Time after time we hear that a secret to staying young at heart is to always have ongoing projects. And with a wealth of experience, once retirement is on the horizon it may feel as though you are just ramping up! Now with the benefit of experience and being able to choose full heartedly one’s pass-times, retirement is no longer what it used to be. With the wisdom of years, we can be more daring with our projects and aspirations. We can give ourselves the time to both enjoy our day and work on a project or try something new. And this last, is the challenge of the new age of retirement, filling the day with worth while pursuits, to everyday come alive, vibrant with energy. And say what you will, but I’ve never heard of anyone retiring and moving North. So when you do move South, you can choose to live in the area year long, experience Costa Rica in its fullness, or adopt the lifestyle of a snow bird, who simply escapes the cold harsh winters and comes to play.
And beyond Costa Rica, to age well is to live well. Scientists have researched the four longest living populations on earth and what they have in common. And of course, you’ve guessed it the Costa Rican’s are one of those populations. Not the city dwellers, but the rural farming, hard working population like those in Costa Ballena. In all four groups of centenarians worldwide the lifestyle held many similarities: a somewhat rural life, surrounded by nature; a life of physical connectedness, manual labor or a lot of walking, a moderate climate that made the out of doors accessible, and strong connections with other people, family and friends. Whats more, the following is a compiled list of daily necessities to help live the life that got them, healthfully, to over 100 years of age*:
• Move your body now and forever. Every day, walk, run, hike, bike, practice yoga, chi gong, dance, or any physical activity. Just move your body!
• Eat slowly, sitting down preferably, with friends and family, eat earlier in the day and eat smaller portions, fewer snacks, less meat and avoid processed food, choosing to stay with fresh, local and organic vegetables. Eat nuts, fruits, vegetables, and beans and enjoy a glass of red wine daily. (The wine is not part of the Costa Rican population but rather from the long living Mediterranean’s studied.)
• Know why you wake up in the morning, your Plan de Vida or Purpose. Purpose does not have to be a grand mission; it simply is categorized by any activity that immerses you. It contains key elements including enjoyment, fulfillment, skill or freedom.
• Slow down, reduce any excessive or constant noise that you live with, learn to meditate, take time out for a time of simple peace daily.
• Belong to your community. Participate in a like-minded group that gathers frequently.
• Keep your loved ones close, participate with family whether they are blood relatives or a family of your own making.
• Social connectedness: keep a close group of friends that you meet with regularly for fun and who can be called on for support, and who you can support as well.
May this have inspired you to the live the life that you want to retire to!
*Buettner, Dan. The blue zone: lessons for living longer from the people who’ve lived the longest. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2008. Print.