Forever is a Long Time

There’s an old joke that goes something like this:

 A woman hears of a wise doctor who holds the secret to eternal life. She travels to a distant land and arranges a private audience. 

“Doctor,” she says, “I have heard you hold the secret to life without aging. Please–I must know it.”

The doctor nods sagely. 

He pulls out his notepad and scribbles a prescription. The woman receives it, breathless. 

It reads:

  • Avoid all processed foods, sugar, meat, alcohol, fat, and salt.
  • Wake up a full hour earlier to meditate, study, do yoga, and journal each day before work.
  • Avoid all late nights – be asleep by 10PM.
  • Stay inside. Avoid the sun whenever possible. 
  • Take no risks. Never deviate from the prescription.

 The woman stares at the list. It looks hard. But eternal life!

“Just to be clear,” she says, “If I do all this, I’ll live forever?”

“Oh no,” the guru says. “Not at all. But it will sure feel like it.”

The doctor’s prescription is something akin to going to war with aging. You wake up every day, and you fight it. 

But the opposite of the prescription is just as troublesome: You do whatever you want. You treat your body like an amusement park, and you ride it hard until the lights go out. 

The first approach might lead you to a long but unsatisfying life.

The second might lead to a satisfying but much shorter one.

What to do?

I propose that you accept that there is no guru, and no prescription for eternal life. We all age. That’s no joke.

But when you accept that, you can see that this is a journey. One in which your body and life are always changing. And one in which they come to an end.

Then, instead of seeking something you can’t have, you can ask a better question:

What does your body need for this journey to have meaning?

The answer is the same as ever:

  • Good food that is whole and nutritious, prepared ourselves and shared with others.
  • Clean water that hydrates and allows all our systems to work smoothly and effortlessly.  
  • Movement that makes us strong enough to hold our grandbabies, flexible enough to sit on the floor with our kids, and mobile enough to take in the beautiful vistas on the path. 
  • Sleep that rejuvenates and heals us for the next day on our journey. 

And lastly….a little professional help when you stray from the path. There’s no secret to eternal life, but there are a lot of ways in which good health care can help when you need it. 🙂