I am going to suggest a rather interesting departure from traditional health, fitness, and longevity articles I have read. I am going to focus on WISDOM. There is a saying in Spanish,
mas sabe el Diablo por viejo, que por ser el Diablo.
This translates into: the devil knows more (and is more powerful) because he is old than because he is the devil.
This phrase is used to explain a lot of everyday occurrences and serves as a caution sometimes. When an older man or woman starts to court a younger member of the opposite sex this phrase is used to suggest that their experience can give them an advantage in gaining personal favors from the younger person. It is only after the deal has been closed that people realize what happened. In the martial arts it is used to caution the young and cocky fighter against becoming over confident when fighting or addressing a grizzled veteran fighter with grey hair who may move a little slower. In the past I had wrongly assumed that my youth would carry me to victory against guys who were 20-30 years older than me, only to find out that they would set all these little traps and baits for me that I would fall into and then they would hit me… HARD! While I was banking on superior speed and agility to outmaneuver and tire them they had already beat me on a whole other level… STRATEGY!
Now we come to the subject of longevity. We all know the importance of proper diet and living a healthy lifestyle. What I am going to suggest is that you focus on the love of wisdom. Why? Because if you really love wisdom then you have to be ALIVE to reap its benefit and keep on gaining it! Some people believe that the soul is immortal. Some people believe in reincarnation and that we live many lifetimes. While I happen to agree on both accounts, the hard fact for most of us is that we do NOT remember! We lose our memory and lose the wisdom we would have if we had remained in one body for 1,000 years, or if the soul is immortal, to have the wisdom of the ages! Think about that! Every incarnation we start a new life with a clean slate. We spend the first two decades relearning how to walk, talk, and function in society. Then if you assume the so-called average age of 80 years, you had 60 years to develop your wisdom, but that’s only if you CHOOSE to focus on wisdom, as you could just as well decide to party all your life, be irresponsible and never work on yourself. With that said, remember that all choices have CONSEQUENCES.
Going back to the subject of longevity. Let’s say you are eating healthy and doing all the right things. Is the sole object of longevity to eat right and live a “clean life” or is there something more? It seems we have been focusing on the vehicle of longevity and I am suggesting we focus on the journey and object of longevity. The one thing that increased longevity can give you more than anything else is WISDOM! I mean how many more parties can you attend, wine can you drink, cheesecake can you eat, sex can you have (wait, I am keeping that one), that will add more value to your life or will create the IMPELLING FORCE to actually give you the energy and determination to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to stay ALIVE!
After reflecting on this, and I have been thinking about this for quite some time, wisdom is truly the biggest difference and highest reward you can achieve from an increased life span. If you make wisdom your primary goal, then living as long as you can as best as you can becomes the primary pre-requisite. If you die then you lose all that accumulated knowledge and wisdom that you have worked so hard to attain in this lifetime. Its like having a bank account where you have been depositing 10% of your income all of your life and it has been accruing compound interest over a lifetime and when you start getting to the point where you can really use it to change your lifestyle then you are forced to move to a foreign country. In this new place your language, education, and experience mean nothing and you HAVE to start at zero getting a minimum wage job and working your way back up the ladder again. That’s what happens to your wisdom account when you die!
By having wisdom and longevity you can then be the example and role model for your family as you will be able to see the weddings and graduations of your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond. Instead of becoming the person that people visit out of a sense of obligation, you become the person that the younger generations seek out for your wisdom to help them deal with the challenges and tribulations of life that you have already gone through. You are then able to dispense the wisdom you have earned, lead your family, and enjoy the fabric of life to its fullest!
So become a lover of wisdom so that one day you and I can chuckle and laugh as we say to each other, “so this is how wise we got after 300 years, looks like we still got a lot to learn, perhaps we should hang around another 300 and see how wise we can be at 600.”