I admittedly was skeptical with the title of this book: I’ve decided to Live 120 years (By Ilchi Lee). I have never thought of what my goal for life expectancy is. This is something the author suggests we personally set for ourselves. The book provided some reminders of things I already practice, believe in and have written about in the past. It also provided a new perspective on aging and perhaps more so, on a plan for the “rest” of life – beyond todays work and the constant demands for more.
Like anything I read, I like to find ways to translate it into something I can implement myself, so I thought I would share the key things I took from reading it.
Life in Two Halves
Like perhaps many people, I have been ingrained with the belief – we work hard, retire around 65, live perhaps another 15-20 years (with little plan as to what we do in this time) and die. Since 1900 the global life expectancy has more than doubled. Have our beliefs stayed the same, regardless of the possibilities around longevity?
This book highlighted designing your life for the second half. The first half of our lives (60 years) is about working hard, success and accumulation.
The second half (assuming the age of 120 years, do your own calculations on what you want) gives you another 60 years. Ilichi describes this as for completion. This is about self-discovery, enjoyment, giving back, all without the competition of the first half. This lays down the concept of an entirely separate life to design and plan for. How cool!
That radically changed my perception on retirement and the usefulness of old age. I was once again inspired (or at least challenged) with thoughts of what I could do.
How much does that change your perception on what to do? How to live? How to DESIGN this half of your life?
Life by design
I have always strived for living my ‘life by design’. My own interpretation has been about designing my day-to-day activities around the way I most want to live. It has included the way I spend the first few hours of a day. It is designing my ideal environment, soothing the soul with a sunrise, living in a place with a view, spending time with people I love. Many years ago, I extended my design to be able to work from almost anywhere, mostly anytime. Everyone has their own design, their own choices. These no doubt change regularly.
My ‘life by design’ has always focused on pre-retirement years. I strive for new goals – to build a house, plan a trip, start a new business venture or learn something new. I continually work hard, to accumulate, am driven by success, and more, more …more… I haven’t looked much past that first half.
Provide Your Own Health, Happiness and Peace
Ilchi Lee explores the need for personal responsibility. We can remove the burden on society by being self-sufficient with our health and happiness. We can take away the reliance on external factors, pills and healthcare, when it is preventable or not necessary. It is all personal choice.
The responsibility extends to caring for our planet. Part of Ilchi Lees’ vision is recognition of us all as Earth Citizens. When we do this, we take away nationality, race, sex, ethnicity, and any bias. It is easier to realise – not only are we all connected, but we are also all responsible, for this earth that supports us, and that we call home. (So much more to explore here – another blog maybe!)
The thought of living to 120 can be daunting. I think my ideal is to live to an age where I maintain youthfulness, seek fulfillment and discover ways to give back and find the completion Ilchi speaks of in that second half of life.
My Dad as Living Proof
In reflecting on this, I had to look at my dad. He exudes every aspect of living his ‘life by his design’ post retirement.
Living in the beautiful Bahamas, Dad grows his own fruit and veggies, lives off the solar he installed and uses the water he collects.
Giving back to the community, he ropes in a bunch of ex-pats who routinely come up with crazy ideas. They spend hours, using their combined prior life skills, of building, engineering, electrical and more, to do things like build fire trucks or help to revitalize the local village.
In his usual kiwi style, he wants no accolades or recognition, and laughs when people are stunned at his innovation. While this has happened his entire life, perhaps nearing 80, he is just getting better.
Ilchi speaks of the need to somehow maximise the wisdom and encourage knowledge sharing in older people. This is becoming increasingly hard (in workplaces and outside) as younger generations turn to the internet for answers and have lost the innate respect for elders. I am perplexed by how to bridge this gap – especially with such a large aging population. I do however see it in action, with my dad.
Dad might laugh off ideas of meditation or mind-body exercises. Ilchi’s words of spiritual enlightenment may not appeal to him. Dad’s self development, rather than coming from books, retreats and gurus, perhaps comes from a swim in the sea every evening with his dog…and usually the company of friends and a beer!
He takes care of his health (in moderation most of the time haha) ….and knows that doing something physical every day is essential. Without knowing, he has adopted Ilchi Lee’s most necessary nutrition advice, giving your brain Vitamin H. HOPE. Apparently hopes and dreams are the best way to activate and engage your brain! Dad doesn’t stop thinking, inventing, innovating and helping. ……but most of all laughing…youthfulness in action and certainly a life by design.
Earth Village in New Zealand
I am off to a retreat next weekend – at Earth Village in Kerikeri – (the author of this book founded this magic retreat in the far North of New Zealand). I am hoping for an idyllic start to the new year, resetting energy, in nature (386 acres of New Zealand Native Forest and Pines). If you are keen to hear how it went, please let me know – I will be happy to share.
This was just a taste of some the concepts in this book. It has so much more. I would highly recommend a read and love to hear your thoughts.