living a long life, hack to living a long life, add years

The Hack To Experiencing A Long Life

Advice on adding years to your years 

What a HUGE topic, right? And what business do I have, at only forty-eight years old, telling anyone the secret to a long life? To be honest, I’m not sure what qualifies me or anyone else to advise others on such a worthy goal. I have noticed, however, that doesn’t seem to keep folks like me from trying regardless. And I want to be clear from the top; I’m not talking about extending the years of your life. It’s a little different than that. 

I have a bit of a story to tell you to help demonstrate, which I'll get to momentarily. Being a bit of a skeptic myself, I bet you think my article here has something to do with eating healthy to live a long and wonderful life.

It does not

Since I am in healthcare, maybe you think it has something to do with visiting your medical or chiropractic doctor frequently and staying on top of your health. While some of that thought may have some value (it’s ALWAYS good to pay attention to your health), this is not about staying healthy.

How about vaccines or some new medication so you can keep from getting any bad buggies? Nope. This article has nothing to do with anything like that at all.

I bet you think it has something to do with me wanting to sell you something. I’m a chiropractor in Amarillo, TX after all so surely I’m trying to get you to come to see me in this article. 

Absolutely not!!!

I have recently realized something I hadn't previously thought of. My realization is that three beers of your choice, a hot tub, some time alone to think, and even a bit of prayer can potentially provide some insightful answers to some mighty big questions. Or at least new ways of thinking about them. 

Recently, my wife and kids went to visit family in East Texas and I was left to myself and myself alone for 4 days. I have been taking the COVID thing seriously so, rather than going out with friends or spending time out, I was forced to stay home with a big, whiney dog and a cat that wants nothing to do with humans. 

One night, it was a bit chilly and I thought, “I bet it would be a great night to try out that hot tub I haven’t used in months now.” Nobody really wants to get in a hot tub in the Summer in Texas. That’s heat overkill. I grabbed three beers, threw on the swimming trunks, and hopped in. Sitting there enjoying the bubbles, as I do sometimes, I began to have a one-sided chat with God. Asking him to keep my family safe as they were out of town. Asking to keep my staff, myself, and my patients safe through this current pandemic. Asking for strength in different aspects of life. 

Just about then, for no reason on Earth that I can explain, it dawned on me how to make life longer which wasn't even on the menu to consider that particular night.  For a brief second, it felt that what I thought was a one-sided conversation, turned into an inspired two-way conversation. Just for the flash of a brief second. Now, you can call this divine intervention or you can call it just a coincidental moment of clarity. Either way you want to look at it is just fine by me. But I know who I was talking to at the time, OK?

Voilah!! I got it! I know how to hack this whole ‘life’ thing and do it the right way! It was inspiring!

But first, let’s start with an analogy I think most will identify with. 

 

The Weekend.

We all work for the weekend, right? Loverboy even put out a song about it back in the 80's. You're welcome for getting that stuck in your noggin just now. We all work for the weekend except for those lucky few born with an inheritance or those that worked smart and made enough to retire early. Most of us are trudging away all day every day through the week just to have those two little days off. 

Sometimes the weekend flies by doesn’t it? It can seem like you just got off of work, did a couple of things, and now you find yourself right back at work asking everyone how THEIR weekend went. Mostly because it feels like you didn’t really have much of one yourself so you are hoping to live vicariously through someone else’s experience. Those are the worst weekends. We can call them fly-by weekends. It’s fitting. 

Every now and then though, you show up on a Monday morning feeling pretty darn good. You feel bright, energized, and cheery! Like you had a good, long weekend. Things were done. Life happened. Basically, you’re satisfied with the weekend. Nobody loves Monday morning but overall, ‘well done’ with regards to the weekend. 

What is the difference between the two Monday mornings?

 

Friday night is the key!

I came up with an idea a couple of years ago. I even tested it out and I’m convinced I have the answer. The secret to a long weekend is to do something on Friday night. If that sounds silly, stick with me here. 

If you go to work on Friday and get off at 5:00 pm, the chances are, you are probably fairly tired. Let us assume you simply go home. Maybe you have a little time with the kids or the animals or the TV and then you turn it in and go to sleep. You wake up bright and early on a Saturday morning and already, you only have one night left to your weekend rather than two nights. Not only that but you have one day of freedom and then one more most likely spent going back to work the very next day. You know how it is. 

I decided that Friday night is the key to a long weekend. Let us assume that you get off of work on a Friday afternoon and instead of going straight home, you go to visit a friend. Maybe you go to a happy hour somewhere. Maybe you go golf nine holes with a buddy even though you’re tired. Maybe you go to the gym for an hour or two. You could even go to dinner and a movie. 

Whatever it might be that you do, you did something. Life was lived. Things were experienced. Your day was full. Not only did you fill your day with happiness and experiences on Friday, but you still have two more days to do the same!!

 

The Tale Of Two Saturdays

It doesn’t just stop with Friday though. Let’s cover two different types of Saturdays, shall we?

Saturday #1: You get out of bed around 10:30 am or maybe even 11 or later. You get a cup of coffee and sit around on the couch watching TV. Maybe you check the mail or make something to eat. Sometimes the kids want to watch TV with you too. Maybe you clean the house a bit but overall, your main goal is to simply relax and do absolutely nothing. You worked hard all week and now it’s time to decompress. This continues into the evening before you finally go to bed at nine or ten. 

