A happy hundred?
Another book about centenarians is soon to come out by a Dr. John Day. He is studying the Japanese ‘Longevity Village’. He’s a doctor who is astounded that “a painful decline is not inevitable…” Death is, of course, but not a diseased decline of heart disease, cancer and dementia.
The secret is not happy pills. Certainly, it’s exercise and eating good food, but the secrets are basic gratitude practices.
Ready for the wisdom?
1. Smile more – (It gives your wrinkles something to do)
2. Rethink Stress (Can you endure the ease?)
3. Play (Play Daily – (BTW this is one of my rules – check out the new book website please)
4. Look forward to aging (Repeat after me, I love my life right now...)
From the centenarians that I have been blessed to have known—Alpha, Suzie, Madeline, Albertina— they were also shameless flirts…
Get to know one.
Their generosity, and willingness to help will astound you.They did me. It’s how they got to be a happy hundred.
BTW- I think it's about being happy at whatever age you are. Yes?
Resiliency makes our economy grow. It is what allows us to bounce in the inevitable booms and busts of our time on the planet. It is the main ingredient in a Silicon Valley pivot (i.e. what we’re doing now isn’t working, but we still have investment money to spend…Shall we pivot?).
How do we get resilience after finding ourselves (again) flat on our butts in the mud of a repeating episode of Groundhog Day …or Twilight Zone or, perhaps, the death of a loved one.
DIY Resilience—Not an OTC Rx
Resilience is the antidote to the poison of failure, grief, loss and other changes not of our making. But it’s not always available as an over-the-counter (OTC) Rx prescription. It takes time to grow it. It is DIY. It is rarely purchased or popped.
I am remembering this week, that all change has some associated grief. (Yes?) Even when choosing something we want, we are giving up something incompatible with that something. There are no short cuts here; no highways…not really (think bumper-to-bumper). Our culture recommends speed (especially around things that are painful…and loss is that). Denial, deferral and bootstrapping (and my fav bulldozing through) are all forms of avoidance.
(Or as we might say in chaplain lingo: a Spiritual Bypass).
The Modern Plague: Is there a Pill for it?
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50 says a 2016 preliminary analysis by the NYT. “We are in the midst of the worst opioid epidemic in American history..." it is an “epidemic of over prescribing… " says Dr Anna Lembke’s in her recent TEDx Stanford talk Drug Dealer, MD.
“The prescription drug epidemic is a symptom of a faltering health care system. The solution is rethinking how health care is delivered.”
"How did healers become dealers?”
Check her talk out for yourself. She mentions a lot: 1) The industrialization of medicine where patients are now customers that doctors must please for ratings 2) the medicalization of poverty – a system that tends to make all social problems biological i.e. at least they can help with a pill.
Her third point about Illness Narratives is most relevant to the idea of resiliency. As a culture, we have adopted the modern idea that pain is dangerous, in itself and should be avoided at all costs. She notes that painkillers can actually slow the healing process. Who want’s that?
The Stories We Tell Ourselves are Medicine
I don’t want pain, either, but like but any kid will demonstrate: life lived is worth some scraped knees. As a chaplain in hospice we are all about comfort care…at the end, in repose, and saying goodbye to life and that which we have loved. The Doctor’s point, (and I believe this...) is about the usefulness of old-school stories for a life well lived. Our culture, in our more resilient past, used to emphasize our own natural efficacy in healing i.e. balance and resiliency. She notes these perennial stories:
If I have a broken leg, hand me the pill bottle.
I’m not a masochist. My point here is that better stories are better medicine. If what you're doing isn’t working, know that you still have investment money and resources to spend...You can pivot.
Better stories are an investment. They are a renewing resource.
What are your stories about?
Is beauty an evolutionary cheat sheet? What is beauty's utility? (Or as my niece once posed on her Facebook, will it get you free drinks?) In a recent NYT Science article several interesting questions were posed (but like Vanna White...or Barbie) ...never really resolved.
“We’ve been explaining away desire rather than actually trying to understand or explain it.” Says Dr. Richard O. Prum, a Yale ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, about his new book, “The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us. Cont'd below...
I did say in my last celebratory Memorial Day post to thank a crusty veteran...
"Thank you for all that you did...(and do)."
It was half gratitude, that made me park the car with blinkers on
...walk over, and hand him a bill. The other half was proving to myself that I blog for my own clarity—not yours (...MY sign says 'no preaching here'... only communal gardening).
The old guy said: "Aw, thanks." I shook his hand. Cont'd ...
on a Chaplain's life