You could live to see the year 2100

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Photo by Eder Pozo Pérez, @ederpozo

It might be hard to imagine, but it’s true: As of today, if you are 35 years old or younger it is quite probable you will live to the see the year 2100 and witness the beginning of the 22nd century.

To have your life span over three different centuries? To me, that’s pretty cool.

Okay, I’ll explain.

Currently, the average American lifespan is 78.2 years. However, according to Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley and author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, recently wrote in an article that we are tremendously underestimating our life expectancy.

Lakhiani writes, “In a 2016 lecture in Singularity University, it was said that modern science is adding 3 months to every year we live as of 2016. But when we hit 2030, science will be adding an entire year to every year you live.” Lakhiani did the math for us (thankfully) and figured out that you are probably going to live on average 20 to 25 years longer than you anticipated. That’s significant.

Lakhiani created a chart based on this notion. Below on the chart, find your current age and you’ll see the estimated age and year you could live to.

For me, I might live to see the ripe old age of 124. Incredible. Though, I’m going to avoid thinking about what that means in terms of saving for retirement…  

With the advancements of health care, science, and technology we’ll be seeing a lot more centenarians walking around. Well, hopefully walking, as that is the other half of this extraordinary scenario: If you live to be over 100 years, will you be in good health, active, and mobile?

Many of us are taught that with old age comes deterioration and disease. But the good news is that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

Native Minnesotan, Dan Buettner had set out to discover the secret to living a long and healthy life and in his research created what he calls the ‘Blue Zones’. In Buettner’s best-selling book The Blue Zones, Buettner travels around the world searching for the regions with the highest concentration of people who live the longest and designated these areas as ‘Blue Zones’.

Buettner pinpointed five places around the world with the highest longevity:

  • Barbagia region of Sardinia, Italy: Home to the highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Ikaria, Greece: One of the lowest rates of middle age mortality and lowest rates of dementia.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: Second highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Loma Linda, California: Seventh Day Adventists living here outlive the average American by 10 years.
  • Okinawa, Japan: Females over 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.

So what do all these places scattered all around the world have in common?

Buettner discovered that each of these regions share 9 healthy lifestyle traits. If we implement them in our own homes and communities, we too could live a rich, healthy, and long life.

  1. Move Naturally – Those who live the longest don’t spend hours sweating it out in the gym. Their lifestyle incorporates natural movement and exercise. They walk more, garden, and don’t have as many technological or mechanical conveniences. 
  2. Purpose – Buettner writes, “The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Having goals and a reason for getting up each day adds years to your life.
  3. Down Shift – Stress causes inflammation which will take you down the road of chronic illness and disease. The people in the ‘Blue Zones’ find ways to destress whether through mediation or happy hour.
  4. 80% Rule – I could learn from this one. The 80% rule means that when you eat, you stop when your stomach is 80% full. You don’t stuff yourself into a coma. Those in the ‘Blue Zones’ stay trim and healthy by following this principle and eat their smallest meal in the evening without snacking on anything else afterwards.
  5. Plant Slant – Those who live the longest favor a plant-based diet. When people in the ‘Blue Zones’ do eat meat, it is on average only 5 times a month and the serving size is about the size of a deck of cards.
  6. Wine at 5 – I think most of us can get behind this lifestyle habit. With the exception of the Seventh Day Adventists who abstain from alcohol, all of the ‘Blue Zones’ enjoy 1 to 2 glasses of wine each day while socializing with friends or over a meal. 
  7. Belong – Buettner interviewed 263 centenarians and all but 5 belonged to some kind of faith-based community. Attending faith-based services, whatever denomination you choose, could add up to 4 to 14 years to your lifespan.
  8. Loved Ones First – ‘Blue Zone’ centenarians put their loved ones first. They take care of their parents and grandparents. They commit to a life partner and invest in their children through love and time spent together. The bottom line is having love in your life matters.
  9. Right Tribe – Find your people. The ones that support you and bring you happiness. Buettner discovered that the longest living people surrounded themselves with a community that supported and engaged in healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

If you start now and begin to implement these lifestyle habits, you can be one of the spry centenarians celebrating the year 2100 by tap dancing out of bed every morning, traveling the world, and socializing with your loved ones over a glass of wine.

That sounds pretty good to me.

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