A long healthy life does not happen by mere chance. According to experts, it begins with good genes and then good habits. All my grandparents lived up to their late 90s and had outlived many relatives and friends. They all aged with grace and good health.
I got to live with them during summer vacations so I had a taste of the kind of life they had lived. I remember:
- They always woke up early; for them, waking up late is a sure sign of laziness.
- They were seldom idle; they kept themselves busy by doing household choirs and by participating in community activities.
- The food they ate were all fresh simply because they did not have refrigerators. Actually they did not have a need for one: my maternal grandparents were born farmers so they always had ample stock of produce and livestock from their farm. My paternal grandparents on the other hand lived near the sea (my lolo was a fisherman) and also maintained a thriving backyard garden.
- They slept early. “Ayaw pagbilar kay di ka kamata og sayo ugma.” a simple advise from them when I wanted to stay up late.(I say this is related to #1)
- They don’t get angry or disturbed easily. They were gentle people and they always seemed to find reasons to laugh.
My lifestyle is way different from my grandparents’. Sure, I don’t smoke or drink but I also don’t exercise. I have a rather sedentary life – no regular trips to the gym nor great outdoor adventures for me (except when I’m doing field work in the boondocks). Most of my comfort foods come from tin cans, glass jars and foil packs. In addition, I’m an urban creature, more prone to stress than my grandparents who all lived in an idyllic rural environment.
71% chance of living to 100 years old? Not bad. I really don’t aspire to become a centenarian. I just want to have a long HEALTHY life. Unfortunately, the lifestyle I now have wont give me that. Time to change habits and improve my life.