I Was Eavesdropping...

February 11, 2024

I Was Eavesdropping...

May 29, 2023

Chip’s thought: Jim came to MEA for the first time in 2023 at age 87 and was the highlight of his Blue Zones cohort especially as they marveled at him learning to surf. Then, six months later and now 88, he came again and has been one of our biggest boosters. I love this Depression-era baby who has the wit of a stand-up comedian and the wisdom of a saint.

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“Whatcha doin’ Honey? “   

“Planning a trip to the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, then Okinawa, Japan, next is Sardinia, Italy, Ikaria, Greece, and last, Loma Linda, California.”  

“Because  . . . why?”   

“I want us to live to 100, at least.” 

We can save you a lot of packing and unpacking, immigration and airport security. Just throw some casual duds in a bag and spend a luxurious week in MEA’s new campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or fall in love with the Baja of California (it’s in Mexico), where you’ll watch whales migrating while you dine.   

Okay, listen up.  I’m talking about learning to love The Blue Zones in the mind-opening warmth of a workshop (I call it a “WorthWhile Shop”) at MEA–the Modern Elder Academy.  Wait a long-lived minute you say, What are the Blue Zones?  Look at the second sentence above, of the conversation we overheard. In those places there are the largest percentage of centenarians than any other place in the world. 

I won’t say it again, just reread that last statement. Yep, more Happy people living to 100. And golly gee gosh, I’m not saying you have to have really deep pockets and live in Beverly Hills, or Monaco, or on the Cape to live longer. One smartalec said, Oh, is living in a Blue Zone like a 12-step program?  Naw, only 9, and they aren’t steps really. They’re more involved with your Mindset and some conscious changes in your diet and habits.  

Here’s a quick look: 

1) Move naturally. 

2) Have a purpose--why do you wake up in the morning?  

3) Downshift, i.e. eliminate stress—meditate, take a nap, think about the things that matter in your life.  

4) The 80/20 rule—stop eating when you’re 80% full.  

5) The Plant Slant—it’s not that hard to start pushing your diet toward more plant-based foods—you will notice the difference in how you feel and look.  

6) Wine—I’m a non-drinker, but watching a 102-year-old Sardinian or Okinawan have a couple of glasses of wine almost makes me pop a cork.  

7) Belong. Yes indeed, I get up Sunday morning, put on some decent duds and go to God’s house. Research shows attending faith-based services four times per month will add four to 14 years of life expectancy. I even sing in the choir.  

8) Loved ones first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in your home. Stay married (That adds at least three years to your life)..  

9) Join the right tribe. The world’s longest-lived people chose—or were born into—social circles that support healthy behaviors. Happiness is contagious—so is smoking, obesity, alcoholism and loneliness. 

Imagine discussing all that while simultaneously finding a miraculous (it was hiding right in front of you) path out of the Messy Middle of your life—those are the MEA designated years between 35 and 75.  Yes, friend—You! 

-Jim

Who am I to preach with such conviction?
I’m James B. Flaherty—call me Jim. A two-time alum of WorthWhile Shops at MEA. And try not to be too envious—I’m past the Messy Middle. I’ll be 89 this year.  Published four books in my 80’s and am currently finishing up a TV series and a screenplay. I gave a TEDx Talk about helping lonely elders come back into the mainstream.  Come rejuvenate Your Own Mindset at MEA.  You’ll be happier . . . and certainly live longer. You’ll find me at MEA’s Blue Zones workshop in Baja June 17-22. Prepare to be thrilled–and maybe fall in love . . .with yourself!

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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