The Amava team has collected (and read most of) the research, the books and the articles. There’s a lot of good stuff in there. Unfortunately, it’s often in fragments. Hidden gems that can be hard to find and even harder to apply. So here it is, reduced like a fine stock…the keys to living forever. Or at least living really long while living really well. The common things recommended by researchers, journalists, authors, coaches, spiritual leaders, doctors, therapists, Yogi Berra and Barbra Streisand.
Create a “resume” for the new you. Think of it as a LinkedIn page for your post-career life. At Amava we call it a Member Profile, but even though you may not be looking for a new career path, you need a central way to communicate who you are and what you want to do next to the many new people you will meet as you explore and engage in opportunities.
Start early and keep moving! How do you do it? As Yogi Berra said, “When you get to a fork in the road, take it!” You may be shedding some schedules and routines, but you can keep your focus and sense of purpose. The key is jumping in and not overthinking it. Try things to see what fits your new life best. Be a docent at your favorite museum, join a softball league, brush up on your Spanish with group lessons. If it’s fun and fulfilling keep at it. If you need help finding things to do, talk to friends. The point is…if you don’t play you can’t win. Start exploring. The best way to figure out what’s next is to check out what’s available and what other people are doing.
Five will get you ten! Research shows that a mere 5-10 hours per week (on average) of meaningful activities with others could add 10 wonderful years to your life. Think of it as replicating only those weekly hours during our careers where we felt the most useful, valued and connected (what experts call “purpose”)…for most people about 10-20% of their working time. The rest was “grunt work” or just “stuff that had to get done.” Now you get to take those hours and just relax and have fun!
Let’s get physical. It is a universally accepted truth that moving is good. Climbing Everest, running a marathon, biking a century, surfing the Hook are all great goals. But, a regular walk with friends, a few trips around the golf course (without the cart), laps in the pool, a hike in the woods all have enormously positive impact on our hearts and our minds.
People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. It turns out (much to my chagrin) that Barbra Streisand was right after all. Hanging out with others has massive health benefits. Isolation is as deadly as lung cancer. Even us introverts need to interact with others (though perhaps a little goes a longer way for us). And the research appears mostly neutral as to how, when and where we do it. A part-time job (paid or volunteer), a book club, a church service, a walking group, a regular dinner party all fit the definition. Chatting online? Not so much. That’s a great way to share information, but the effects can actually negatively impact us. If you have to go that direction…at least try to use a video call app like FaceTime or Google Hangouts.
Eat well, mostly. I have this as a .6 really since we have all been hounded to the point where much of the joy has been removed from eating, let alone cooking. (I have long since thought it ironic that one of the most popular diets is to mimic the food eaten by our stone-age ancestors when they were all of four feet tall and lived to the ripe old age of 30). Yes, the research of course proves your diet should be green-leafy-veg-heavy, and your intake of meat and dairy should be minimized. That said, for many of us food — the growing, shopping, preparing, cooking, serving and eating — actually is joy. (See Rebecca and Shelley’s new book, “The Anti-Cookbook”). Cooking for loved ones is the ultimate way to give back and feel connected, to share our history, culture and personal stories. And having that beignet in New Orleans, fried chicken in Kentucky, lobster roll in Maine, chocolate in Belgium (yes, better than Switzerland), or freedom fries in Paris can be the ultimate way to experience culture. So, eat small amounts of really healthy stuff 60% of the time, eat satisfying amounts of health food 30% of the time. And reserve the last 10% to relax and experiment and enjoy. After all, you have earned it.
More to Explore.
Want to explore things to do? Please check out our ever-expanding Discover Your Next section.