This western custom of chastising ourselves for having a fabulous time over the holiday season by making New Year’s resolutions is a terrible idea. A much better idea- resolve to embrace life. Mediterraneans are notoriously good at this. Here are a few Greek habits worth adopting for a fulfilling 2018:
New Year’s Resolutions, Greek Style:
(Although, making resolutions is not a Greek custom. Moreover, they already do these things.)
1. Lighten Up.
Metaphorically, that is. Going on a diet is a popular January plan in Greece, too. What’s different here though- weight is not so taboo. It’s just the inevitable consequence of of indulgence. The remark “Ah- you’ve put on some weight” isn’t necessarily an insult. Don’t let it shake you.
2. Drink a little.
Just make sure you are drinking the right way- never without food, and never without friends. And for the right reason- to engage with others, and to embrace joy. Here’s more on Mastering the Art of Greek Drinking.
3. Shop a lot.
Not for clothes and cars and canapes, but for groceries. You could buy everything you need on one weekly trip to a supermarket- but think of what you would miss. The Mediterranean habit of visiting a dozen specialty stores and markets several times throughout the week strengthens the fabric of the community. You build relationships. And you get so much nicer stuff!
4. Stay out late- with your kids.
Greek kids participate fully in everything. They have a bath and hit the sack early-ish most nights, but if there’s something fun going on, they tag along. Children curled up asleep under coats on restaurant banquettes while they parents linger at the table does not look like negligence- it looks like togetherness. The best blogger trips we ever take with Travel Bloggers Greece are with the family bloggers’ kids in tow. (Thank you Celeste, Marianna, Kathy and Callie, and Marianne)
5. Live Seasonally.
Once you have a close connection with your purveyors, you have a closer connection with with the earth. You’ll know when fresh soft cheese is at its sweetest, and butter is at its richest. And you’ll grow to embrace fleeting but intense pleasures of enjoying everything at its peak. Not just artichokes, but experiences.
6. Slow Down.
Way down. For example, take a ridiculously long time over coffee. (It’s not just a drink; it’s a social ritual that definitely does not come in a paper cup.)
7. Dress Up.
A recent trip to California reminded me of the relative sartorial formality of southern Europe. It gives the day a sense of occasion. Wearing vintage gives it even more.