I have a friend who really wants to live to the age of 100. The dream is to be able to see his great great grandchildren. Who am I to shatter such beautiful dreams? I did however offer my ‘in the moment’ 2 cents logic of how that could happen. I said that this requires that you should have your first child in this decade, preferably the earlier part of it (25 years or younger). Let’s assume 25 to be the benchmark for all children. He has his first child at the age of 25, becomes a grandfather at 50, great at 75 and great great at 100. Personally I would love to see that playing out and working itself out. So, I then added that this is something that needs to be aimed for and wanted. The downside is that life is expensive, we don’t all live that long and nowadays not many people want to have children at the age of 25 or younger.
Since then, I have had a bit more time to think about what does it really take for one to reach beyond the life expectancy of +/-63 years (South Africa) to a point of getting close to the life expectancy of +/-85 years (Japan/Hong Kong)? Could it be good genes, your families medical history is just A+ distinctions throughout? Have you just been blessed with many more years, dodging every possible bullet that has been shot your way? Drinking from the fountain of youth, hhhmmm?
What about those who are not as fortunate? Those whose family history is riddled with illnesses/diseases that can be passed down from generation to generation? Can such cycles be broken so that it does not have to happen to you or your descendants? I guess that is up to you and dependent on what is the condition and the inevitability of it, which only you can answer with the help of your doctor, I am no medical expert.
In my family there is a history of high blood pressure and diabetes, I do not have certainty that there is anything more than that. I know that in most Black households you see the eldest member of the family following a strict pill taking schedule, looks like at least 10 pills a day just to survive. I only know one side of my DNA, the maternal side. However, what I do know of can be managed or prevented through what I eat and how I live my life. I imagine that the best way would be before I get to the bridge as they say “prevention is better than cure”. This works out for me, because the last place you will find me is in a doctor’s office (and a library but that is a different story), that is only when I feel like it hurts too much. I am literally that person who cannot finish a bottle or packet of medication, I don’t like drugs especially if I still have to take them after I have healed. I am also that person who says “my body will heal itself” but I will happily have a cup of ginger tea to help the process. I have a low tolerance for pain but a greater hate for medication, not always a recommended way of living because pain is an indication that there might be something much worse happening in your body and if you hold out for too long it might be too late.
I am not sure how long I want to live for, I guess long enough to be able to see what I want to see and do what I need to do in this world. I just want to feel fulfilled, if that happens at 60 or at 80, then that’s it, but the preference is the latter. I am currently in my 20s, so is my friend who wants to live to 100, that means we need to do something. We cannot dodge some bullets from crime or road accidents, God forbid. However, I believe we can make active decisions to take care of our physical well-being. I reckon that that is what people in Japan do, starting with what they eat and being conscious of it, how they live their lives with purpose, remember ikigai here is a good article to read Japan holds the secret to living longer and they can prove it. We can learn from this, by making small changes to our daily lifestyles and it really does not need to be expensive as many people believe it to be.
I was fortunate enough to have a lovely conversation with a dear friend of mine, Khumo Raadt (20), who I was fortunate enough to meet after hearing her passion on healthy nutrition and achieving health goals. I immediately stalked (not really) her on Instagram and slid in the DMs @blac.avo, the rest is history. Sounds like a romance movie, this is the only time such things work out.
There you have it people. One cannot just wake up and hope to live a long life, it takes time and effort, small changes every day, as simple as ‘how you prepare your chicken’. Maybe, just maybe you can break family cycles of illnesses, be a happier you in your own beautiful skin and match or exceed Japan/ Hong Kong’s average life expectancy. If that is what you want.
Thank you so much for your attention. Feel free to add your thoughts on the subject in the comments below and share with your friends and family and smash that like button.
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I enjoyed this read. Insightful
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