Saturday #2: You get up around nine in the morning, get you some coffee, and then you make time for that hobby you love so much. For me, it’s the guitar, sculpting, or drawing. 

Then, let’s say you get on some tennis shoes and head out for a walk and fresh air. When you get back, you make something to eat or you go out and eat somewhere with a friend or a partner. You enjoy a great lunch. Then maybe you go down to the town shopping spot and cruise around checking stuff out, snacking, and checking out the sights and sounds of your hometown. Maybe that evening you have dinner and play cards or a board game with the family or just rent a movie online to watch before finally running out of steam and going to bed. 

Which Saturday do you see as being the one that is more filling or satisfying? Which one would you guess lasts longer and means more overall?

There is a tale of two Sundays as well. We can choose to spend Sunday in bed or on the couch or we can choose to invest in it. What if you went to church on Sunday morning or went to visit a friend. Maybe you take the dog to the park. Maybe you get the yard mowed and cleaned up or finish that project you’ve been putting off for so long before you sit back down with that hobby you love so much!

And that’s the key concept. It all comes down to time. We are bound by it. We can’t buy it with all of the money in the world. Time happens to us regardless of who we are or anything that we do for or against it so it’s up to us to either SPEND our time or to INVEST our time. I’m going to say that one more time in case you were dozing; 

 

We either spend time or we invest in it. 

Now that I believe I’ve effectively established that a nice long weekend is made up of living life and experiencing experiences, what dawned on me that night is that the same could be said about life in general. Once I started to let that idea begin to percolate, I took stock in my own life. Could my own experiences prove or disprove my new theory? I concluded that my life is proof. 

For example, many moons ago, I was a traveling musician. Just about every night of every weekend was full of new experiences, new places, and new people. I mean FULL. While we were only on the road for about 6 or 7 years, it literally felt like half of a lifetime. Sure, some of it was exhausting but I can tell you from experience that it did not simply fly by unnoticed. Some of my life’s favorite memories are from that time of traveling and experiencing life. 

I have been on the other end of the stick as well, however. There have been times in my life where I didn’t get excited about very much. I didn’t want to go anywhere or be around anyone in particular. There have been times that I lay around in bed on the weekends until eleven or twelve, got up, watched football, ate something, played some video games, and went right back to bed that night. 

 

Life Must Be Experienced

By now, you know where I’m going. Those times flew by un-noticed and un-cared about. There was nothing of real value there so they passed by never to be thought of again. But, I can promise you I still remember from my youth when we went to Yellowstone or drove to Florida. I still remember when Meg and I took the kids to California, South Texas, or Colorado. 

Just because I used travel as my example, don’t think that experiencing life has to cost a lot of money. It doesn’t and don’t use that as an excuse to sit around idle. There are tons of ways to do something without spending much, if any, money at all and it doesn’t take much of an imagination to figure it out. Go hiking. Go for a bike ride. Experiences aren't always physical activity either. Jump into your favorite hobby headfirst for example. Some hobbies actually require you to sit still for a while and that's OK. You're experiencing and creating. Still, other hobbies like woodworking involve some exertion. My hobbies are pretty varied like sculpting and art and the guitar but maybe your hobby is genealogy. Tracing your family’s history is experiencing life too! Take your dog to the dog park. Go shopping but don’t buy anything. Go listen to some music. Go to a museum. Go see an art show/display. Go visit a friend. Go see your mom or dad or brother or sister. Go visit your grandparents!

I promise you that our forefathers and our elders led truly long lives. Maybe not in years but in experiences. That’s because they didn’t place the value on TVs and electronic devices like our society do now. Yes, we are much more informed these days, but at what cost? Social Media, Video Games, or even News Outlets are all set up to not only grab our attention but to hold onto us for as long as humanly possible. We are manipulated to stay in one spot and digest a product for as long as we’ll allow them to hold onto us. Why do you think there are notifications on your phones? They’re there to maintain your attention and to keep you going to a certain app or platform time and time again and once you’re there, they want to hold onto you for hours if you’ll allow it. Again, that’s not just social media. You get news notifications as well. I’ve seen video game alerts on some phones. IT’S EVERYTHING. 

Our current society is currently geared to keep us idle, inactive, and ultimately unremarkable. When we are unremarkable, then so is our life when viewed as a whole. I don’t want to be unremarkable, folks.

The simple point is that we’re not meant to sit idle. We weren’t given all that’s around us to simply ignore it and stay in our caves with our heads poked into a TV, playing a video game, sitting around looking at one of the many electronic devices we’ve tied ourselves to, or laying around in bed or on the couch like a bump on a log. 

My epiphany led me to realize that literally EVERY DAY is important in building a value-filled, truly long life. I’m not necessarily talking about a long life in the number of years. Diet and exercise come in handy there. I’m talking about a life long in experiences, memories, and joy. Everyday experiences are where it’s at. Not every other day. Not sometimes experiences. Every day, remarkable experiences are the hack to having a long life. 

 

SO GO OUT THERE AND BE REMARKABLE

 

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Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM is a Fellowship-trained Neuromusculoskeletal specialist and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast. Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected]

Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109