You’ll remember Icarus from Greek mythology, right? To refresh your memory, he was the bloke who had wings made of wax and despite being warned not to do so, he flew too close to the sun. The result, naturally, was that his wax wings melted and he fell into the Aegean and was drowned.
Legend has it that his fateful fall took place near the island of Icaria, so-named after Icarus of course. (An alternative spelling is Ikaria).
The island enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate and one of its major products is a robust red wine – these two facts combined make it just about the ideal place but the island has another curious attraction. That is the longevity of its residents. It’s not at all unusual to find nonagenarians and even centenarians living on the island and not just living – many people of advanced age are still working. Retirement is hardly an option in Icaria.
True, residents might retire from their first careers but then embark on another. It may be a little less taxing but not necessarily.
Experts have studied this phenomenon to attempt to understand why so many of the population are able to celebrate their 90th birthday – and many more for years to come. The only conclusion that they can come up with is the diet and the lifestyle of islanders is what contributes to their long and healthy lives.
In recent studies though they have also included another factor. The residents of Icaria live a very community-based lifestyle. Neighbours matter. The family is important. Some elderly residents have another explanation too – they do not live in a greedy, consumerist society. They do not have the sort of lifestyle where they envy people who have more than they do. They are content with their lot.
Personally, I’d also attribute their long lives to that aforementioned robust local red wine!
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.