It’s funny how we’re so good at getting what we want today and so bad at planning for what we need tomorrow.
We happily drive our crew-cab pick-up truck back and forth to work while our bike sits rusting in the garage. We gaily spend money on new clothes and big screen TV’s but don’t have a clue how to save for our retirement.
And we abuse our body with too much sitting, over-eating, and zero exercise, then run off to our friendly doctor every time we get an ache hoping she can fix 40 years of neglect with a couple of pills.
And you’re getting older.
It doesn’t matter how much money you squirrel away, how nice your car is or how many burpees you can do in 5 minutes – your reward is the same as everyone else on this rock: you get older.
Time to face it. Time to face it now.
BTW: if you’re wondering why the hell I’m writing about getting older. “I thought the blog was about entrepreneurs and PowerPoint.!?!” Here’s the thing. It’s my blog, I host it, I pay for it, so I’m going to write whatever I damn well want to write about. Get over it.
As I’ve aged I’ve discovered there’s a decision we all need to make. It’s not about your money (although you better get that act together ASAP). The decision is simply this:
How do you want to get older?
If you are over 50, all those jokes you used to make about old people – well they’re all true and you’re the joke. Hair starts to grow in strange places, new wrinkles appear daily, your memory is shot and gravity has taken over your body.
It’s what Dr. Henry Lodge in Younger Next Year called the “immutable biology of aging.”
You should celebrate aging because most likely you’re going to get to enjoy life a lot longer than your grandparents or even your parents.
But then there’s modern life.
Enter fast food and the mall
Along with our increase in lifespan in the last 50 years from about 70 to 87 years, we’ve inherited all the questionable benefits of modern life: less need for everyday activity including physical work, fast food on every corner, cheap gas, TV, the Internet and shopping malls.
We drive 4 blocks to get our groceries, eat processed foods with too much sugar and “recreation” has become binge-watching on Netflix.
And just like email, smartphones, and selfies, sometimes too much of something is not a good thing.Just like email, smartphones, and selfies, sometimes too much of something is not a good thing. Click To Tweet
“Left to their own devices,” wrote Lodge, “your body and brain will consistently and without fail, misinterpret the signals of the twenty-first century.”
Let’s look at healthy aging.
Hunt and hibernate
To understand healthy aging we have to step back a million years to your very-distant cousins, named Igor and Izzy – two sharp-dressers who did what all happy, healthy Neanderthals did: they hunted and hibernated.
Igor and Izzy didn’t have a 72” fridge with an ice maker so every day they were out hunting – using their muscles, getting their heart rate up and working up a good sweat.
Then they would come back to their one-bedroom “starter” cave and hibernate.
When they hunted they triggered a brilliant cycle of breaking down and rebuilding muscles, bones, and tissue to make the body stronger, more resilient to disease and capable of going hunting again.
That’s healthy living.
The hunt and hibernate routine response was included in the delivery of your awesome design.
And you do have an awesome design.
It might not feel like it when you haul your sorry ass out of bed in the morning, but over a million years the best of each generation went into the next generation. So we are all the result of a huge grand design created over millennia.
What’s also built into your awesome design is the ability to recover fitness, lose weight, feel healthy and vibrant and to look terrific – even in your 60’s and 70’s. And it’s all about accepting aging and avoiding decay.
Aging vs. Decay
What’s exciting about aging is we never lose our ability to change. That module was delivered with every model born on this spinning rock. You can change your thinking, your routines, what you eat and your eating habits – heck you can even change the friends you hang out with.
You can also choose to stop the decay that shows up so seductively with a lazy-boy chair, 48” flat screen, and home-delivery meals.You can choose to stop decay that shows up so seductively with a lazy-boy chair, 48” flat screen, and home-delivery meals. Click To Tweet
And when you make the choice to age, but not decay, your body leaps into action, fires up the hunt and hibernate routine and gets you results:
- Long time smokers who quit can start to enjoy improvements in lung capacity in as little as one month.
- A lifetime of over-eating and gaining weight can be reversed in as little as one week.
- The benefits of reducing sugar intake on your weight, mood, brain function, digestion – even your skin – can be measured in as little as a week.
- And as little as one additional minute of peak treadmill exercise can result in a measured reduction in mortality risk.
Aging is predictable, decay is optional.
What’s your choice?
More of my articles on choice, aging and living life well: