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更新时间:2017-12-15 13:21:14 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Greek island with the key to longevity

With thin, white hair pinned to the side and thick glasses perched on the bridge of her nose, Ioanna Proiou slid her wrinkled, sun-spotted fingers over the strands of baby-blue wool stretched across her heavy wooden loom. She clanked a lever forward on the handmade machine again and again, a technique she has perfected over 90 years.

约安娜·普洛伊奥(Ioanna Proiou)一头稀疏花白的头发,一侧别着头发夹,鼻梁上戴着一副厚厚的眼镜。她的手指满是褶皱和阳光斑点,轻轻滑过沉重的木制织机上的浅蓝色羊毛。她一遍遍地向前拨动手工机器上的控制杆,这个她已经操作了90年,如今已非常娴熟。

With that loom, Proiou creates the woven bags and clothing she sells from her little shop in Christos Raches, a village of 300 residents on the Greek island of Ikaria, a nine-hour ferry ride across the Aegean Sea from Athens. As her arms moved in rhythmic fashion, the loom shaking slightly, the 105-year-old told me how much she still loves her job.

普洛伊奥使用织机编织了很多袋子和衣服,在赫里斯托斯·拉什(Christos Raches)村的小店里出售。村庄位于希腊伊卡里亚岛(Ikaria),拥有常驻居民300人,从雅典穿过爱琴海坐渡轮九个小时即可抵达。这位105岁高龄的织女一边有节奏地轻轻摆动着双臂,一边向我诉说她对这份工作的热爱。

“Do something in your life that stirs your passion,” she advised me. “When my husband died decades ago, I continued doing what I love. Later, someone else proposed to me, but I said 'no'. I am married to my loom.”


Not far from where Proiou sells her wares, Christos Raches’ main square is quiet and calm. Locals sip coffee in the shade of leafy plane trees and exchange pleasantries outside their terracotta roofed homes. Business owners open and close their doors on no set schedule. Many of the shops operate on an honour system: customers take what they please and leave money on the counter in return.


It’s a fairly common scene on the Greek islands, but Ikaria is different: here, one third of the island’s population lives to be more than 90 years old. Along with Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan and Loma Linda in California, Ikaria is a Blue Zone, one of five designated places where people live the longest.

这一幕在希腊岛屿上相当普遍,但在伊卡里亚岛却截然不同:伊卡里亚岛的岛民中有三分之一能活到90岁以上。与意大利的撒丁岛、哥斯达黎加的尼科亚岛、日本的冲绳岛和加利福尼亚州的洛马琳达一样,伊卡里亚岛是一个蓝色地带(Blue Zone),是公认的五大人类生活长寿地之一。

Experts often cite a healthy diet and an active lifestyle as key to a longer life. The medical professionals and anthropologists associated with the Blue Zone project also note the importance of close family ties and involvement in faith-based communities. Ikarians make an effort to stay closely connected to their families and neighbours, and the elderly play significant roles in the community. Grandparents often help raise grandchildren or run businesses. But Proiou credits her longevity to her passion for weaving and her outlook on life. “Do not want more than what you really need. If you envy others, that can only give you stress,” she told me.


Retired doctor Christodoulos Xenakis has another theory about how Ikarians avoid unnecessary anxiety. We met briefly during my first hour on the island and we had agreed to meet again, though tracking him down wasn’t easy.

克里斯托杜勒斯·西纳基斯(Christodoulos Xenakis)是一位退休医生,提出了另一套关于伊卡里亚岛民如何避免不必要焦虑的理论。在我刚上岛的一小时里,我们匆匆相见,同意再见一面,但追查他的下落并不容易。

“No-one really sets appointments here,” he shrugged when I greeted the 81 year old – who is considered a young man by Ikaria standards – a few days later in the village. Time is an important part of life on Ikaria, Xenakis explained, but not the way most people think. “It’s more like ‘see you in the morning, afternoon or evening’. We don’t stress.”


That’s because, Xenakis said, Ikarians spend their days with purpose. He excitedly told me about his latest project organising the Ikaria Senior Regatta, a boat race for which the minimum qualifying age for captains is 70. Twenty participating crews sail a 14-nautical-mile route from neighbouring Samos island to Ikaria and back.


“It’s not really a race,” Xenakis said. “The regatta shows we can still do it and we are capable.”


“There’s always something to do with your time,” he added. “But when you do things that make you happy or others happy, how can you not feel healthy, feel better or feel good?”