Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pack Your Bags

I read a wonderful article over the last few days about an idyllic place. It was even called, The Island Where People Forgot to Die.

The story it told bordered on mythical. A man, born on a Greek island, forced away from home by war, injured in battle, healed by strangers, and drawn to seek his fortune in the land of opportunity, is struck down by incurable disease in the prime of prosperity. Unwilling to burden his family with the expenses of his illness, he returns home to die quietly, but instead, completely untreated, he slowly regains his health until 30 years later, at the age of 90, he lives on, tending his vineyard and playing dominoes with his nonagenerian friends.

Who wouldn't want to know the secret of this island? Scientists have indeed studied it, but their findings have been illusive. Certainly diet plays a role-- most residents eat very locally, the Mediterranean diet by definition. Most are also active, but not on the treadmill or at the gym. Theirs is physical labor of a different sort-- in pursuit of a crop, or up the hill to worship, or down the road for a glass of wine-- all places worth going.

Time, as we mark it here in the most powerful nation on earth, is almost unknown to them. They rise when they wake, they conduct their business, they nap, and then they spend time with their friends and families until they tire.

Although there is no great wealth, there is no poverty either, and the people there reach the age of 90 at a rate 2 1/2 times that we do in America.

Shoot! They had me at no alarm clocks.

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