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Slowing down: Think turtles.

Life is short.

That’s what I’ve always and still believe. As a result, I live life as if there is no tomorrow. I walk fast, work fast, read fast, eat fast, and talk fast (not as fast as Singaporeans, but to claim that I talk slowly would be deceitful).

So, what can I say? I was brought up in a family with a fast-paced life, and this is how I am now.

But, although living faster is a more productive way of life (i.e. higher work output), I agree that it is an extremely unhealthy way to live.

Firstly, it is terrible for the people around me. True, the excitement level increases when I’m around (if I’m in a friendly disposition), but I can sense that the stress level rises a notch or two as well. I know it’s exhausting to be with me. I get burned out too. For this, I’m very apologetic to my family and friends who have to put up with me.

Secondly, and more importantly, it’s a rotten lifestyle for my health. These days, when I get a little time for a breather, I find myself having to relax and lighten up my scrunched-up face.

A fast-paced lifestyle not only affects my emotional well-being, but, this will also ultimately prevent me from living till the ripe age of 80 with my health intact. I want, no, I need to live till at least 75 years old with a still functioning, active and healthy mind and body.

Why am I acting like the lotus eater in W. Somerset Maugham’s tragic novel? It is one of my childhood dreams, since reading an encyclopedia when I was five, to see Halley’s comet before I die. The next appearance will be in 2061, and thus, I need to be that old to see it. I must see it.

So, the question is: How to live life in a way to ensure a long, healthy life?

TIME Magazine ran a special edition of how to live life till 100 years: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,1963392,00.html, which include recommendations to exercise and to eat a proper diet with supplements, and more radical ideas such as using semen, or modifying genes to eliminate the male genome. The articles range from already known public knowledge to new fascinating ideas that just fuel the imagination on what might be happening in the research on healthy ageing.

In Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘North by Northwest’ (1959), Cary Grant made a statement to “Think thin” to make a conscious effort to lose weight. And, though life is unpredictable and I’m learning every day that life has no set rules, I feel more comfortable having some guiding principles to make a little sense of this complicated world.

Maybe I should be more like Sally. Have rules, but be flexible.

Because of their life span, turtles (Order: Testudines) are a symbol of longevity for the Chinese people. There are also research studies on the relationship between their slow lifestyle and their longer life span.

Thus, my new philosophy in life, at least for the next few weeks, is to “Think turtles”.

“Think turtles. I like it.”

Green turtle ,Chelonia mydas in Kona

Image via Wikipedia

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