Throughout history, the quest to live longer lives has always been a big part of the human spirit. And thanks to the power of medicine and technology, we have been seeing a trend increase in global healthy life expectancy.
As much as this is a phenomenal achievement that deserves to be celebrated, living longer lives have also become a source of fear for many. Understandably so. The three-stages of life – education, career and then retirement, cannot be easily stretched out to last a hundred years. Indeed, if we lived a 100-year life with the same social conventions that worked for 70 years, it is unlikely to be a good long life.
The important question to ask is no longer “how to have a longer life”, but “how to live a longer life”. And we are going to share 4 important longevity lessons today.
Preventative health, not prescriptive
Living a longer life with a healthy body ensures that you can achieve life goals with whatever time you have. Shift your perspective from prescriptive health to wellness. That is, doing our part to maintain our healthy bodies and prevent major health diseases. This involves having a good diet, regular exercise and healthy habits.
- Sleeping around 8-9 hours per night
- Take good supplements
- Moderate alcohol and smoke intake
- Be up to date with your health status (e.g regular health checks, using wearable devices such as Fitbits, etc.)
These are just a few guidelines you can follow as a start.
As the saying goes “Anyone who keeps learning stays young”. The reality of a longer and multiple careers over a longer lifetime means that we should always have to re-skill and up-skill as we age. But more than that, learning encourages agility in the mind, which translates into confidence and therefore a fulfilling life.
Education needs to be accessible and relevant to anyone, not bound to younger people and institutions.
Finding your ikigai
Ikigai in Japanese means “that which makes life worth living”. While every individual has different interests, skills and goals, there are a few things that stay the same.
- Practice mindfulness and conscientiousness
- Nurture strong social circles
- Dare to take calculated risks
- Prioritise your happiness by looking at the bright side of situations
Living with a purpose and knowing that you are valued is very important, and will help us to see the forests for the trees.
Boosting intergenerational connections will be a key way of how society responds to longer lives. Locally, active ageing hubs have been encouraging intergenerational learning to encourage more social connections between young and old.
Presently, there is a global divide between the young and the old along social and political lines. Therefore, because of the increase in life expectancy, stronger intergenerational linkages is important to reduce the risk of conflicts in society. And this change starts with us, when we choose to be aware of the quality of these relationships in our own lives and intentionally do our part to make them better.
Recognising the malleability of ageing
Ultimately, we must come to understand that ageing is malleable. After all, only around 25% of how we age is genetic and the rest is down to how we choose to view our lives and bloom where we are planted.
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