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Blue zones and community

March 27, 2023

I was with some friends last week and we talked about our City and County and what makes it great and what are we missing. It was a deep interaction with people who have been engaged in making Merced a place for everyone. Their years of service go beyond the mere duty to a deep longing for a thriving community.
I also connected with a friend and we talked about health and overall well being and she talked about “Blue Zones” - the regions in the world were life expectancy is higher than the average and people live more content lives.
Over the weekend I had some young people help with moving some items for LifeLine and we talked about their group of young men (high schoolers) who are walking together to learn and grow.
As I researched ‘blue zones’ a little more there were some common denominators.

People who live out these basic ideas live longer:
They move naturally - they purposely pursue walking, gardening etc.
They have purpose - they ask: why do I wake up in the morning?
They downshift - they take time for prayer, mediation, quiet times.
They live by the 80% rule - they eat until they are 80% full.
They menu around plant food - they eat meat sparingly.
They consume wine only after 5 - they drink in moderation.
They befriend - they have a close knit community they engage with.
They focus on loved ones first - they stay connected.
They belong - they have a close social network (faith community, clubs, civic organizations).

Such basic things and I wonder if we would follow these tenants would our communities be better places? Would we live healthier lives? In this fast moving world, where technology seems to dominate everything, where we want instant success and wealth, would following these principles bring peace to our minds and focus to our purpose to empower our communities? We all long to live life to the fullest and make an impact on the world around us. Let’s start in our immediate family and then spread out. Let’s help Merced County become a ‘Blue Zone’.

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