Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Finding the secrets of youth
Dona Panchita is over 100 years old
The most amazing thing about Dona Panchita is not that she can chop a four-foot tall heap of firewood with an old rusty axe, or that she faithfully walks a quarter of a mile to church every Sunday. It's not that she prefers to clean her laundry by hand, or that she makes all of her meals from scratch on a traditional wood-burning stove. What's amazing about Dona Panchita is that she does all of these things AND she is more than 100 years old.

For the past two weeks I traveled with Dan Buettner of Quest Networks Inc. exploring the secrets of longevity on the Guanacaste Coast of Costa Rica. During the trip we met numerous centenarians like Dona Panchita - all of whom possessed an extraordinary vigor for life and an ability to do what I sometimes completely neglect - to savor life.

Most centenarians seem to have found a healthy balance between work and play - a philosophy that might not be so easy to grasp for the average workaholic. In fact, one of the most surprising contributors to longevity was a factor I had never even considered - family. In many aspects, centenarians are never alone. It's not uncommon, for example, to find five generations of one family living in one neighborhood - or even under the same roof. All of the centenarians we met in Costa Rica made family, friends and religious networks an uncompromising priority.

In the United States, we often get so wrapped up in working, there's hardly any time left for our personal lives. Quality of life is sacrificed for the drive to get ahead on the job. According to Dan Buettner, what Americans often fail to do is get the most good years out of life and the most life out of years. He says what really counts is, "what is my chance to live from this point on."

So what can we do? There's an old saying that "the tragedy of life is not that it ends too soon, but that we wait too long to begin it." Speaking with a person who has been alive for 10 decades certainly puts that phrase into perspective. It's never really too late to begin. As you hustle through another busy work day, take a moment to stop and think, what's it all about? Save some time to spend with family and friends... and you could possibly add several more good years to your life.

I'm curious - what are your secrets for living a long life?
Well, I figure, We All Die- And You Can't Take It With You. Therefore, it's rather pointless to focus your life on what you have and what you can get, right? What do people say about you after you're dead? "She had a nice car?" No, they talk about who you were as a person, and what sort of things you did to help out other people. THAT'S what matters in life, whether it be long or short. I'm hoping for long...
I've known people who are funny, upbeat and a true joy to be around, die far too soon. I've also known grumps, mean spirited people who live on and on and make life for others a true misery. So I guess we really don't know the secret of life, other than, do our best to make people laugh, comfort them when they cry, and realize that life has never been all about us..As the Wizard of Oz told the tin man, "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." Good topic. Take Care
We build the Castle of life and never take the time to savor it. So next time you are in the elevator with someone be absolutely in the moment because as much as you love your wife, your mother or even your dog that treasured moment is not with them nor will that moment ever be with them but with that treasured secret being you are with that moment. A great life consist of great moments.Experience one Now!
There is no secret. Everyone is capable of a long and happy life, they just choose to keep up with the "Jones". Which means they have to work harder and longer to have the material things that their family, friends and neighbors have. And if you do not, you are judged, in a negative way. So the pressure is on. Pressure leads to stress which leads to an abundance of health problems. Many of which are fatal. Keep it simple and life will be rewarding.
It is not in the least likely to suggest that Old Age is the most valuable mania ever attached to human life. That is why whoever thinks that old age is a disadvantage is lost out. Living a happy and peaceful life at old age is not a function of staying with family members and sharing with them. It is in one's ability to coordinate his priorities well and convince others for him, what he rightfully desires. We may all live to enjoy longlife, if we do not waste our good years of human toils.
Weston A Price found this out in the 1920's. Eaton touched on it in the 1980's. Now Dr. Cordain is on the ball. The closer we emulate our natural enviornment, the better chance we have at pursuing health.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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