Apart from HIV and COVID, it’s great to be positive. In fact, it’ll probably change your life; you may even live longer. There are commonalities with the books I read, linking global threads through time. From the Japanese island of Okinawa boasting the world’s highest life-expectancy, to American Indian Tribes and monks in Asia, from Roman Emperors to United Nation’s global statistics and research in the UK and US. Lifetimes of knowledge. I’ll be knocking on the door of 120 years old for sure! Maybe.
Nurturing friendships and family, eating light, getting enough rest (ear plugs and an eye-mask help immensely) and doing regular, moderate exercise are all part of the good health equation. Eating vegetables and fruits, cutting down meat consumption, avoiding smoking and watching your weight (watching it increase counts, right?) are widely known. Not drinking too much is the common addendum, knowing that ‘don’t drink’ would incite riots. But there are two other points which I love: stress and reason.
To quote the calming Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to long-life and happiness, ‘people that live the longest . . . face challenges with a positive outlook and are able to manage their emotions . . .a stoic attitude – serenity in the face of a setback – can also help keep you young, as it lowers anxiety and stress levels’. I try meditating every morning, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, but it does make me feel peaceful, before then stretching to gently waking up the body. The phone isn’t looked at for the first 45 minutes or so of the day. In fact, am trying to cut down ‘phone-time’ to about two hours a day. Not accessing social media platforms and starting sentences with, ‘and another fu**ing thing whilst I’m here . . .’ also helps.
Nietzsche said, ‘he who has a why to live for, can bear with almost any how’. Sorry ladies and non-binaries, it’s all about he! But it’s the reason for being; the reason for your being. Viktor Frankl claimed the meaning for life was searching for your meaning for your life, with the kicker being that it doesn’t have to cover your entire life. Your meaning can change. Jay Shetty’s marvellous Think like a Monk had me constantly writing notes. They key points: meditate to calm, release the negativity and stress from your life; be grateful; treat everyone with honour, kindness and respect; serve. Regardless of outlook, these seem pretty good mantras to live by. Jay outlines finding your dharma, a concept across Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism: it is your reason for being, and a reason to serve. This can be found by answering three questions a) are you passionate about it? b) are you an expert in it? c) is it useful to others? Providing service is the direct path to a meaningful life. I’m in Frankl’s team here, still searching. Writing, travelling, reading, photography, technology and helping others seem part of it. Clearly my dharma being the ‘writing-travelling-photography-technology-helping’ niche business. WTPTH, a mantra to live by.
And in talking of honour, kindness, respect and service, this week crowns the last few days of Trump’s presidency, with vans collecting his shit as I type. It’s the only time where moving vans have moved everybody. Very emotional. Arf.
Writing and writing...