Inspired by the Blue Zones

Dan Buettner’s “Blue Zones” is a book I’ve read and re-read, and I will probably read again one day. Though I do not always agree with the conclusions in his book, I like reading the findings from his travels to the Blue Zones. I like the fact that there are a few places on Earth where some people still know how to live a long life; and they probably don’t even do it on purpose. I also like the fact that somebody has been there to check what people are doing to live for so long and I am happy that the result is not some “magic pill”-type answer. It’s a combination of things: an answer very much to my taste.

But what I like best about it is that it proves that a blue zone can be created, and I think this should be the most powerful message. Yes, one of the purposes of the book is to give people tips on how to live longer and better, but creating a blue zone is a different thing. This has happened with the Loma Linda blue zone. For those who don’t know this, Loma Linda is an Adventist town in California. It is the only blue zone that does not showcase a traditional way of living that has lasted throughout the centuries or more. No. It is a fairly recent invention, it is very artificial, and I mean this in a good way, and yet it has proven to be powerful enough to make a whole community live longer; much, much longer than the rest of the country and some parts of the world.

To be completely honest, Holy Cake Day is somewhat inspired by Loma Linda, and in particular its Sabbath day. Many cultures have this in one form or another, but few keep it so strictly. Also, this is a very religious thing, and very much pertaining to a particular religion. So what I wanted, as a non-religious person, was to use that in a way that anyone can adopt. No matter what you believe in, surely you can get behind having a day to unwind and spend with your friends and family? I also like their practice of leaving technology aside and reconnecting with nature. For me, that has nothing to do with creation, but with belonging. Like I said elsewhere, we are very much the product of nature and part of it; it wouldn’t hurt to try to stay in touch with our roots.

My hope was to have a day when anyone, no matter what they believe in, can participate and celebrate. We celebrate life, nature, the people in our lives, and not cake or a particular kind of belief. We all have something in common, why not focus on that, rather than our differences?

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