Why Every (Happy) Person Needs a Greek Mom
6. You are your own capital.
We had a family friend from the northern city of Thessaloniki. He was very successful and wealthy. One time he came to visit us and he had put on weight; he seemed run down. He was out of breath just climbing the stairs of our apartment. My mother took one look at him and said, ‘I don't care how your business is doing—you're not taking care of you! You're smoking, you're eating fatty food, and you're not getting rest! You are your only capital. There are only so many withdrawals you can make from your bank account. You'll go bankrupt if you don't make some deposits soon!" Then she took him to the hospital and, it turns out, he had a clogged artery.
All of my life, I've remembered this phrase, when I'm pulled into too many directions. We all need to stop and invest in our own health—and selves.
7. Sing your worry away.
When I moved to New York to live on my own, it was a very challenging, lonely time. I was writing my first book and I missed my family. My mother would call me and sing different Greek songs about love and life and the sea. She would even leave them on my answering machine. Now, if I'm worried or upset, I'll do this myself. I don't care where I am. I sing to calm myself down, to release the stress.
8. You are here for the joy.
My mother passed away 12 years ago. I was right beside her, holding her hand. Today, I can still hear her talking to me. I hear what she wrote me in letters while I was in school—worried and alone—when she told me, "Darling if you're unhappy, remember, you are here to bring your joy. You're not here for the worry. You are not here to be good at math"—because I was terrible at math. "This is not the point of why you are here on the planet. You are here for the joy!" Which is the same reason we're all here.