Few years back when my grand mom at an age of 81 was admitted to the hospital for the first time, I remember the nurse was shocked to know that she did not have any dentures and her teeth were all intact. It is a shame that at less than half her age I have had two root canals and wisdom teeth extraction. Her medical reports, touchwood, are better looking than mine still. Though I am very proud of the fact how well she has taken care of herself, but it also keeps me thinking why the generation of our grandparents was healthier and may be happier than ours.
Every day, I hear about new diseases and more and more cases of the ones I had heard of. Yes, I do agree that medical sciences have developed by leaps and bounds but I feel humans are the same, so why are we falling ill in such large numbers. The so called old people trust me are fitter and more energetic than we are at our age. Have you ever noticed how our generation is living an extremely monotonous life and are just dragging ourselves to work? There is no doubt, that our grandparents’ generation had less tension, fewer health problems and definitely more self-satisfaction.
Here are some reasons why I think they were fitter and happier than us:
A Simple Life
The main reason I feel why they were happier and healthier was because they led a simple life where there was no internet. If they want out for a walk, it meant they were walking. How many times do you check your mails and WhatsApp while walking with your friend or partner? We cannot live without instant messaging and emails. Trust me, even if this is convenient this adds to our stress. Stress because we expect instant replies and also because we want to attend to it at the earliest. We think replying to that mail as soon as we get it is more important than playing with our children or as I just said complete our walk. Our grandparents lived in a world of snail mail and they could reply to it at their convenience.
Healthy Food Habits
That generation ate real food; food free from preservatives, artificial sweeteners and genetically modified food. These foods did not exist in those times and they ate what was seasonal and available in the area they lived in. They did not have the luxury to eat apples in summers and watermelons in winters. Food was seasonal and grown in the right way with less pesticides making it healthy and more nutritious.
They Did Not Diet
Does your grandmother know the Keto diet or have you ever seen her counting calories? They did not focus on who ate what and how much as the idea was to focus on the quality of food. Paranthas and puris were made everyday and there was no problem unlike our generation when these are more of luxury items. They had the regular food in the right proportions and were consistent about it. Also, they preferred to eat home cooked food and this ensured that the right ingredients were used. We eat junk food and have no clue what goes into it, and once our health parameters or weight goes off track, we look for diets.
I don’t know about yours but my grand mom has never owned any gym wear and does not even know what Pilates and Zumba are. They were active doing their daily jobs as they had to look after the house and did not have a fleet of maids and servants doing their daily chores. Our grandparents did not sit on a desk all day looking at a screen. They had no televisions and entertainment meant to go meet people. Please note what I said, ‘go and meet people’. They would most of the times walk to their friends and relatives and meet them. This made them physically and socially active. Many times, weeks pass when we do not meet friends and this does have an impact on our health.
As I said earlier too, our grandparents lived in a world free of the internet. They would meet people personally and talk and laugh. This made them happier. Spending time with family and friends is always good for the body and mind. Trust me, they did not have the social media then but they were far more social than us. They were more connected with people around them than we are. This gave them more chances for laughter, fun and happiness making them happier and healthier.
We are continuously working towards buying the latest phone in town or the next expensive car we can afford or another luxury brand handbag. We are spoilt for choices and we like it or not we all live in a materialistic world. Options were less in those times and so were expectations from life. Small things could give them happiness. They lived a tougher life than all of us can even imagine but they knew how to appreciate the simple pleasures of life and be positive and move on.
Our grandparents lived in a healthier environment which had less pollution. They led a more disciplined life. They ate on time and slept on time. Their immunity was better as they inhaled fresh air. They had less distractions and they focused on work and family.
Times were different and so was life. I am not saying that we can live a simple life like theirs but all I am saying we can try and simplify things around us. All we need to do is sometimes slow down and enjoy the small joys life has to offer us. It is all about the choices we make!!! As Marjorie Pay Hinckley said, “The trick is to enjoy life, don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead.’’