To many, living "paleo" means living a more natural life. Fewer cheetos, more raw cheddar. Less worrying, more walking. Less sick days, more sex days. (<----is that true?)
The end of life is called "death". Some of us try to delay this with prudent dietary tweaks and supplementation. We can hack all we want, but chances are that we will all die. Kurt Harris writes...
"So I would encourage you to ask yourself, what are you looking for? Do you think there is a "secret"? Are you fantasizing about immortality? Is everything a tweak or a hack or a trick? Do you think every problem in your life can be fixed by changing your diet? Or do you see life as complex and tragic but sweet and rewarding, and are happy just to stack the odds in your favor with diet and then get on about your other business?"
It strikes me that the basic nature of paleo writing/blogging/hacking is very life-affirming. But life is not always rainbows and slow-cooked meat. It can be very tragic. People have thought about death and written about tragedy forever. Now that most of us don't die from infection/accidents/war, tragedy is just so passe. I looked through paleohacks and found almost nothing about death. How often do you think about death? Are you afraid of death?
I came nose to nose with my mortality fairly early - at age 19 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and now I have a very sizable scar on my leg testifying to the experience.
Anyway, could I get melanoma again? Sure - in fact I bank on that possibility by having regular visits to the dermatologist to check for abnormalities. Will a paleo lifestyle guarantee me never having a melanoma again? Nope. It might well push the odds in my favor, but I still get biopsies done on spots most of the time, because I know that nothing is certain.
Similarly, I could get killed in traffic, or some other tragedy. Paleo is not a fix-all, and it doesn't guarantee long life free of illness or sorrow. It just increases your chances of living a longer, more physically comfortable life.
I think that striving for optimal nutrition 100% of the time - in a bid for immortality - is not only futile, but ultimately has the potential to be a bit soul-crushing. What good is living to 120 fit years old if your friends and family died long ago - and you repeatedly refused their offers of occasional social/seasonal indulgence based on your pursuit of a perfectly fit life? The tradeoff there has to be carefully evaluated.
i'm calorie restricting and taking resveratrol. i'm going to live to a 130, bitches. someone on this board told me that so it must be true, right?
I'm with Christopher Hitchens on this one:
“Do I fear death? No, I am not afraid of being dead because there's nothing to be afraid of, I won't know it. I fear dying, of dying I feel a sense of waste about it and I fear a sordid death, where I am incapacitated or imbecilic at the end which isn't something to be afraid of, it's something to be terrified of.”
Provocative but wonderful question Kumar!
Fear of death is what led me to my nutritional inquiry (in addition to a spiritual inquiry). My father died at age 52 when I was 23. I am 42 now and am still fearful. I don't expect to live forever but I fear dying with MANY regrets in life, not seeing my daughter grow up, and not being able to look in the mirror at least one day before my last and truly feel at peace.
Every man dies, not every man really lives. I hope someday to live
Now that I'm closer to it than a lot of PHers, I think about it more often. I find that I'm not afraid of death ... but I must admit to being afraid of of a painful death. I'm a wuss that way.
Now that I am a father of two (2 and 5), I'm not sure if I am afraid of death or the fact that death would leave my kids fatherless and cause them pain. Each and every day I see what I mean to them and how much they love me, and I wouldn't want that to be taken from them until it was expected.
Well, I had a "guru" once tell me that humans are programmed to live at least 120 years in perfect health, and that regeneration is possible in every case, that there is a cure for everything. At some point I definitely got these ideas deeply ingrained in my skull...that I could fix all that ails me if I could just find the right tweak to my diet. I've let that go. I think about death a lot. I have fears around death(my own, my husband's and my children's especially) that I strive to face, and also strive not to dwell on. Death is as much a part of life as birth is...I think my biggest fear around my own death is not having lived a life worthy of being remembered and held in the hearts of those that I love.
After losing the bulk of my family over the years to the craziest shit ever - we're talking along the same lines of toilets from space, the body wearing out from so many years - yay longevity!, and maybe a strange illness or two, I'm not afraid to die. But..
What I'm afraid of is how it will affect those that I leave behind. In general I truly hate to see anyone hurt or sad that is in my life, friends on up, so I try at all times to be happy and say it all now. Be affectionate, give little gifts from my heart, create memories, show the care now - no waiting!, so maybe, just maybe, when I'm gone I will be missed with smiles and bad jokes about the dumb crap I've done over the years with the tears and not just the tears.
I know, might be weird worrying about everyone else, but taking care of people who have passed away really made me take a look at how I was living and how I wanted to go out. I live each day and do everything possible to not have any regrets. Of course that's harder than it sounds, and I do fuck up now and then, but it's a learning process right up until the end.
Of course I'm afraid of death. I'm afraid to miss out on one moment with my family and friends. I'm afraid to not be here for my son when he needs me. But I'm more afraid of any of my family members or friends dying because the pain of being without them would be immense.
I don't know if I'm on the 'paleo' train for longevity or to increase the quality of the days and years that I have. I think the latter because luckily I haven't really faced death myself.