Life is ever changing. We are dynamic and rarely static, yet having a life of routine might help you live longer.
How is that possible?
My grandfather lived a very structured life.
He ate an egg on toast, two pieces of bacon, and three pieces of cantaloupe for breakfast, every day.
He ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time, every day.
He walked after each meal, every day.
He went to bed at 11:30 pm and woke up at 7 am, every day.
His patterned behavior is what he attributed to his healthy life, and I have to agree.
There is so much about life that we are unable to control. We can’t control the storms that come our way, the job layoffs, the broken relationships, but we can control the simple things in life that keep us going.
The Big 3 that keeps us going are:
Oh wait, did you think by the Big 3 I meant:
Rock and Roll
Sorry about that.
If we can get a grip on performing those three life tasks consistently (sleeping, eating, and exercising) we have a chance of having a smoother and potentially longer life.
My grandfather, Poppop, lived to be 92, and he lived fully up until the last 3 months.
During the last 3 months of his life, he was in the hospital. He had some discomfort, mostly from all the tests the hospital put him through. The last 3 days of his life were difficult for him, and then he died. Because I was in agony watching him die, it seemed like he lay dying for a long time. Looking back though, it was a very short period of time.
So many people I know seem to be slowly dying from the time they turn 40, and they continue this slow decent for decades. Decades. Many of my friends, neighbors, and family members (No, I’m not talking about you.) struggle with weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, whacky hormones, and the list goes on.
Most of us have not found that peace that a life of consistency brings.
Our bodies need a healthy routine of the Big 3.
We need a sensible pattern to help us exist.
You feel that, don’t you?
When you stay out too late, isn’t the next day really difficult?
When you eat that piece of birthday cake at 9 pm at night, don’t you have trouble sleeping?
When you miss your daily workout session, don’t you feel sluggish?
When you try and compensate with an extra cup of coffee, don’t you feel all bothered and jittery?
We need the Big 3 to remain constant in our lives.
My Poppop grew up during the Great Depression. There was a reason for him to ration his food and eat the same foods for each meal. There was also a reason for him to wake up at the same time each day to go to work.
Luckily, we are not experiencing an economic turn like that of the Great Depression. Today, many of us can eat whatever we want with the ability to choose between the multitudes of fast food and grocery stores. Many of us can sleep when we want to with the ability to work in virtual offices from home.
That isn’t helping us as a nation to stay healthy, though. As we vary our sleep patterns, we lessen our ability to heal from the emotional and physical wear and tear life puts on our bodies. As we vary our food intake, we alter our metabolism. As we vary our exercise, our bodies become injured more easily.
Consistency in life is important, but don’t get me wrong. Spontaneity has its importance in life as well. I will never pass up birthday cake at 9 pm, and I don’t think Poppop would have either. You’ve got to always leave room in life for adventures. Go watch those shooting stars, and hike those canyons, but for the normal days, stay consistent.
While you don’t have to be as exact as my grandfather, I challenge you to try being routined with the Big 3 for six weeks and see how you feel.
Wake up every day at the same time.
Endeavor to eat a protein, fruit, vegetable, and grain for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You don’t have to eat the same thing for every meal like Poppop did. Just make sure you have the same nutrition ratio, and eat as close to the same time each day as you can.
Walk, stretch, practice yoga each day. If you can only exercise in the mornings, then do it! If it has got to be after lunch, then do your exercise at that time. Pick a time and stick to it.
Being consistent with the Big 3 helped my grandfather with his overall health, but it also helped create space in his life for happiness and peace.
A friend of mine has told me on numerous occasions that she doesn’t want to live past 80. She’s currently in her 50’s, so that doesn’t leave her with a whole lot of time. (No, this isn’t about you. Just, kidding, it’s totally about you!) She has predetermined that she will have a life of medical hardships that 80-year-olds often face, and I find that so sad.
My grandfather had such a great outlook on life. Even as he lay dying during that 3-day time span, he held my hand and smiled as he told me he was planning on living until he was 110.
Stay consistent with the Big 3, and may you create so much room in your life for peace and happiness that you find yourself striving to live to be 130!