Early in the year, we lost a centenarian at our church. A few more however will reach the century mark in a few years. In the United States, there are more than 72,000 of them, which is a 44 percent increase since 2000. In the July/August Reader’s Digest issue last year, Alyssa Jung shares some signs you could be a good candidate for this elite group. They are the following:
1. You don’t feel your age. You may be 60 but you’re feeling like you’re 50 or 55. Studies show that those who felt three or four years younger than their age were less likely to die over an eight-year period than those who felt their age or older. On the other hand feeling older was linked to a 41 percent risk of dying.
2. You love eating fruits and veggies. A University of Michigan study of 700 women in their 70’s showed that those who consumed the most veggies and fruits had a 46 percent lower chance of dying over a five-year period compared with those who ate them infrequently. Okinawa, Japan has the most centenarians in the world (ratio-wise) and older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives and almost all grow or once grew a garden.
3. You are joyful and optimistic, relatively free from worries and anxiety. In a 2012 study of 243 volunteers published in a journal Aging, near centenarians share common characteristic and personality traits. Rosanne Leipzig, MD, PhD, professor of geriatics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City says “being adaptable and flexible helps people avoid stress and anxiety which can increase longevity.”
4. You eat a lot of fish. A Harvard study found that older adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids lived two more years on average than did those with lower blood levels. They didn’t take fish oil supplements. They simply ate a lot of fish, which is packed with omega-3s.
Last Sunday, a group of 25 members drove 150 miles to the Joshua Tree National Park Twentynine Palms, California for a day out in nature. It was a day set for picnicking, sightseeing and hiking out in the desert.
The group got there shortly before noontime which was just the right time to spread out the delicacies and goodies on the picnic tables and fill up hungry stomachs. Then came the hike to Hidden Valley past rocks that took interesting shapes: a whale, a lion, Snoopy dog and a few that could pass for the non-descript beast in Daniel’s prophetic book.
The weather was just perfect for a day out in the rugged wilderness. In fact, the event almost got cancelled due to a forecast of rain. But it turned out to be perfect after all. The sun shone from a clear blue sky with white clouds above but it was kind of chilly which was just the right combination for a leisurely hike.
It was a memorable day and a day to experience renewal and strengthening of fellowship ties. The awesome rock formations and spectacular natural wonders also gave witness to the majesty and artistic mind of God who carved these rock specimens with His wind, rain and sun.
I was reading Psalm 61 and the psalmist says in verse 2: “From the ends of the earth I will call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
As we drove around this huge natural preserve and during the hike, we saw a number of rock climbers; some busy scaling the imposing walls while a few others were seen successfully on top of the rock, their goal achieved. The Psalmist however asks to be led to the Rock that is higher than him. This Rock is Jesus. And getting in this Rock not only spells achievement and success and thus euphoria and exhilaration. It also means being safe in His arms, away from and unreached by the evil and trouble that sweep the earth.
Let us with David pray that we may be led to the Rock that is higher than us. Then will we have peace, and joy and safety from the troubles of this old and sinful world.