Island Senior: Longevity and a sense of purpose

Posted September 17, 2022 at 11:56 am by

Contributed photo

This past week, the world lost not only the longest serv­ing British monarch, but at 96 years old a woman who embod­ied longevi­ty itself. Queen Eliz­a­beth II had plen­ty of healthy habits. She start­ed her days with a pot of Earl Grey tea, a bowl of Spe­cial K cere­al, and a bag­pipe ser­e­nade. She rode hors­es, walked her dogs, and eschewed bread and pas­ta, avoid­ing starch. She also enjoyed veni­son burg­ers, choco­late, and gin martinis.

Blue Zone longevi­ty stud­ies focus on com­mu­ni­ties through­out the world with par­tic­u­lar­ly long-lived pop­u­la­tions. Cen­te­nar­i­ans liv­ing in “blue zones” areas — places where peo­ple were liv­ing longer lives with more vital­i­ty — have a strong sense of pur­pose through­out their lives. The Oki­nawans call it iki­gai and the Nicoy­ans call it plan de vida. For both, it trans­lates to why I wake up in the morn­ing.

Queen Elizabeth’s pur­pose was clear. Due to her uncle’s abdi­ca­tion fol­lowed by her father’s poor health, Elizabeth’s des­tiny was thrust upon her at a young age. On her 21st birth­day she made her com­mit­ment clear stat­ing, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devot­ed to your ser­vice.” At the age of 25 she became Queen of the Unit­ed King­dom. She kept her promise to stead­fast­ly serve her peo­ple for the next 70 years.

One of the most impor­tant duties of the British monarch is ask­ing a new Prime Min­is­ter to form a gov­ern­ment. On Sept. 6 the Queen accept­ed the res­ig­na­tion of Boris John­son, her 14th Prime Min­is­ter, and asked her 15th Prime Min­is­ter, Liz Truss, to form a new gov­ern­ment. Two days lat­er the Queen passed away. She died with her boots on, you could say, ful­fill­ing the promise that she made in her youth.

Few of us live lives of such notable con­se­quence. Yet, our pur­pose can be as sim­ple as show­ing kind­ness to oth­ers. What is it that gets you up in the morning?

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Categories: Around Here, Island Senior

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