Making Connections

As I mentioned last week, I have been doing more exploring of the Blue Zones.  I promise this isn’t a rehash of my earlier post.

This week, I have been focusing on one of the Blue Zone Power 9 lifestyle habits: Purpose, or ‘why I wake up in the morning’. According to research, knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to 7 years (!) of extra life expectancy.

My new book, the Blue Zones Challenge: A 4-Week Plan for a Longer, Better Life, has a ‘purpose check-up’. I scored on the low end of the top category.  Yes, I live purposefully, but my score could be improved.

Note: I have all of the Blue Zones books 😊.

Since 7 years is nothing to sneeze at, I have been doing some exercises to help me better define my sense of purpose.

Looking back, my purpose was a bit of a ‘no brainer’ when I was working in public health.  I knew my job and my role.  Public health is all about protecting and improving the health and well being of communities.  My jobs in public health were generally aligned with that purpose, and I was on board with that.

I also think my purpose over the years was to build and nurture our family.

Well, I am retired and the daughters all have their own families to nurture. 

I have a friend, who IMO, has a clear purpose – she is someone that people can and do count on, myself included.

So now what about me?

I find I gain a sense of purpose when I have fun and connect with people (young and old).  My days go much better when I have some small fun thing to look forward to and when I can connect with someone, in addition to my spouse (thank heavens for him!).  I think that these might be some of the reasons I like to travel and why I like to blog.

It has been challenging to plan fun and make connections during the pandemic. Fortunately, I am OK with a Zoom connection, although I wouldn’t want to spend the entire day Zooming! Also fortunately, I don’t need to connect 24/7. One or two daily connections will do nicely.

Looking back at my 40+ years in the workforce, I think the fun I had and the connections I made, along with a sense of purpose, were the main reasons I generally liked my jobs and maybe why I continue to do some work even now.

By being more intentional about my purpose, my daily goal is to find a little fun and to make even a small human connection.

A man can stand anything, except a succession of ordinary days

Goethe

Allene

My Tribe at 69

Yes, I know I post a lot about friendship on my blog 😊.  I imagine that is because the ‘friend deal’ is a big deal to me.  I remember how important friends were to me when I was growing up.  With adulthood, friends can sometimes fade into the background due to a lack of time as marriage, career, family, etc. take center stage.  Fortunately, with some care and nurturing, they don’t completely go away (whew!). For me, my friends are even more important to me in my third third than they were when I was growing up.

Not only are friends important for companionship, but they are also vital for my health. Who doesn’t like taking a walk with a friend? On the subject of friends and health, many of you are probably familiar with the Blue Zones.  If not, I highly recommend checking it/them out.  

The Blue Zones are the areas of the world where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives, such as Sardinia, Ikaria (Greece), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Okinawa (Japan), and Loma Linda, CA.

Dan Buettner studied these communities and identified Power 9 (copyrighted), the nine lifestyle habits of their healthy people. One of the lifestyle habits he identified is choosing the Right Tribe, which are social circles that support healthy behaviors.  For example, Okinawans create moais – groups of five friends that are committed to each other for life. 

I started thinking about my own right Tribe and came across this article about friendship after 60. Here is what the author looks for in friends.

Friends who:

  • Are fun, LAUGH, and enjoy new things,
  • Only complain when its necessary,
  • Are real about what they’ve experienced – are authentic,
  • Stay open to possibilities, and
  • Are not dependent on my energy – energy is precious. Some give and take is important at this stage of life and relationships.

Her list is pretty much my list.  I would add a couple of wishes to the friendship list:

  • Friends who are trustworthy
  • And here is the biggie – friends who are forgiving of my numerous flaws, keep coming back for more, and somehow love me regardless 😊

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

Jim Rohn

Despite numerous ups and downs over the years, I am fortunate to have a moais of five+ friends that are stuck with me. Here’s hoping they feel the same way!

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, so before I close, here is a quote from Dr. King:

All we say to America is: be true to what you said on paper.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Allene