Tag Archives: growing old

The Passion Phenomenon: Live Long, Be Happy

                           “…Keeps me living. Keeps me going.”

Beverly Guitar Watkins has lived her passion as a phenomenal, pioneer rhythm & blues guitarist for the last six decades.  Recognized as “Queen of the Blues”, Ms. Watkins continues to tour and play concerts at age 77. She provides an important inspirational lesson on longevity, quality of life and the pursuit of passion.

It is interesting to note that over the course of her lifetime, Ms. Watkins labored in some tough and physically demanding jobs cleaning houses and working car washes. Notwithstanding decades of bodily stress and toil, her hard classic blues style continued to evolve. Most importantly throughout her lifetime, Ms. Watkins never stopped the pursuit of her passion–music.

The pursuit of one’s passion has long been recognized as a driving force to lifelong happiness.  I recently learned of another life affecting derivative related to the pursuit of passion from a study published in the November 2015 Journal of Psychosomatic Research entitled, “Purpose in Life Predicts Allostatic Load Ten Years Later”.   The scientific term allostatic load” describes wear and tear on the body that occurs over time with exposure to chronic stress.

This study has significant implications to life span and quality of life. Greater life purpose predicted lower levels of allostatic load in 985 subjects evaluated at their ten-year follow-up.  Researchers concluded that living a purposeful life correlates to better mental and physical health including longevity.  Mounting evidence of these associations might be explained by the connection between life purpose and our body’s ability to regulate physiological systems related to stress response.

It makes infinite sense. As we pursue our passion, internal mechanisms mobilize our body’s ability to withstand exposure to chronic stress. In turn, our pursuit of passion drives sustainable happiness and reinforces our will to live.  Ms. Beverly Guitar Watkins is a brilliant example of the “Passion Phenomenon”.  Bottom line: Pursue your passion. Live Long. Be Happy.

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”  ~Steve Jobs

 

Common Habits of World’s Longest Living People

World's Oldest Living Person Ever

Longevity (noun) lon·gev·i·ty \län-ˈje-və-tē, lȯn-\                                             Definition: 1. a long duration of individual life; 2. length of life; 3. long continuance: permanence, durability.

Do you want to live forever?  For me, living a long life is meaningless without quality of life.  In her book entitled, “50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People”author Sally Bears explores five places in the world with the greatest number of centenarians, people living over 100 years, to find the common denominators of longevity plus  quality of life.  Not only are these the world’s oldest living people, most also report being happy, healthy,  productive and valued–until the day they die.

The five destinations of the world’s longest living people include Okinawa, a coral island in the East China Sea; Symi, an island in Greece; Campodimele, a village in southern Italy; Hunza, a valley in northwest Pakistan and Bama, a county in Southern China.  Environmentally, these locations share unpolluted surroundings which include pure drinking water, unpolluted soil and fresh air.  While this comes as no surprise, it underscores our collective priority to invest in the care of Mother Earth.

Bottom line, the recurring patterns of the longest living humans are profoundly eye-opening.  These common lifestyle habits cover a  spectrum of practical ways we can all extend both our longevity and quality of life.  Here are just some of the common traits of these centenarians:

  • Drink lots of green tea – like 4 cups/day
  • Get daily exercise – sweat everyday
  • Drink lots of mineral water
  • Eat tons of whole foods plants and nuts – like 90% organic vegetables
  • Limit consumption of sweet fruits – opt for berries, apricot and apricot kernels
  • Limit consumption of fish and meat – wild, cold-water fish and grain or grass-fed meat
  • Only eat until you’re 80% full
  • Chew your food for a long time
  • Practice moderation in alcohol consumption – red wine and Saki are best
  • Play mind games
  • Practice meditation
  • Enjoy music and humming
  • Practice deep breathing, reduce stress
  • Volunteer time to help others
  • Consume fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut
  • Consume seaweed, sprouts and nuts
  • Limit intake of dairy
  • Go light with oils; do consume olive oil
  • Sleep  for 8-9 hours each night
  • Practice laughing each day

And the fascinating list goes on. So, if you’re like me and seek a longer and happier life,  I highly recommend that you read 50 Secrets.  If you’re short on time, do check out this twenty-minute audio summary of the book by Tai Lopez.   Good stuff.

Our generation is uniquely well positioned to challenge the dreaded myths of aging. There are many ways to positively change our lifestyle habit for a longer and happier life.  Let us maximize whatever time remains and live to experience our best days that lie ahead.

Growing old is a beautiful thing.