An article in the “Japan Times” written by J. Kawaguchi described a 97-year-old physician, Shigeaki Hinohara, who has a legendary healing touch. Dr. Hinohara started a hospital and nursing school in Tokyo. Some of his sage advice is worth repeating here.
Energy comes from feeling good, not necessarily from eating well or sleeping a lot. He reminds us how children often forget to eat or sleep when having fun, and advises adults to adopt this same attitude of living life.
A common characteristic of people who live long lives, no matter their nationality, gender, religious beliefs or profession, is that none are overweight.
Always plan ahead. He keeps his schedule full and has plans until 2014, with speaking engagements, work projects and appointments. It helps you look forward to the future.
Cultivate an attitude of not needing to retire, at least not too soon, preferably much later than age 65. He said the current retirement age in Japan was based upon life expectancy about 50 years ago when people lived on the average to 68 and there were only 125 people who lived to be 100. Now, women live to 86 and men to 80, with 36,000 people living to 100.
Share what you know. I would add, it should be useful information that will build the wisdom of the community. Dr. Hinohara still delivers 150 lectures a year, 60-90 minutes in duration, while standing the entire time to stay strong.
When doctors recommend tests or surgery, he advises you ask the doctor if this would be his recommendation to his/her family/friends. Dr. Hinohara feels there are limits to medicine, and suggests surgery may cause unnecessary pain. He also feels there is great therapeutic benefit with animals and music which could be used instead.
To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff.
He has received great inspiration from Robert Browning, the poet, who encourages us to make big art, not scribbles. Draw a big circle so huge there is no way we can finish it while we are alive and all we can see is an arch, with the rest beyond our vision, but still there in the distance.
Use fun to forget about pain.
Don’t be crazy about amassing material things, because you can’t take it with you.
Be prepared for disasters and plan ahead.
Science alone can’t cure or help people. Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique and diseases are connected to the heart. To know illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.
Life is filled with incidents, so expect them and deal with them as best you can. He related a hijacking experience on a domestic flight where he was handcuffed to his seat for 4 days in high heat. He viewed the whole experience as an experiment and was amazed at how the body slowed down in a crisis.
Find a role model and aim to achieve even more than they could. When you encounter a problem you can’t easily solve, ask the question, what would they do?
After age 65 (I ask why not earlier?), strive to contribute to society. I was encouraged by a recent article in the LA Times about millionaires who amassed their fortunes in the high tech industry and are in their twenties and thirties. Many of them are living modestly and using their newfound wealth to fund projects to help schools and communities and creating new jobs. It gives me great hope for the future.
These are good words to live by. I hope I am as lucky as Dr. Hinohara and live a long, productive and useful life.
Read the original article on the Japan Times Online:
Author/physician Shigeaki Hinohara