Recently I read about an island in Greece where people live a very long time. The elderly are revered and everyone cares about one another. No one is hungry as neighbors ensure that food is shared. Gardens are plentiful as well as livestock and residents understand the importance of seasonal eating as well as social interactions during meals. There is very little technology and there is an attitude of live and let live. Ikaria has been designated by National Geographic as a “blue zone” where people live unusually long lives. Naturally, tourist are ready to or have flocked there out of curiosity and in hopes of getting in on the longevity factor. There is not an x-box, iPhone, or any other techno device vying for intimate attentions. It appears this little village has it right. Health wise, there is minimal hypertension or cancer and retirement at a certain age is virtually unheard of. Friends carry a great deal of importance and time is taken nurturing valuable relationships.
One might think with all the technology and ease of communication we have in our modern US society, we would be further along in relationships, health, education and the likes but it appears we have become the land of the sick and busy. We are too busy to sit for a meal, too busy to have tea with a friend, too busy to take a nap, too busy to read a book, just too busy. Everything has to be quick and fast. Instead of technology making our lives easier, we have become slaves answering every buzz, zing or bell in order to stay in the loop. Our health is deteriorating and our kids are fat. Sitting in front of an X-box or computer all day tends to lead to stagnation and obesity not to mention our packaged and processed foods that have become a mainstay of many American homes. We are fat and lazy and we don’t have enough time. We are choosing our fast paced lifestyles all the time making a host of excuses. We say we cannot afford organic and healthy foods all the while filling our shopping carts with food unfit for human consumption. We say lack of time leads us to fast food not understanding in the big scheme of things poor health will cause us larger problems. Many of us have equated our jobs or our work with a torture to be over on Friday afternoons. We sit and wait until the day we can retire no longer having to toil at the daily grind. What has happened to a love of what we do? A passion for our life long work? It makes much sense if we loved what we did or took pride in what we did why would one want to “retire?”
We all have free will and make choices for ourselves concerning our lives. We are the ultimate ones responsible. We claim that a fast paced existence is necessary to get ahead, to provide for our children. We claim that excess toys and games are expected for our children. We think if we don’t have a big house or a fancy car, we have failed. We have the ability to reassess. We can pay attention to our relationships, our environments, our health, our food and our time. We can refuse to ride the merry go round of chaos and bring peace into our world. It is an individual choice.