12 Age-Less Paleo Insights Excavated From Half a Century of Living

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Last week it was my birthday. I entered my fiftieth year. Unbelievable.

At 4am, on February 27th, 1964, a scraggy baby girl (that would be me), barely six pounds, was born at home. She was difficult, obstinate and obtuse and demonstrated her character by refusing to breathe until the midwife sucked out her airway with a straw.

Since then, and like most who have spent nearly half a century on this earth, my life has taken twists and turns, experienced dips and bumps, sailed, sometimes sagged, through calm and craziness among much happiness and occasional sadness.

And I want to say a few things, things that sometimes we forget as we rush through our lives planning our meals, logging our foods, and wondering if chia seeds are, in fact, paleo…

A bird’s eye view of paleo life

As I view paleo life from a position where there are fewer people older than me than younger than me in life (that was some realization, I can tell you), and especially in paleo, these things I want to say are important. I am possibly the oldest female blogger in Paleo Town, someone who appreciates the slight blurriness when she looks in the mirror, who still finds it hard to reconcile that there are actually people in important and powerful positions who were born in the seventies(!) and who has no tattoos (although my ears got pierced plenty back in the 1980’s). These are things I know to be true.

Please share this post because the older perspective is often under-represented in our paleo world.

1. You will die. Hopefully you’ll get old first, but maybe not. One thing is certain: you will not be here for ever. You may not have plenty of time. And even if you do, you will never get your time back once it is gone. So don’t waste it. Don’t put things off. Start now.

2. Do things that are important. Life must be fun and if it isn’t fun, because it never is all the time, make it worthwhile. If you don’t believe in what you are doing, change what you are doing.

3. Don’t get sick. Once you get involved with doctors, it’s a slippery slope. Head them off at the pass by taking care of your health. And if you’re already sick, or overweight, do everything you can to get well. And fast, before permanent damage is done. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have much at all because of health’s capacity to affect every single thing in your life. So make health a priority over everything else. And don’t ignore injuries.

4. You do need to rest at times. I see young people so proud for cramming so much into their lives – intense careers, exercise programs, a pair of kids plus maybe a few more – all at the same time. I know, I know, I was young once. In our culture that kind of busy is lauded. But it is important to understand that while it is tempting to be on the go the whole time, rest and recovery are important. If you ignore downtime, life will catch up with you and force you to slow down. So be in control of the process and build rest and recovery into your life. Don’t take on too much. Middle age is littered with people who did.

5. There is no such thing as failure. There is intelligence, data, information you can use when things don’t turn out as you expect, but you only fail if you give up. Keep on, keepin’ on at whatever it is that is important to you. (And if it isn’t important to you, why are you doing it? See #1 and #2 above)

6. Children only get one shot at childhood. We only have them for a few years, just a fraction of our total lives. Don’t mess up. Don’t be distracted. Don’t be too caught up in your own paleo life. Be healthy in body and mind and pay attention to the children while, at the same time, getting out of their way so they can grow up to independence.

7. Women are not small men. I love men, I’m surrounded by them at home. We complement each other wonderfully but men and women are different. Valuing our female attributes and setting up a paleo life that is in accordance with our own preferences is essential to our health. You can’t simply overlay advice for men onto all women, there are other considerations (like these little things called ‘ormones). More than once I’ve seen paleo men say that because they can do X, women should be able to do X. It’s not that simple. And besides, it’s patronizing.

8. Double up. Triple up, even. Wear enough bra support so that you don’t knock yourself out when you’re running, ladies. Please. 🙂

9. Pregnancies are precious. When you made the decision to create another human being (how awesome is that?), you made a deal, whether you realized it or not, to lose control over your body for a while. Don’t worry about body changes, 95% of them are reversible or repairable. Focus on nourishing your body and allow it to do it’s thing. One thing I know without a shadow of a doubt: Pregnancy is a special, special time; you never have your child so completely again. Cherish it for the utter miracle it is.

10. Life changes take time. Months, years, the rest of your life, maybe you’ll never be done because perfection is impossible. I liken the process of lifestyle change to sculpting. We start, however we start – cold turkey or gradually – and often we think by doing that, we’ve made the change, and that’s it. But for most of us, that’s just like throwing down a lump of stone onto a base. It is from there that we carve, hone, smooth and sand, often for years to get it just right. And sometimes we chip off too much, or not enough, and we feel devastated because we not getting ‘there’, wherever ‘there’ is. We must learn that if we keep carefully attending to the details we will reveal our masterpiece, our life, our new paleo life, and that it is the struggle that causes us to make it our own.

Alison Golden Paleo/NonPaleo11. You are not an old crock over the age of 40. Sigh. What a heap of bullshit this is. The way the media plays it with their fawning over celebrities, aged 40+, for being slim, active, and youthful, you’d think the rest of us were a pile of old wrecks, broken down, rusty and destined for the scrap heap. When you’re strong, athletic and eating a healthy diet, many of us feel better at 45 than we did when we were 25 and are able to earn more, play more and support others far more than decades earlier. We need to stop cringing at the thought of our impending milestone birthdays and celebrate them instead. Add the wisdom of ages and good health and you have an unbeatable combination!

12. It’s never too late. Paleo isn’t just for the young. All of us can turn a corner at any time. I didn’t start to change anything much health-wise until I read The Primal Blueprint when I was 46. Oh, I read lots of books and knew I should eat less sugar, drink less caffeine and slow down but I didn’t do it with any degree of consistency. I can’t promise anything but I hope to have many more active years in my life and I have great plans for them. I’m nearly fifty; hear me roar!

What do you think? Is youth, youth and age, age? Or do our older selves have something to say that’s relevant?

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Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

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