Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blue Zones- a THING of the PAST

Blue Zone here, Blue Zone there- by now I'm sure many of you know about the ‘Blue Zone’ located on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

Blue Zones in general have been a popular subject in the media for quite some time now, making the rounds on Oprah, Anderson Cooper 360, The Today Show and many others.

I have also added my perspective on Blue Zones and the 'Blue Zones' in Costa Rica in particular: Blue Zone Bandwagon and the Other Blue Zone in Costa Rica- La Fortuna.

It almost appears as if the entire country of Costa Rica is becoming a Blue Zone. This REPORT came out a few weeks ago:

In 2000, the number of Costa Ricans over the age of 100 was just 231, now, nine years later, the number is 931, according to the demographics report by the Centro Centroamericano de Población (CCP). The report indicates a tremendous growth in those aged over 100 since the CCP began keeping track of the Centenarians in Costa Rica. And if the growth continues at the same rate, the CCP estimates that there will be some 8.000 Centenarians by the year 2050 in Costa Rica... In addition, 68% of those reaching the age of 65 are expected to live well into their 80's. Just 40 years ago, only 49% of Costa Ricans who celebrated their 65th birthday could aspire to reach 80.

In a country of only 4 million, this is saying something. In the article they don’t really mention any particular region, or ‘Blue Zone’, such as the much talked about Nicoya Peninsula so I can only surmise they’re talking about the country in general.

In the United States we have millions of 'BLUE ZONES', but we call them couches.

To me, Blue Zone is just another way of saying, ‘simple life’. If you look at the supposed Blue Zones located around the world: Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, and even the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California and of course the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica (currently the ‘father’ of Blue Zones, Dan Buettner, is preparing for an expedition to the island of Ikaria, Greece, where he hopes he will discover the fifth "and possibly last" Blue Zone in the world. The expedition will take place between April 20th and May 1st, 2009 according to the WIKI people), it doesn’t take much to see it’s all about living the ‘simple life’, that is: eat well, work with a purpose (Blue Zone people don’t really retire per se), have some sense of spirituality, a strong presence of family and friends, and don’t smoke. I ask you, is this Rocket Science?

It was said that David once lived the Blue Zone mentality, that is until he discovered MySpace.

I’ll try not to oversimplify, but in my opinion, the reason for the ‘jump’ in Centenarians in Costa Rica is really quite simple- combine the ‘Blue Zone’ mentality, aka simple life, with the advances in modern medicine- that’s it.

My theory is this: once Costa Rica ‘CROSSES’ over and becomes more like the States, that is lose their 'Pura Vida' attitude and replace it with MORE exposure to materialistic thinking such as the NEED to be entertained, the NEED to consume, the NEED for BIGGER and BETTER and the misconception that something BETTER is out there and needs to be pursued, and of course the NEED to have conveniences close at hand- conveniences meaning fast food, electronic gadgets, computers, Wal Marts and the like, and anything else that supposedly ‘saves time’ in order to have even MORE time to pursue ‘happiness’ as defined by the mass media.

I don’ want to be pessimistic, but the writing is on the WALL, in BIG FUCKIN LETTERS. With the information highway such as it is, I believe it’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE not to be exposed to a perceived BETTER way of living. Information is one click away, chatting with someone in China- one click away- TWITTER, FaceBook, Hi5, MySpace… the innocence of Pura Vida just can’t compete with the sense of wanting to feel connected- with the WORLD no less. Virtually anything that is POSSIBLE- is literally ONE CLICK AWAY. The Costa Rican 20-somethings won’t aspire to live as long as their grandfathers, eating gallo pinto and milking the cows until they're 120-years old, but opt for a LIFE of ‘BLING’… because that is the 'mass mentality' thinking perpetuated by the media, and unlike their grandfathers before them, they will know NO other way of living (or thinking for that matter)- and one can’t expect they won’t be severely affected. Their ‘Blue Zone’ will be anywhere their computer happens to be.

I fear Costa Rica is going to LOSE its innocence. The Blue Zone mentality here has been going on for generations, unfortunately the internet will overtake the young people and within 15 years or so they’ll begin to become fat, lazy, arrogant, irresponsible whiners and complainers pursuing the almighty dollar- you know, like the rest of us.

Enjoy the BLUE ZONES while you can, because soon, a Blue Zone will be defined by someone’s house on a remote island in the South Pacific. That is, until Dan Buettner catches wind of it.

Don’t let Dan Buettner know you’ve discovered a Blue Zone.

Hey Everyone, we got TONS of Costa Rica Travel Information in our Travel Guide at Travel Costa Rica NOW and don't FORGET all our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos, completely ORGANIZED so you can EASILY find what you're LOOKING for. ENjOY!