What is the difference between a blue state and a blue zone?  Plenty!  Blue States are supposedly the states that will vote today for Barack Obama.  Blue “zones” are the places on this planet where people tend to live longer than 90 years.  Dan Buettner is a speaker/author/adventurer/teacher and producer who has traveled around the world finding regions that boast of a healthy and long-living population.  He has written a book called The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer. I’ve not read the book, but I read an article in USA Today that summarized the nine lessons.  I’ve decided to summarize the article in this blog.  So basically, you can learn to live longer in about 800 words!  Before I get to Buettner’s nine lessons, let me summarize some of the rest of his book.  It appears that the blue zones in this world are generally located a considerable distance from convenient fast-food chains with a drive through.  In fact, many of the blue zones require a bicycle to get around.  Secondly, most of the blue zones would not be close to malls, museums and sports arenas.  People who live in blue zones are rarely, if ever, tempted by nachos, hot dogs or the Cheesecake Factory.  My guess is movie theaters with buttered popcorn are hard to find as well.  Now it is time for me to tell you the nine ways you can live longer, if you don’t choose to pack up your bicycle and move to a blue zone.


Nine Ways to Live Longer – by Dan Buettner. (My “remarks” will be italicized!)

1.  Move naturally. Don’t do marathons or pump iron; work around the house, garden, walk, cycle, walk when talking on the phone. (I am fond of this one!  I don’t do marathons or pump iron.  Unfortunately, I don’t do that much work around the house either.  My yard indicates that I’ve not spent much time there and I don’t own a bicycle.  On the other hand, I do like to walk and I am truly fond of talking on the telephone.  I will try to do both of those things at the same time from now on.)

2. Know your purpose. Have a reason for waking up in the morning.  (Another good one.  I love my work.  I teach Bible, write blogs and speak about Jesus…it isn’t just a job – it’s a calling.  On the other hand, my first thought when I wake up each morning is “coffee.”   I hope that doesn’t cancel out the whole “purpose” idea.)

3. Kick back. Find ways to shed stress, whether it’s praying, napping, or going to happy hour.  (No problem here…I’ve got two out of the three.)

4.
Eat less. Stop eating when you are 80% full. (I’m sure Thanksgiving is an exception to this rule.  Hungry at half-time is just not an option in our home!)

5.  Eat less meat. Beans are a cornerstone of most centenarians’ diets.  (I feel the need to withhold comment on this one…I’m sure you can understand my reticence.)

6.  Drink in moderation. Only the Seventh-day Adventists in California didn’t have one to two glasses a day.  (Wait…I’m not a Seventh-day Adventist – and I am a teetotaler – at least in terms of alcohol.)

7.  Have faith. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter, but attending faith-based services (four times a month) does.  (This should make you think twice the next time you consider sleeping in on Sunday.  You just might be knocking a few years off of your life!)

8.  Power of love. Put families first, including committing to a partner and keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby. (Amen and amen.  Put families first!  Although every family has a few people that call this particular rule into question.  Maybe you should combine rule 8 with rule 3.)

9.  Stay social. Build a social network that supports healthy behaviors. (Let me suggest a GREAT Sunday school class, church or Bible study.  Make great friends and you will live longer!  And laugh a lot along the journey of aging.)

I live in a red state – but I should try to live in a blue zone.  With a few biblical modifications.  Let me summarize.  If tonight the election doesn’t go the direction of your vote, take a walk and remember God is still sovereign and always will be.  Get up tomorrow morning and fulfill his purpose for your life.  Pray all day and reduce the stress that others’ comments may inflict.  Don’t eat your way through a bag of Doritos as the statistics roll in and don’t think alcohol will change anything for the better.  Have faith in the King, give your spouse and kids a big hug and a kind word, and plan a fun evening with friends.  Tomorrow you can wake up knowing nine ways to live longer and the one way to live forever.  Romans 10:9 – “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Go vote and remember – no matter what – you win!

 

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