I watched a tv documentary the other day dedicated to the oldest and fittest people in Greece. It was actually filmed on the island of Ikaria, on the Eastern side of the Aegean, very close to the Turkish shores.
People of over 90 smiled peacefully, some sang and fewer danced before the camera. The common denominators that emerged are: little food locally produced, close family and communal ties, at least a glass of red wine daily and lack of stress. The journalist focused on the latter and the answer was that the vast majority of old people were happy to live within a very small income lived very close to nature and kept age old traditions that provided them with entertainment without costing a lot, with social contact and a safety net against stress and pressures.
The one real example of how these people apply what they preach to real life and impressed me the most was the hand embroidered sign one of the grandmothers had bequeathed to her grandchildren: “This will also pass…” . A message of patience and fortitude, so simple and yet so deep, it teaches us how to resist the disease generating stress and the various unavoidable difficulties of everyday life. A message of hope and survival in today’s crazy world.
(There is a video of one of the smiling old ladies on Mega tv – watch it if you understand Greek – Ola gia tin ygeia mou is the name of the programme)