Welcome to Peace Ridge! Come, sit a spell and enjoy the view with me.
Here’s what is waiting for you today:
· Extending your life (the longevity list)
· The final score (guess who wins?)
· Book giveaway (new title every week in January)
Last week, we talked about resolutions and the pressure we sometimes feel to keep striving for self-improvement. In your comments, you overwhelmingly voted for revolution instead: starting 2023 on your knees rather than a scale, an organizing binge, or the latest trendy diet. I’m with you!
Goals differ from resolutions though, don’t they? Setting realistic, attainable goals means turning away from what hasn’t worked in the past and adopting new, life-giving habits.
Every time I read about Blue Zones – the five areas of the planet where the greatest percentage of centenarians live – I’m inspired by the lifestyle of the residents that seems to contribute to their longevity as well as low rates of chronic diseases.
What are their secrets to a long life? In addition to a “plant-forward” diet, researchers have identified nine healthy habits, known as the Power 9, that are common denominators among people who live in these locations: Loma Linda, CA; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Sardinia, Italy.
1. “They move – staying active by walking, gardening, doing housework.
2. They have a sense of purpose that motivates them in their daily lives.
3. They de-stress by taking time to pray or meditate.
4. They don’t eat to capacity, stopping when they’re 80% full.
5. They lean towards plants, limiting meat to once or twice per week. (Diet staples include legumes, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes).
6. They “sip smart” – no more than a glass of wine per day plus tea.
7. They have faith. The vast majority of Blue Zone people belong to faith-based communities and attend services regularly. [Read to the end for this week’s book giveaway to strengthen your own faith-life.)
8. Family first. Blue Zoners tend to commit to life partners and take time to build family memories.
9. Friends are key. Close social circles provide emotional support and reinforce healthy behaviors.” (We do that for each other!)
I’m guessing those of you reading these words right now practice many of these habits already. As for me, I’m getting more serious about them because – hand to heart – I have a standing invitation to speak at Camp Monadnock in New Hampshire when I turn 100.
I fully intend to keep it.
Of course, God only knows – only God knows – what the length of our days will be. In a brief speech on her twenty-first birthday in 1947, the late Queen Elizabeth famously said, “My whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.” She served the Commonwealth until she passed away last year at 96.
Most of us won’t match Elizabeth’s record of service. With God’s help, though, we can adopt habits at any age that will help us live more fully.
As to regrets about past behaviors that weren’t so very good for us? In his message Sunday, my pastor encouraged us to hold our regrets tenderly: “I wish I would have done that differently and, at the time, I couldn’t.”
I’m dead serious (well, alive at present) about reaching the 7 Goals for 70 I’ve set for myself this year. This milestone is sobering to me, y’all, and I don’t even imbibe. I’ll give you a progress report in June, and in the meantime maybe you’ll share some of your 2023 goals with me as well.
But whether our lives be long or short, here’s the best news of all.
“The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard. The only really strange thing is all of this is that we are still down here on the field trying to decide which team’s jersey we want to wear!” Jeffrey Holland
Our future is assured, and as to the present? Each day is a gift. Unwrap it slowly.
And don’t ever, ever forget Who’s got your back.
Would you like to win a great resource to strengthen your faith-walk?
This week I’m giving away a copy of Grace Fox’s beautiful new volume Fresh Hope for Today: Devotions for Joy on the Journey. Please leave a comment below to win!