Continued activity into old age. A few glasses of wine a day. Frequent naps. Social interaction. Lots of fresh vegetables.
These are the keys to long life, if folks on the small Greek isle of Ikaria are to believed. The island lifestyle is the subject of a profile in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. You can read it early here: The Island Where People Forget to Die
I bring it up here because so much of the description reminds me of certain parts of Hawaii, which, perhaps not coincidentally, has the longest life expectancy in the U.S.
Here are a few excerpts from the story. First, one of the 99-square-mile island’s few physicians talks about how laid-back people are:
“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.”
But yet, things are changing:
Despite the island’s relative isolation, its tortuous roads and the fierce independence of its inhabitants, the American food culture, among other forces, is beginning to take root in Ikaria. Village markets are now selling potato chips and soda, which in my experience is replacing tea as the drink of choice among younger Ikarians.
Let’s finish on a positive note. Here’s a section that sums it up nicely:
Ask the very old on Ikaria how they managed to live past 90, and they’ll usually talk about the clean air and the wine. Or, as one 101-year-old woman put it to me with a shrug, “We just forget to die.”
It’s worth reading the whole thing.
— Michael Levine