I’m reading The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner.
I’m always fascinated about these global pockets (Blue Zones) of people who live healthy and productive lives up into their 100’s!
One particular story blows my mind and I’d like to share it with you today.
Stamatis Moraitis immigrated to the USA from Ikaria, Greece post World War II. Ikaria is a small island known for its beauty, sea breezes, and vineyards.
He lived in the US as a painter and by his 50’s had achieved ‘The American Dream’ — he was married with three children, owned a three bedroom/two bath home and a 1951 Chevrolet.
In his early 60’s his breathing became labored even when doing simple tasks and so he went to the doctor. He was diagnosed with lung cancer probably due to the combination of inhaling paint fumes for decades and his three-pack-a-day cigarette habit.
He got a second, third, and forth opinion and all the doctors concluded he had 6-9 months to live.
He began planning his funeral and realized it would cost him $2,000 to be buried in America and only $200 in his home town of Ikaria so he decided to move home with his wife to live out his final days.
After a few weeks of being taken care of by his wife and mom, he started forcing himself out of bed. He attended church and would invite his childhood friends to visit him at home where they enjoyed telling stories and drinking wine.
One day he felt ambitious and decided to plant a vegetable garden. He didn’t expect to live long enough to harvest it but thought it would be a great bounty for his wife and mom to enjoy after he was gone.
Six months came and went and Stamatis didn’t die. He harvested the garden and felt well enough to start cleaning up the family vineyard.
His daily routine was waking up late, working the vineyard until mid-afternoon, eating lunch, and then taking a nap. In the evenings he would drink wine with friends or go to the tavern and play dominos.
The years passed and his health continued to improve. He added a couple more rooms to his home so his children could visit and he also built up the vineyard and started producing 400 gallons of wine per year.
35 years later, he turned 100 years old and was living cancer free. He never sought any treatment, went through chemotherapy, took drugs or had any type of therapy.
All he did was move to Ikaria.
Did you get goose bumps? I just love this story!
In The Blue Zones book there are several common themes among centurions. They…
Stay active and do a lot of walking
Aren’t afraid to do physical work (typically out in nature)
Live simply yet abundantly
Have strong family and community bonds
Eat real food that’s heavy on vegetables (and other locally grown herbs/starches/legumes) and light on meat. They also don’t over-eat
Have a strong sense of purpose
Brush off ‘stress’
Compared to these Blue Zones the ‘American Dream’ doesn’t seem so dreamy. Most Americans…
Live above their means
Eat/drink/smoke/shop to escape
Isolate themselves from true connections
Have abundance and ‘stuff’ overload yet never feel ‘enough’
Work in jobs they dislike to pay for lives that stress them out
Rely on technology to flush toilets, change TV channels, open garage doors, etc
Measure up to 'society' rules
Does this make you mad? Fire you up? It does me!
Living a ‘Blue Zone’ life is an empowering choice! If Stamatis can do it so the hell can we and no, it doesn’t mean we all need to pack our bags and move to Ikaria (although why not?!)
There is something you can do right now, in your current situation, that will make a tremendous impact on your wellbeing — knowing your purpose. And that’s what I’m writing about next week so please stay tuned.