ATTENTION EVERYONE!! Put down your hot chocolate immediately! Drink tea, instead! Cancel that pizza order! Fill up your wine glasses! Throw out your alarm clocks and snuggle in for your daily siesta.
Apparently that’s what the local people of Ikaria are doing… and they are living to be centenarians (which is a really different thing from a CENTAUR which is how I originally read it. A centaur is a half horse half man whereas a centenarian is someone who lives to be 100+, like I said VERY, VERY different things). On The Island Where People Forget to Die they live simple lives…staying and waking up late, taking daily naps, drinking lots of local tea, eating food from their gardens, drinking lots of wine and socializing every day with their community.
Now if you’re me and you paid zero attention to geography in middle school you have no idea where Ikaria is. It’s in Greece, for the record.
Might make you want to hop in a plane and move to Ikaria right? Not so fast. This article goes into a little bit of detail, but the author does speculate that one of the differences between lifespans of Americans and Ikarians could be caused by the sense of community. Over the summer I read The Geography of Bliss which was about a similar topic: where are the happiest people on Earth? Now you might think the happiest people and the longest living people would be one in the same. Sadly, no one can really tell for certain. But one thing does seem certain…both Eric Weiner and Dan Buettner seem to think that the happiest lives and the longest lives have something to do with socialization.
So all of you out there who are living in tiny little rooms like me breathe a collective sigh of relief because even if we can’t sing or laugh or cry without our roommates hearing maybe that’s what’s going to keep us alive just a little bit longer. Well, either that or the naps.
Sounds like retirement to me, Mollie! Love, G’ma
This is a great post, thanks for sharing! I love all of the resources you share as well, so I would like to pass along one to you: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html . It’s the author of the NYT article you cited talking about some more research findings across different groups of centenarians. Some other research findings you may be interested in learning as well is that by defying and not believing in our society’s negative stereotypes about aging (for example, all old people are frail or sad) you may actually improve your health as you age. Also, besides being social, staying physically active, as well as keeping your brain active, has also been shown to improve older adults’ memories and physical well-being. Another way to improve your health as you age is by reducing your stress and anxiety, and increasing your sense of control. All of these things can help you live a longer, healthier, and happier life! Though you appear to me to be on the right track. I hope others read your post and find it as informative and inspiring as I did.
Thanks so much for your comment! I’ve actually been justifying all of my recent naps by these people living so long, I always feel guilty about napping but not anymore! Guess we’ll just have to live by the saying… you aren’t getting older you’re getting better!