Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Finding the secrets of youth
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?
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