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. ((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.”))
- Don’t care about money. Make your community an ‘us’ place! ((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.”))
- 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.
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