Living Life in the Fast Lane, a song by the renowned group, Eagles, describes the youth today to the T. Life is a rat race for them it seems. It starts as early as kindergarten, when they race to get admission into the best schools. And then it is a race for the best colleges. Before they can blink an eye, they are rushing for post graduation, followed by trying to land the best jobs. Even while writing the first few lines, I realise I held my breath. And believe me, when I say that’s what the youth today does. They hold their breath awaiting that fantastic future. While they are running from pillar to post, and hold their breath, and try to obtain a golden Morrow, they lose out on the most important factor in one’s life, Health.
New Age Of Middle Age – Why so early?
Middle age has been defined as the period of age beyond young adulthood but before the onset of old age ( Wikipedia). Today, the US Census lists middle age as 35. India is not far behind. So the question does come to mind as to what middle age signifies. It is loss of youth, in other words, loss of health. The lifestyle today is hectic, where everyone is competing with the other. They do not have the time to do simple things like breathing in fresh air and enjoying the small things in life. They are busy.
As a result, they fail to take care of the intake of food, or exercise. Diseases like Diabetes, which in the earlier days, attacked the old, are now striking the younger generation. The reason being fast food, too much intake of sugar and a sedentary lifestyle. Clubbing, partying and as a result, smoking and drinking is causing cancer in these young people. The YOLO ( You Only Live Once) effect is surely taking its toll. As if this were not enough, the present day environmental conditions are also hampering the health of youth and speeding the process of aging. The use of pesticides on crops and the increase in pollution levels are contributing towards the increase in young cancer patients. In fact today Cancer has become a very common disease.
Healthy Way Of Life – A Dream Now
Two decades back,the generation, which led a healthy life, had a life span of 80 years. Healthy for them constituted a balanced diet including oil and clarified butter. If observed it can be seen that every region in India uses a specific kind of cooking oil. In Maharashtra it is Peanut oil, in the East and up North it is Mustard Oil, and down south it is Sesame (Til) oil or Coconut Oil. Our forefathers used these specific oils for scientific reasons which were beneficial to health.
The previous generation also maintained their routine, which included both work and rest and did not fall prey to too many bad habits. They were physically more active, as they did not have electronic items like washing machines or dish washers. In fact, to do simple things like changing a channel or to answer a phone, they had to walk a few steps because they did not have remotes or mobile phones. And every step does matter.
But now, the story is completely different. One can see young people in India going in for Olive Oil and Broccoli when they are cooking at home, but when in workplace, they just grab whatever comes to hand. They do not have a routine because of the pressure at work and as such follow erratic hours for both working and eating. In fact it can be seen that young people today make do with as less as 5 hours of sleep, whereas the human body requires a minimum of 7 hours of undisturbed sleep. This does not help them much in maintaining a healthy body. Thus, one finds youngsters at the age of 35 with lost skin elasticity and greying hair. The stress at work is enough to cause any one heart ailments. And the youngsters today, under such tremendous stress, are falling victim to heart ailments.
I & T Also A Major Factor
Arthritis, heart problem, diabetes, obesity and so on. These are the diseases that one connected with old age. But today, these diseases are striking the young. Another major factor which is causing the youth to continue to be sick is the factor of Information and technology. How? Well, most of them fail to go to a doctor at the first symptom of some problem and end up self medicating themselves through information from the internet. The radiation from the electronic items like Mobile phones and lap tops is also not helping much.
There is a quote which says, “Living means doing things that please the heart and soul”. While earning a living means to do more mundane things to earn a livelihood. The youth today should understand this and apart from earning a living, should also Live. One should learn to stop, breathe and tell oneself that apart from being a part of that rat race, one should also live a life to satisfy one’s inner most needs, which will make one happy. It is not easy. When every one else is busy going that extra length to do better, it is difficult for one to stop and say enough is enough. It is important for the youth today to realise that no amount of wealth and success can replace lost health. After all, in the words of the Gen Next , YOU LIVE ONLY ONCE.