Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How to live to be 120yrs old

120 years old. That's the age St Kevin reached before God called him to heaven. Sounds familiar, right? A holy man who devotes his life to God and just happens to live an extraordinarily long life. Too familiar? Cliché even? Unbelievable, right? “I mean how could someone live so long, especially back in those days?”

St. Kevin lived an isolated life as much as he possibly could in the valley of Glendalough. An ascetic, he maintained a lifestyle of minimal sustenance: his shelter was a stone-framed beehive cell, he wore a single layer of clothing and ate only what he could find - berries, roots and fish. When I first learned of these details, I wondered, as have many since his time, 'how could he live on so little?' especially under Ireland’s climate!

On Tuesday, I fasted. I'm not talking about your 'only fish on Friday' fast, I mean no food for at least 24hrs. Why? Explore this website to learn the reasons behind and the benefits of fasting. I did this not solely for religious reasons but for physical and psychological reasons as well. I didn’t view it as a chore or as ‘work’. I was actually really excited about the idea and looking forward to the fast.

If nothing else, it was a challenge and made Lent a little different this time around. I had had the conviction to abstain from all chocolate during the Lenten season. Not very creative or original, but a respectable vow nonetheless given my preference for the smooth delicacy. Deciding to fast every Tuesday of Lent (from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday) only materialised after extensive reading on the risks, benefits, concerns, preparations and how to break a fast.  

I really enjoyed fasting – no, I didn’t actually spend it twisting in agony from hunger pangs! It’s an enlightening experience. And that goes for simply reading about fasting too. Intrigued? Here’s some quotes from notable figures throughout history.

After my 24hrs were up, I thought that I might as well go a bit longer for added benefits. I ended up fasting for over 38hrs.

I don't think I could manage to do it every week until I'm 120, though!

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