Monday, December 29, 2008

There used to be a yogurt commercial that showed elderly folks in different cultures eating yogurt. The claim, of course, was that eating the stuff was why they were living to such ripe old ages. I think that may be both simplistic and misleading.

When studies are done from the other direction one gets a different answer. That is, if we start with cultures where folks live a long time and work backwards, we get a hint of why they live so long. To begin, they don't eat the way we do. They tend to eat things as they appear in nature. They do not have processed meats and chemical laden foods. They get lots of veggies and grains.

Next, they tend to do a lot of physical work. Life is a bit harder without an electric can opener, but having to just walk everywhere and carry your own load seems to be good for one's body.

Thirdly, and I suspect most importantly, the old are venerated. Several generations live together in a house, tent or yurt. They consider the old folks to be treasures whose advise and wisdom is sought out by others. In such a society, I suspect, one can look forward (rather than dread) growing old. Unlike our modern cultures, there is no fear of being ware housed and isolated from everything you know and love.
In our sweat lodges we address the hot stones as "Grandfather" (or "Grandmother") because of their age. While that may seem silly to some, it is a show of deference to nature and what and who has gone before us. It is a show of respect for something ancient.

If our attitude toward old age and old people is to change it will happen by example. It will happen when we model for our young people respectful treatment of the elderly in our families and societies. When that happens, all of life will be more worth living.

Paddle safe...



derrick said...

Oh, be quiet you old geezer!!! LOL!

Happy New Year!

Silbs said...

Huh, whatta' you say. TALK LOUDER :)