At my Zen group meeting thingy last night, the guiding teacher shared with us a story. Actually, it's more of a profound something someone said, but the setting is kinda important.
You see, there was this lady who worked with disabled children. What she did we might call "theater therapy." She would give them acting projects including, but not limited to, "act like someone who is abled." At one of her classes, she explained to the children that eventually, everyone becomes disabled. Everyone grows old. Everyone's body becomes weak and frail. Everyone's mind slips. Everyone will likely suffer heart attack, stroke, dementia, or Alzheimer's. It's just that some people get to spend some of their time being abled.
This got me thinking. Those of us who are lucky enough to be abled, should be spending our times of ability preparing for our times of disability. Since we start from a point and degrade from there, wouldn't it be in our best interests to make that point as high as possible? To keep our bodies from getting too weak, shouldn't we make ourselves as strong as possible? To keep our minds from going too dull, shouldn't we sharpen them as much as possible? And shouldn't we take away those things which bring about old age quickly?
Here's my though. We all know that when we have the ability to make money, we should put away from when we no longer can. Stowing away, say, 10% of our salary is just common sense. Well, what if we did the same with our time? What if we resolve to put away 10% of our time to save up for disability? This means that 2.4 hours of everyday would be devoted to strengthening our minds, bodies and spirits.
So let's break this down. First, let's do those things which help us generally. You know, they kinda help us with mind, body and spirit. Let's get enough sleep. How much sleep we need differs from person to person, so let's just say seven hours. When you lay down, set your alarm for seven hours later. Need to get up at 5:00 am? Well, perhaps you should get to bed by 10:00. Yeah, maybe it means you have to say "no" to Tuesday Night Happy Hour. But that's the sacrifice you have to make! I mean, we elect not to buy that new tv because we need to save, right? Have problems sleeping? My guess is that you 2.4 hours spent on yourself will put you to sleep faster than any medication.
Now let's look at our bodies.
Ick, right? Well put that aside. Let's see what we can do to take care of it. We all know that we need to eat right. So do it. But not every meal. That's crazy! Let's shoot for 80%. This means that out of five meals, one ain't so good. You can handle that, right? Of course the ideal would be to get all of the fiber and nutrients we need and you can look all that up. Do this for the four good meals.
Now we start chipping away at our 2.4 hours, or 144 minutes. We all know that we need to do ninety minutes of cardio every week, right? Didn't know that? Well now you do. You should also do sixty minutes of weight training. So that's five days, thirty minutes. Also, we should walk thirty minutes on top of that, every day. This thirty can be broken up throughout the day, say during your two fifteen minute breaks you get at work. For the days you don't do cardio or weight training, walk a little bit more. Clean your house. Whatever it is, just be active for that thirty minutes.
So we've already spent 60 minutes leaving us with 84.
Let's move to spirit. I know I know. What the hell? Spirit? Yes. Studies have shown that people who engage in spiritual activities live longer. Why? Because of the stress reduction, the 1 ager (well, besides time). Now I'm not recommending that you go to church every day. That's silly. Besides, "spirit" and "religion" are NOT the same thing. What I suggest is that you meditate or do yoga. Not sure how? Buy a guided meditation CD or join a yoga class. But you really should do this everyday. I'd go 30-60 minutes. Granted, you won't be able to do that right away, so ease into it.
Okay, now comes the mind. It's been proven that active minds stave off the affects of Alzheimer's and dementia. So whatever time you have left (I have 24 minutes), dedicate to mental activity. Learn a new language! Play Sudoko. Do lateral thinking exercises. And if you are like me, you can do this, oh say, during a commute or on the toilet.
So there you go! You just came up with a budget to help you save for retirement! With this simple plan you should be able to lesson the effects life has on us.