How to Live 100 Years

Psst, today is Beyond Rules Day! Go to Amazon and grab a free copy of my first book! (Details at the bottom of this post.)

Here’s the story of a lung cancer patient who was given six months to live and decided to go to his native Greek island to die:

Six months came and went. Moraitis didn’t die. Instead, he reaped his garden and, feeling emboldened, cleaned up the family vineyard as well. Easing himself into the island routine, he woke up when he felt like it, worked in the vineyards until midafternoon, made himself lunch and then took a long nap. In the evenings, he often walked to the local tavern, where he played dominoes past midnight. The years passed.

It’s a great story, and a beautifully written article. You really should read it, as it will warm your heart. But as a public service in these busy times, here’s an executive summary on how to live a hundred years:

  • Transfer a bunch of communists and radicals to a remote island. (Be sure to add plenty of friendly anarchists!)
  • Smoke as you please, but stop sometime before your 80th birthday.
  • Have a couple of glasses of wine a day.
  • Then, have another 1 or 2.
  • Have fresh, unprocessed, local produce.
  • And plenty of fish.
  • Some meat, but don’t exaggerate.
  • Have two or three cups of coffee, plenty of herbal teas, …
  • …and loads of olive oil.
  • Have it all slowly, and with good company and enjoyable conversation.
  • Take naps. Lots of them. Don’t go to bed too early, but feel free to sleep in. (Wake naturally!)
  • Meet people to chat every single day.
  • Have sex. Regularly. And don’t stop just because you’re older than 70 years!
  • Stay active, keep doing things: Work in the garden, keep your friendships and your hobbies alive. If you’re enjoying life, why the fuck retire and spend your day sitting in a chair?
  • Don’t wear a watch.1
  • Don’t care about money. Make your community an ‘us’ place!2
  • Be self-sufficient. Don’t just have one job, but learn to work in different areas. Learn to manage your life. The real things, you know, not just the bureaucracy.
  • Accept less privacy. Thea Parikos, a guesthouse owner, says: “When everyone knows everyone else’s business, you get a feeling of connection and security.”
  • Give meaning to your life.

If you do all this, you might just forget to die.

Today is Beyond Rules Day, the 2nd anniversary of the release of my first book, Beyond Rules. In order to celebrate, please go to Amazon.com and download a free copy (offer valid until Sunday, March 17, 23:59pm PST). If you enjoy it, you would become a favorite person of mine by leaving a positive review.

Alternative download links:

  1. Here’s what Dr. Ilias Leriadis says, one of Ikaria’s few physicians: “Have you noticed that no one wears a watch here? No clock is working correctly. When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.” []
  2. Quoting Dr. Leriadis again: “For the many religious and cultural holidays, people pool their money and buy food and wine. If there is money left over, they give it to the poor. It’s not a ‘me’ place. It’s an ‘us’ place.” []

Comments 8

  1. jean March 15, 2013

    Like my husband’s grandmother once said, “Life’s too short to live somewhere you don’t like.”

    • Fabian March 15, 2013

      Good point! We might not all need a Greek island, but the right place is definitely of major importance! :)

  2. Paul Forrester March 26, 2013

    Excellent post!

    I would love to heed all that advice. Unfortunately, it’s a sad indictment of me and/or society that trying to make the most efficient use of time to ‘achieve’ something now feels like the norm. As a result, contemplating the ‘immortal’ lifestyle you describe here truly seems like an impossible dream!

    • Fabian April 7, 2013

      Hey Paul, thanks a lot for your comment! I think you’re touching a similar issue as Joseph did, so my answer to him is valid here, too, I guess. The way I see it, we are free to mold this advice to our own situation: Even if we don’t end up living a hundred years, the years we WILL live will most certainly be much more enjoyable! :)

  3. Joseph Ratliff March 30, 2013

    Fabian,

    And… every one of us is closer now to being able to do this than we think. Money isn’t an object in most cases, we have the ability to work from wherever we want because of tools like the Internet and laptops etc…, and travel isn’t an object like it was 150 years ago.

    But, what you describe here takes us out of our comfort zone… way out… because of the mass-advertising and mass-produced life we’ve become accustomed to, created by the now-large companies.

    Will we break the bonds that hold our roots to the ground here, where we are?

    Or will we choose to stay comfortable until we’re 72 (or less)?

    Sadly, I’m still here… and I must say, it’s frustrating.

    • Fabian April 7, 2013

      Hey Joseph! You’re right about our comfort holding us in the lifestyle we live, whichever it may be. But: Is this even real comfort? Or is it just what’s getting advertised as comfort? I’m thinking about the time I spent with farmers and indigenous people in Latin America: They didn’t have a lot of “comfort” in our sense of the world. Yet they all seemed quite comfortable.

      Is it possible to recreate this kind of “alternative” comfort in our world?
      I mean, the solution couldn’t possibly be that we all move to remote Greek islands, could it?

      I think the switch that we do need to make isn’t an external one. It doesn’t require any specific externalities. It’s an internal switch that we an do anywhere we might be, and a switch that is contagious. The more I’m heading into a “different” way of life, the more I notice how people around me start to look differently at the world, too.

      In the end, the communities and alternative comfort zones are things that we can create just where we are.

      And that’s a great thing, isn’t it?

      • Joseph Ratliff April 7, 2013

        “Is this even real comfort? Or is it just what’s getting advertised as comfort?”

        You hit the nail on the head with your questions right here Fabian. We have an “illusion” we’re dealing with… what WE think is comfortable.

        It sure is easier to fall for the “illusion” than it is to create our own Greek island. :)

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