Route 66 vacation photo

Life is inspiring. In The Power of 5, I used the word Sex as one of the five “S’s” associated with longevity and remaining youthful. There is no doubt in my mind it has its place. As I address different audiences, I find different ways of expressing the concept of Sex; such as intimacy, socialization and connections that conform to this component of the Power of 5 formula. I know people want to hear about the value of connections as being a major component in improving health and longevity.

This summer, my wife and I traveled to the southwest. We drove a significant portion of what had been Route 66. We visited towns in California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. On our driving days, we spent about five hours in the car together. The time enabled us to connect with each other and communicate about all sorts of subjects. We talked about almost everything: science, politics, the weather, our home, our kids, and friends. These conversations were intimate.

The Importance of Connecting with Others

Since my retirement, I’ve had more time to contemplate the subject of connections. Traveling and exploring this beautiful country gave me even more time to think about how we connect with others. I have observed different ways in which connections make a difference in the world.

During our trip, we stopped and hiked around Walnut Canyon National Park in Arizona. The cliff dwellings of the Sinagua Indians, who during the 12th to 13th centuries constructed cave-dwellings along the steep well-protected ledges, high above the canyon floor, building in alcoves in the sandstone walls of a deep, wooded canyon near Flagstaff.

We had a bright sunny day with low humidity and fresh clean air when we embarked on a short hike to see the site of the cliff dwelling tribes. It became clear that more than one thousand years ago, this indigenous tribe lived in a tight-knit community. The homes were interconnected, the community was self-sufficient, and each member had specific tasks. Families were also interconnected and relied on each other for survival. The connections were tight.

Interconnectedness is Everywhere

While I gazed at the caves, I considered the wildlife in the forest surrounding the village. I have learned new and interesting facts about the biology of plants, trees and fungi. They are connected too. Beneath the soil there is a complex network of connections and sharing of nutrients. Trees, plants and fungi need connections to communicate and survive. So it is not just humans that need connections for longevity and youthfulness but our surrounding ecosystem relies on connections as well.

When I contemplate the connections that I observed, there is a realization that the connections are vital to the survival of our planet. Within human connections, there is intimate communication. Drilling down further, part of that communication is the expression of gratitude.

Expressing Gratitude for Connections

In the autumn and winter seasons, we can look back to the evolution of Thanksgiving. Early settlers were on the verge of starvation and via the connection to the surrounding indigenous tribal communities, their survival was assured. We celebrate Thanksgiving to express our gratitude for food and resources that helped our earlier settlers, but we should not overlook the connection we had with the native community. They helped save our hides. It is best for us to remember to express our gratitude toward others at this time of year.

As this season begins, I will remind my readers; it is never too early and never too late to connect, socialize and express your gratitude toward others. It is good for any relationship and beneficial for your own longevity and youthfulness.

To a Long and Healthy Life,
David Bernstein, M.D.

P.S. Remember to follow Melissa in the Power of 5 Test Kitchen and join in the happenings!

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