Sunday, 28 October 2007

Youth Is Wasted On The Young

I need to find me one of these for Halloween

I’m currently sipping my astringent jasmine green tea all warm and cuddled as the winter season starts to settle in. I’ve found meself a clinically neat tea-house to feed my green tea addiction even though the prices are twice that of Aberdeen (bah!). It’s becoming a seasonal habit of mine…dark winter nights means an emo-leaning towards moody classical music and warm pots of green tea...sound and taste being the two senses strongly associated with memory for me (my sense of smell is not as powerful as the other two)…after all, winter time in the UK can get fucking boring when soulful reflection can surprisingly be a major activity, as waking up and coming back from work means hardly being greeted by the DNA destroying rays from our friendly yellow ball of gas in the sky.

Ahhhhh, green tea and no sun – just some of the secrets to my disarmingly youthful appearance. Yes, I genuinely confound people. First, after having long ago shaved my oh-so-cool moustache (on the advice of a girl…err, I concede she was actually right) people now think I am much younger than I am actually…from, “Soooo….what are you studying now?” (uhmmm, I’m waaayyyyy past post-graduate)…to the classic…“Can I see some I.D. please?” (uhmm, not only do I not drink, I often treat these drunk and/or assaulted fuckers much younger than I, thank-you-very-much)…to the extraordinary…“Are you old enough to watch this DVD?” (paying for a copy of “Léon” at the till – one of my all time favourite films I can near quote verbatim)…to being flirted by teenage girls young enough to be my daughters. It’s so Nabokovian. I don’t mind though as people younger than me collapse with acute myocardial infarction and it’s me ending up treating them.

And then I open my mouth and from a few choice words they rapidly realise I’m not fresh out of kindergarten...“Sorry, what does that mean?” (NB to self: desist enunciating archaic iambic pentameters)…

but then I get the second confounding classic, “…that accent…it’s not Scottish…where do you come from…which part of England…it’s so region-less”…to the improbable but already occurring several times, “South Africa? Australia?” (NB to self: WTF??!?).

Nobody guesses correctly I’m from Hong Kong. Not even people from Hong Kong. Not even when I am in Hong Kong. And then their mandibles plunge when this “gweilo” reply in Cantonese. And eyeballs extrude, expand and explode when they hear me colourfully swear in Cantonese.

Then thirdly, the inevitable…“What are you?”…and some inexplicably, for lack of an imagination, settle on something that may just cover it:… ie. ----> “Are you…American?” (Oh the ignominy)

Well, I’m Eurasian if you must know, the next stage in human evolution…

So seriously, how does one go someway in maximising their chances of staying youthful and healthy? Of course where you live and other environmental factors can have a huge impact – poverty, pollution, poor sanitation, crime, ignorance, gamma radiation and inane reality TV shows can really be harmful. But reflecting on my habits the following Ten Commandments is what I actually do and may go some way to explain my Peter Pan appearance:

1) Do NOT smoke.

2) Do NOT consume alcohol.

3) Enjoy life but don’t purposefully spend unnecessary amounts of excessive time in the sun.

4) Plenty of water. Or green tea (heh).

5) Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – there are onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrots, ginger, pulses, cereals, apples, bananas and EXTRA virgin (heh) olive oil and vinegar somewhere in my diet everyday. Oh yes, I eat rice everyday too – potatoes can do as well (I neeeeeed my fuel). Consume lean meat and oily fish. Limit amount of red meat. I allow myself copious amounts of chocolate (gotta treat yourself every once in awhile) but other than that I generally avoid junk food.

(This is not for everyone since for some their genetic make up can’t handle it but I drink lots of whole fat milk (never with green tea) and consume cheeses every bloody day and it’s the high calcium intake that is one of the reasons that keeps me thin. I also eat chillies everyday but that is just a “me” thing of loving spicy food – it’s not for everyone)

6) Hygiene – brush your bloody teeth at least twice a day, wash yourself etc. It’s bloody common sense.

7) Exercise and stretch regularly. Some yoga it or tai-chi it or martial arts it. Whatever works for you. I just walk briskly (I’m %^&*£)£ late for work) at least one hour every day. Occasionally I'm even known to jog. As a bonus, performing salah five times a day, every day actually exercises every joint in the body.

8) Get enough sleep.

9) Be spiritually content (that is totally different and separate from being happy but if you are happy too, then lucky you). Have at least one passion in life (not just mere interest although that is a start!). Exercise, challenge and stimulate the mind mentally with cerebral gymnastics. Be interested in family and people. Love and be loved. Where possible, avoid negative souls who tend to bring out the worst in people. Basically, try to %^&*£)£ minimise stress.

10) The rest is random genetic lottery.

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