There are moments in life when you get the time to stop and think. What if? Could I? Should I? What am I doing? Where am I going? These are all questions that may have crossed your mind and as you get older you cannot put off answering them. This is a short life and not a dress rehearsal. So is your mid-sixties a good time to change your lifestyle?
My husband and I over the years have fallen in love with the Greek island of Corfu. We like to visit at least once a year. We have discovered a very peaceful way of life that still has lots to offer for us to do and discover. The weather is perfect, the people very friendly and welcoming. The cost of living is affordable because you don’t need much. For example, petrol is actually slightly more expensive (even now) than in the UK however one doesn’t drive around much so in three weeks we only used a small amount.
What we love is that no one is interested in the size of your car, your personal background, or how much money you have or don’t have. Life is for just enjoying the day and taking time to do it.
As one of my girlfriends said no one ‘tuts’ at the supermarket checkout if you have forgotten something or shout at you if you have parked in the wrong place. They laugh when you pay for something and then forget to pick it up, and they keep it safe until you return. We are guilty of all of these.
Life is much slower in Greece but that is so much more conducive to a peaceful way of living.
Holidays in Greece conjure images of beautiful beaches bordered by turquoise waters, fascinating cities filled with historic monuments and museums, healthy and delicious cuisine and most likely, smiling faces. This is what Greece is all about: hospitable and friendly locals willing to show visitors the beauty of their country. But actually living there is obviously very different. Wouldn’t we all love to be on holiday all the time?
Why we love Greece
Greeks have a strong sense of family. More often than not, you will see a family of three or four generations pile into a taverna for a rewarding meal together. Besides, Greeks love children. If you find yourself in a restaurant with a crying toddler, chances are, the staff and other customers will never give you a hard look due to the disturbance. They will most likely give you a smile and maybe even offer some help.
Greek cuisine is made up of dishes made with the most humble and basic ingredients. And you know what? Simple is good and sometimes even better. All the ingredients shine and even if there is a small pool of olive oil at the bottom of the plate, the food is healthier than most of the cream-heavy, sodium-filled concoctions you will find in most restaurants around the world.
When we were in Corfu we ate the simplest of meals. Breakfast was Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit, local honey and nuts with a glass of fresh orange juice. Often lunch was just bread and dips, like Taramasolata, Homous etc, and dinner some grilled fish, salad and rice. Greek wine has progressed so much since the days of my youth and paint-stripping Retsina. Many of their local wines have won international awards and Domaine Costa Lazaridis Rosé 2021 is one such wine.
For some Greek recipes go to our Recipe section.
Greeks love and know how to party. Whether it’s a birthday celebration, a work promotion, a wedding or simply a Panigiri, you can be sure that there will be music, dancing and of course, loads of food. And don’t be surprised if you see people twice your age showing their best moves on the dance floor while you are barely digesting your plate of food. This is just how Greeks, young and old, celebrate.
Greeks are resilient. They may be inflicted with the worse economic crisis the country has seen in decades, but you will still see them celebrate the tiniest events of their life as if they were fine. They will still be hopeful and find something positive. Despite having endured hardships, such as dictatorship, corruption or wars, Greeks find their strength within more durable things like family and have an incredible support system, which helps them face the hard days ahead.
So considering a change in your lifestyle is a big decision. If you discuss this with your friends and family they will always have an opinion. Aren’t you too old? Will you make new friends? Do you want to be far away from your children? Won’t your children need support when they have children? Are there good hospitals and healthcare nearby?
All of these questions are important however at the end of the day you have to also think about living your life to the full and not just rolling into old age and its consequences. We are a different generation from our parents. A high percentage of women over 60 are still working and so we are not taking automatic retirement. Our brains are active and hopefully, our bodies are too so my advice is to make hay while the sun shines!
Of course, following Brexit moving to another country has become very difficult however these are problems that can be solved and if you really want to do something then you should try. I am not suggesting making such a dramatic move as changing country however, experiencing another lifestyle does make you reassess your own. And I think that is a good thing. The pandemic also made us re-think what we are living for. Quality of life is more important than constantly striving for more of everything.
We have all been inspired by Dame Deborah James who sadly passed away this week. And in her words I end with…“find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope.”
Perhaps a simplification of life is what it all comes down to so watch this space and see what my husband and I decide to do.