Between locusts, cicadas and humans, which of these species have the most in common? Of course, it is cicadas and humans. Suspend your disbelief.
Locusts are the crazy junk of biblical legend. Plagues, crop destruction, major inconveniences have been locusts’ deserved calling card throughout history. Grasshoppers and mole crickets are the best examples. They eat everything in their path and live just a few weeks. We could make a comparison with humans who have poor nutrition habits, eat everything in their path and are unable to enjoy a long, fulfilling and relatively disease-free life. They exist in this story because people falsely think cicadas are locusts, and the stars of this story are cicadas and humans.
Throughout history, the cicada has been revered by great civilizations and known as polyvalent, which means to exemplify long life with resistance to poisons and disease.
Cicadas spend years and years of their life underground. But then, when you’d think life was over, they come out and climb up on a tree, spread their shell and emerge to fly, sing and mate gloriously for the rest of their existence. And they live up to 100 times longer than locusts. Their singing enchanted and inspired the Greeks and Chinese. The ancient Greeks revered cicadas and cherished their singing as intoxicating ecstasy, like Bruno Mars, Pink Floyd or even Frank Sinatra, depending on your taste. In fact, Socrates left the cradle of Athens for the first time just to be closer to the cicadas and their singing in the forests.
In Chinese lore, cicadas are creatures of high status. Considered pure and lofty, an ancient analogy in China suggests that a high-ranking official should resemble a cicada: residing high, eating a pure diet, and with sharp eyes.
So why the comparison?
Throughout the thousands of years of human history, the lifespan of our species stayed about 30 to 40 total years on the average. During Ben Franklin’s time the average human lived only 34 years, even though old Ben lived a productive 84 years (what was his secret?). With few notable exceptions, it was over by 40.
By 1900 the average expected lifespan was only about 43 years. This ballooned to over 70 years in the US for all people going into the 21st century. The downside was as people lived longer, the majority still living suffered from many negative effects of what we called “normal aging” but now know as “lifestyle disease” caused by daily inaction and poor quality food intake. As a child, if anyone died when they were over 60, my mother assured me they died of old age. Natural, right?
So we start our life with the excitement and energy through our 20s and 30s but when we finally figure out what’s going on, many of us are too sick to do anything about it. Sad state of affairs.
But this story can have a great ending. According to the latest in modern medicine, cellular biology and nutrition, it is fact that our lifespans can be increased well over 80 to 90, 100 and even more.
This is how our “new” president can begin the most difficult job on earth at the age of 78 and how Mother Theresa was giving everything to help others well into her upper 80s.
Good news. The accepted downside of disease, dementia, infirmity and overall terrible health for all those over 60 is not naturally on the menu.
In their evidence based, bestselling book, “Younger Next Year, How to Live Fit, Smart, Sexy and Strong until 80 and Beyond,” authors Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge go deep into the strategies, tactics and skills needed to live an exciting, healthy, productive life at least twice as long as your great, great ancestors.
The news? 50 percent of all diseases related to aging can be eliminated. Not reduced, totally eliminated.
How? In a nutshell: 1. Exercise 2. Nutrition 3. Considered commitment The fundamentals:
Exercise: Move purposely every day. Do some type of strength building resistance training two days a week, in addition to cardiovascular training a total of six days each week. These habits have been largely lost due to our modern desk-job sendentary worklife existence and TV-computer- smartphone fixation.
Nutrition: Clean up your body’s input (or how you load it) by using the food diet discovered and recommended by all credible nutrition practitioners today. A dedication to more whole (not processed) foods and a balanced diet featuring the proper amount of healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins. These give you the right amount of macro and micro nutrients for overall health and eliminate much of the problems inherent in a fast-food, highly processed diet. Overhaul the nutritional input loaded into your mind by upgrading the information you let in from lead, bleed and blame news from TV and web “doomscrolling.”
Your mental intake should also be positive, growth-challenging and inspirational. Like eating, constructing an ongoing growth-building mental game takes practice to build skill.
Commitment: to attain this active, productive life, you must think about and be committed to your exercise and the proper nutrition skills to the point of building lasting habits gained by consistent action.
Building the skills and habits mentioned above will be difficult to do by yourself in our fast-paced marketing-screaming society. If you are naturally a polymath (driven to learn on your own) your focused commitment can direct you to gain the knowledge to perform the actions which (without accident) will help you live and be a productive giver to your family and society well above 80-90 years.
If you are not a driven polymath, you can easily build a support team (known as a mastermind group) starting with a coach who is motivated to guide and support you to maintain the habits and continue the skill-building to make your life top 5 percent productive and sustainable.
You can start with the coach (Google: health coach). Think of what you could do-if you had an extra 30-40 years to create a newly realized future.
Like the cicada, the humans who create and build the future will be those who have escaped the immaturity of youth to the self-actualized future where they can use their energetic, healthy bodies to carry out dreams and high-level activities.
Given many more productive decades to live without the expectation of a hard stop at 65years, intelligence and advance executive functions can be expected for the newage human (just like Ben Franklin and Mother Teresa) to create powerful realities previously unimagined.
And like the cicada you, too, can emerge to fly, sing and make amazing things happen.
Mike Thompson writes about nutrition and amazing aging and lives in Richmond Hill. He is certified in exercise nutrition and founder of SelfCare Sustained. You can reach him at MikeThompson@SelfCareSustained.com.