TV has taken a complete backseat since Grace came into our life as we just do not have enough time in our day. She demands our full attention and we are determined to give her that, not stolen by constant distraction. Our phones suck up enough of our time and energy as it is! So when we do get a brief gap, we try to watch things that build our knowledge and hopefully add value to our life.
The Longevity Film is about an Aussie guy who heads off on an adventure to a few of the ‘blue zones’ around the world. There are said to be five blue zones which are geographic regions that are recognized as unique areas, as the average age of the men and women is significantly higher than other places. He is searching for what their secret to living a long life looks like.
- Icaria (or Ikaria), Greece
- Loma Linda, California
- Sardinia, Italy
- Okinawa, Japan
- Nicoya, Costa Rica
The movie covers these communities in Greece, California and Japan.
The world at large, with the help of technology, has become reliant on instant gratification and quick fixes. Add to this our pharmaceutical/allopathic model of health and surely there must be a pill or medication that can rectify just about anything. People jump between fad diets and strenuous exercise, only to fall right back into bad lifestyles a few months down the line, when their hectic schedules get the better of them.
I wouldn’t say it would be rated the best movie of the year nor that it brought me to tears but it reminded me of some awesome truths:
- There is no 1 diet that will help you live longer. While some of them are strictly vegan and avoid smoking and drink, another village eats meat, veggies and drink wine. Eating a lot of locally grown fruit and veggies, being in-touch with where their food actually comes from and following a sort of 80/20 rule, whilst enjoying their food and not stressing about it.
- Community is everything. The common thread between these regions was their constant interaction with people of all ages. The way they live is community-centered. This may sound obvious but we have never been more disconnected from our communities as a society. Digital friendship and online connection cannot replace physical time together.
- Prioritise rest. Frcm having a Sabbath day with no TV through to having lunch siestas – rest in each culture looks different but is part of their life patterns.
- Daily movement is key. Not the ego-centric gym attendance that fills our schedule with another thing to check off our weekly ‘to-do’ list. The type of movement that is required to get out into one’s garden or local park to meet with friends, to serve one’s community or attend a daily yoga class. To spend one’s day of ‘rest’ re-connecting with family by walking together, cycling or outdoor activities. Our desk jobs and lockdown lives (hopefully not for too long) are robbing us of these joys.
Get up, breathe deeply, take off your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet and hands – OFTEN.
- Practice gratitude, serve others. This too looks different in each culture and whether this act is prayer, practicing mindfulness, meditation or a friendly chat with our Creator, it is so important. Through making time to get involved in something in ones community that will not ‘give back’ to you, a person is born to live for more than just ourselves. You are not here by accident and you have the ability to make a difference, even in the smallest ways.
Something that really struck me was the fact that most heart attacks take place on a Monday morning, while the least take place on a Sunday morning. This speaks volumes and whilst stress is unavoidable for most people, it can be managed through setting boundaries and evaluating what you fill your time with.
Scientism has taken hold of our ‘Western’ world and has throttled these connections. Most of what we feel and think cannot be defined by a PubMed paper or scientific journal.
Everyone is aware of these facts, but very few do much to get out of the rat race. There is no one-size-fits-all model and you don’t have to live on a farm, surrounded by trees, or a tropical island to be ‘healthy’. It is merely the act of incorporating small, beneficial changes into your every day and really slowing down to appreciate those around you.