On the way to my morning Cappuccino in the Sardinian town of Dolianova I couldn’t help but notice a couple of old men sitting on a bench – doing absolutely nothing. Just looking content, observing life as it unfolds in the morning of the village.
I went over and asked if I could take some pictures of the idyllic scene. “Ma certo!” Of course, and if you want to have a look inside go ahead! I found out that they belonged to “circolo degli anziani”, a place where older people gather to spend time together. I looked through the gate and saw some older men playing chess at a table.
I took some pics, left for my cappuccino down the street and thought about the encounter with the old people. What is it that makes them look so happy and calm?
I believe it is the sense of constant community. They are all the time surrounded by people, sometimes interacting, sometimes just sitting quietly together. And when they are done meeting their friends at the “circolo” they just go home to spend time with their family.
As studies in England showed loneliness can actually shorten your life by 26%. It seems to be just as bad for your health as smoking or overweight and can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and depression.
The island of Sardinia has one of the highest rates of healthy centenarians in the world. So what is it that these Sardinians get right? It might be the company of friends and family.
Transferring this ancient wisdom into our lives means that we need to get involved with other people. Enroll in a painting class, maybe even a painting holiday with other likeminded people or look for company in any field that you are interested in. Studies in Denmark show that a sport where you interact with other people like tennis or soccer as opposed to just working out by yourself grants you almost 10 more years of life.
So spending time – together – is a winning factor!
Check out our website and learn more about the Sardinian way of life: