It’s Not A ‘Me’ Place. It’s An ‘Us’ Place.”
I leave you on this last “real” summer Friday with this story about a Greek island where people live to at least 100 and you can go and just cure yourself of cancer. Sounds pretty unbelievable . . . but its true. I could see how its possible after reviewing the lifestyle (see and excerpt below). One of the inhabitants was quoted saying that, “It’s not a ‘me’ place. It’s an ‘us’ place.” Sounds so . . . comforting.
If you pay careful attention to the way Ikarians have lived their lives, it appears that a dozen subtly powerful, mutually enhancing and pervasive factors are at work. It’s easy to get enough rest if no one else wakes up early and the village goes dead during afternoon naptime. It helps that the cheapest, most accessible foods are also the most healthful — and that your ancestors have spent centuries developing ways to make them taste good. It’s hard to get through the day in Ikaria without walking up 20 hills. You’re not likely to ever feel the existential pain of not belonging or even the simple stress of arriving late. Your community makes sure you’ll always have something to eat, but peer pressure will get you to contribute something too. You’re going to grow a garden, because that’s what your parents did, and that’s what your neighbors are doing. You’re less likely to be a victim of crime because everyone at once is a busybody and feels as if he’s being watched. At day’s end, you’ll share a cup of the seasonal herbal tea with your neighbor because that’s what he’s serving. Several glasses of wine may follow the tea, but you’ll drink them in the company of good friends. On Sunday, you’ll attend church, and you’ll fast before Orthodox feast days. Even if you’re antisocial, you’ll never be entirely alone. Your neighbors will cajole you out of your house for the village festival to eat your portion of goat meat.
I’m off to an island myself this weekend . . . Jamestown (our typical summer weekend getaway). I also think of it as an “us” place as I’ve only really been there with Mike. He was lucky enough to grow up there and our child will be lucky enough to one day think of it as a home away from home. It sounds completely opposite of Ikaria as everyone is up at the butt crack of dawn enjoying the calm ocean in the morning that is perfect for paddle boarding, or the tree-covered, hilly roads that are perfect for long bike rides or the winds that are always “just right” for sailing. There is too much fun to be had to take any kind of day-snooze. I don’t really see many gardens, but there is a farm stand on Saturday’s in the town square. There really isn’t “cheap” food but there is damn good food like Slice of Heaven‘s breakfast burritos (that I MUST have at least one time during the weekend). I never really talk to the neighbors but we do spend a lot of time with friends drinking wine (when not creating a child).
One of our friends sent this picture of Mike and I that he took a few weekends ago and forgot was on his phone. When I look at it, it instantly calms me.
I am wearing a bathing suit and cover up, don’t have my Blackberry in my hand . . . I have flip flops on my feet, my hair is out of my face and my skin is tanned from spending the day in the sun on a boat with friends . . . and with my favorite person in the world . . . who is always making me laugh.
I may not live until 100, and that’s okay, as long as my life is filled with many moments such as this one.