If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. I think Eubie Blake gets credit for that familiar line. The truth is we are living longer, but maybe not in the best of shape. The average lifespan for men is around 75. For women it’s 80 - still longer than men but the gap is narrowing. And here’s the good news: Seniors are healthier, more active and economically better off than they ever have been.
And yet, America still lags behind many other countries in the longevity department. The Japanese, Italians, French, Australians and Israelis all live longer than we do.
I’m not going to harp on you about exercising, although that’s still number one on the list of ways to live better as you live longer.
As the nation ages and matures, modern life begins closing in on us. Our jobs, family responsibilities, hectic schedules and technology separate us from any sense of community.
We cast a wave at our neighbors, rarely speak to them and increasingly become isolated in our homes. Because of my current circumstance in running for elective office, I’ve been ringing many doorbells in Oro Valley and in too many instances I witness loneliness and detachment - no sense of community and no joy.
I keep stressing the importance of getting involved in life; volunteering, helping disadvantaged kids, supporting our schools, doing something. And one of the most fulfilling things to do is turning off the television and computer and getting outside. And since you live in one of the safest places in America - you might as well. It will do wonders for you.
Please consider that because we’re living longer, we’re looking for ways to feel more alive. And in the last ten years researchers have concluded, as if we haven’t always known it, that nature is good for us.
I urge you to check out the 30x30 project now spreading across the United States. It began in Canada and is now picking up steam because of its simple and proven concept: spend 30-mintes a day for 30-days in nature. Green Time it’s called.
Reduce your tension and stress, anxiety and depression and it won’t cost you a dime. It’s too hot, you say. Bad excuse. Rise with the Mourning Doves in the morning for 30-days. It will change your life and perhaps you’ll even enjoy meeting a stranger who’s not at all like you, or committing an act of kindness.
Jane Addams, who was a social worker, philosopher and leader in the women’s suffrage movement defined community in the best way: “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
We all have a common vested interest in living better.
Remember how we loved the outside when we were kids?