.
- Grapes of life – a glass of wine a day or Sake for Japanese may benefit your health
- Purpose now – having a sense of purpose is key in growing old. Something that motivates you to get up in the morning.
- Down shift – taking time to relax, meditate, or slow down will help you enjoy and appreciate life more
- Belong – being part of a community, religious groups or other organizations benefit health
- Loved ones first – prioritizing social life with friends and family is very important.
- Right tribe – people who share common goals and a healthy lifestyle encourage you to live healthy too.
It was incredible!
After reading Buettner’s findings, I realized that Sydelle practices many, if not all of the things on that list.
She is an avid rose gardener, was a vegetarian for decades, and has always been very social…
What can we learn from this?
Living a long healthy life is not just about food and exercise.
It’s also about enjoying nature, drinking a nice wine, living with purpose, and being part of a community.
And if we can add at least one of these habits to our daily routine, we can live a long healthy life like Sydelle…
I’m going to start by focusing on my community.
Which one of the 9 will you commit to today?
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