viernes, 23 de octubre de 2015

The most important business of your life: healthy and happy longevity

Minor advice for a long and happy living

It seems so far from present realities, than most of us do not think or make decision based on the criteria of longevity, health and happiness. In fact, according to Ellen Langer, college students seem not to have awareness that we all, including them, become old. It is like they may be thinking and acting as if mature age is like the ugly girl or boy nobody wants to dance with. At the end he / she will catch everyone.
Some remarkable studies of longevity, healthy, unhealthy, happy and sadness, are wonderfully described by George Vaillant, on one of the best books I have read in my entire life (yes, he is my hero, not shame about it). ( Aging Well, Vaillant, 2002)
Given that almost all people nowadays is receiving a longevity bonus of around 20 years that means that a lot of issues about productivity and “useful life” have to be reconsidered. The 60 – 65 years upper limit for retirement is now out of date. We, the people (no pun intended), have to be preparing ourselves to life and be productive much more beyond our 80s. And it seems that the trend can easily go beyond that.
On order to stay productive for all those late years everybody needs to be preparing from now on. And there are some things to consider before body and mind (whatever that distinction may mean) collapse. Here there are some suggestions I have taken from the work of Vaillant and the work of Langer (just to mention 2 authors):

  • Start preparing for longevity just after reading this note.
  • Make sure you make a deep review of all myths and preconceptions about mature adulthood.
  • Keep a clear idea that your primary goal is to live long, to live healthy and to live happy. If you do not keep that in mind, all the rest is a waste of time.
  • Do not divorce, unless she is a B…. or he is an a…… Divorced people tend to live less - except women! (Good Lord I hope my wife does not read this).
  • Keep healthy and away from hospitals – medical errors are a major cause of death in countries like the USA. Mexico do not keep data on this, you may guess why.
  • Read good books about longevity not only about business – good business may not keep you alive, healthy and happy.
  • Quit now smoking and heavy drinking. Smokers and heavy drinkers have pretty awful late years – in fact alcohol is a major determinant of divorce and unhappiness.
  • Be mindful. You don´t need to become a Buda to be mindful, just be aware of yourself and others and look towards your present, very deeply. And then look into your future.
  • Get rid of sugar and substitutes.

And first of all beware that longevity, healthiness and happiness has to be a criterion on your decision making from now on!

You may want to read:

Aging Well by George Vaillant

Mindfulness by Ellen Langer

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