With the population of first world countries aging, scientists are studying factors contributing to living a long life. Their findings why some live to be a hundred and longer are surprising.
Strange how I thought very little about living a long life till I got older. Now I pay attention to studies about centurions. How do people pushing 100 still garden, ride motorcycles and travel around the world?
Why do only a select few live to be a century old with a decent quality of life?
Well, the scientists identified nine key factors. “Living with Purpose” being one of them.
How I’ve come to understand living with purpose is doing something for others. Some call it ‘giving back’, ‘finding a second life mission’, or simply realizing a fulfilling life is not about accumulating stuff or keeping up with the proverbial Joneses.
Now when my back hurts, I’m bothered by not remembering like I used to, or I’m simply feeling useless… I switch gears and think about:
Silke’s challenges finding another safe wild place to release her next monkey troop. Or young Baye dealing with the heartbreak of arriving too late to save yet another baby zebra whose mother died in a snare. Or Philippo who faces his Maasai farmer neighbors and pleads with them not to shoot the lions threatening their cattle. Or Lynn who goes toe to toe with local prosecutors to assure yet another elephant poacher is put behind bars. Or Shannon who risks life and limb harvesting the second Bearded Vulture egg from mountain cliffs to save an entire species from going extinct. Or Natalie who spends hours nurturing and healing yet another traumatized rhino calf who lost its mother to brutal poachers. Or Moses who single handedly is reforming wildlife poachers by persuading them to give up their spears for shovels to become bee keepers and fish farmers.
When I think on these ordinary folk who work so hard and do so much to save animals my resolve returns. I get to work sharing their stories and inviting others to donate to assist them.
After all, Silke was a German city girl who cared nothing about wildlife before her first husband entice her to South Africa. There her life turned upside down and today over 500 monkeys are alive and living free because of her.
Baye was 22 and thinking of her career and the cute guy she just met when a tiny orphaned baboon showed up in her life. She made her a promise which led to the beginning of the Bulawayo area’s only wildlife rescue center. To date tiny bush babies, serval cats, owls, and antelope of all kinds live free again because of her.
Shannon was way up in northern Africa working on a story about birds of prey, in particular falcons. She fell in love and returned to South Africa determined to help save her countries threatened raptors. This was the beginning of Africa’s largest raptor center.
Moses grew up in a small village outside of Bwindi National Park in Uganda. While visiting his aunt as a young boy he watched mountain gorillas and grew to love them and nature. There was no money for him to go to university, however he found every possible way to become involved in protecting wildlife. Today he reforms wildlife poachers and is effectively involved in saving the highly endangered pangolin.
By this time I’ve gotten out of my “I’m old funk” and am reenergized. The world around me looks brighter. Getting up every day is meaningful. I accept every breath as a gift to do my small part and am grateful for it.
Will living a long life to 100 be my lot? It really doesn’t matter as long as my living today is full of life.
As Russ would say… Enjoy your day and do good.
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