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Getting Back in Balance with Life

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Eric "Herbie" Watson, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    The Island Where People Forget to Die
    Andrea Frazzetta/LUZphoto for The New York Times
    Stamatis Moraitis tending his vineyard and olive grove on Ikaria. More Photos »

    Published: October 24, 2012

    In 1943, a Greek war veteran named Stamatis Moraitis came to the United States for treatment of a combat-mangled arm. He’d survived a gunshot wound, escaped to Turkey and eventually talked his way onto the Queen Elizabeth, then serving as a troopship, to cross the Atlantic. Moraitis settled in Port Jefferson, N.Y., an enclave of countrymen from his native island, Ikaria. He quickly landed a job doing manual labor. Later, he moved to Boynton Beach, Fla. Along the way, Moraitis married a Greek-American woman, had three children and bought a three-bedroom house and a 1951 Chevrolet.
    One day in 1976, Moraitis felt short of breath. Climbing stairs was a chore; he had to quit working midday. After X-rays, his doctor concluded that Moraitis had lung cancer. As he recalls, nine other doctors confirmed the diagnosis. They gave him nine months to live. He was in his mid-60s.

    Moraitis considered staying in America and seeking aggressive cancer treatment at a local hospital. That way, he could also be close to his adult children. But he decided instead to return to Ikaria, where he could be buried with his ancestors in a cemetery shaded by oak trees that overlooked the Aegean Sea. He figured a funeral in the United States would cost thousands, a traditional Ikarian one only $200, leaving more of his retirement savings for his wife, Elpiniki. Moraitis and Elpiniki moved in with his elderly parents, into a tiny, whitewashed house on two acres of stepped vineyards near Evdilos, on the north side of Ikaria. At first, he spent his days in bed, as his mother and wife tended to him. He reconnected with his faith. On Sunday mornings, he hobbled up the hill to a tiny Greek Orthodox chapel where his grandfather once served as a priest. When his childhood friends discovered that he had moved back, they started showing up every afternoon. They’d talk for hours, an activity that invariably involved a bottle or two of locally produced wine. I might as well die happy, he thought.

    In the ensuing months, something strange happened. He says he started to feel stronger. One day, feeling ambitious, he planted some vegetables in the garden. He didn’t expect to live to harvest them, but he enjoyed being in the sunshine, breathing the ocean air. Elpiniki could enjoy the fresh vegetables after he was gone.

    Six months came and went. Moraitis didn’t die. Instead, he reaped his garden and, feeling emboldened, cleaned up the family vineyard as well. Easing himself into the island routine, he woke up when he felt like it, worked in the vineyards until midafternoon, made himself lunch and then took a long nap. In the evenings, he often walked to the local tavern, where he played dominoes past midnight. The years passed. His health continued to improve. He added a couple of rooms to his parents’ home so his children could visit. He built up the vineyard until it produced 400 gallons of wine a year. Today, three and a half decades later, he’s 97 years old — according to an official document he disputes; he says he’s 102 — and cancer-free. He never went through chemotherapy, took drugs or sought therapy of any sort. All he did was move home to Ikaria.

    This article is adapted from new material being published in the second edition of “Blue Zones,” by Dan Buettner, out next month from National Geographic.
    G.R., nancy and Forest like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks,Herbie. A real inspiration from a survivor.

    I wish I could move to Ikaria and be his neighbor.

    Some of my best friends are Greek. They live in Michigan but keep
    a small house in Greece and visits relatives there.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  3. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well see Walt. I took the getting back to living part and thought if we could apply those methods then were on to some good stuff.
    Its pretty basic too.
    1) He went back and connected with his parents- Relationship
    2) He rested from all the over worked nerves and thoughts letting his body recondition- Rest and healing
    3) He got his finances in order- Harmony
    4) He walked to his church and did the Garden- Exercise and relationship with nature
    5) He got back to his faith- Relationship
    6) His reconnection with his old friends brought back more healing energy- Relationship
    6) He Talked daily with friends- Letting go- Relationship
    7) He drink wine moderately and even more- Happiness , Joy, Relationship
    8) He got healing from the nature by the sunshine and the ocean air- Relationship
    9) He played dominos - Relationship
    10) He woke up when he felt like it, worked the vineyard and took naps in the afternoons
    11) Dare I say he cast away troubles and worries.

    Im going to hang this list on my Wall- id love to get to 102 happy:). Now I believe I can.

    He sure seemed to be doing a lot of connecting back to life-
    He did have a good view on the cure id say.

    Thanks for sparking up some interest in the old man- he lived life to the full for sure
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
    Lily Rose and G.R. like this.

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