On this particular day, my mind tries to convince me the only thing between me and paradise is the sand between my toes.
I’m standing on a beach, millions of tiny soft white granulated rocks pushing up between my toes, contemplating how I’d love to live in this particular piece of real estate. We all harbor our own personal paradise – a secluded cabin in the woods, a small place along a lake, or maybe even the allure of spending our days chasing a little white ball along green fairways.
On this special day, I’m standing in mine – a place where ‘dressed up’ is generally defined by wearing some sort footwear.
In a small town located on a tiny island in the Caribbean, my mind is racing of how I could one day call this place home. Business development – or the skills to successfully operate a business seem as rare as finding an ice scraper. I could make this work, I say to myself as my toes sketch a random design in the sand.
We all dream. And for the most part, dreams are free.
On this particular day I’ve made a new friend. For him, the sand below his feet is a long way from his home where tall buildings are the norm and trees are considered a curiosity.
We are both looking for ice – a commodity controlled by a single person on this little town consisting of a handful of buildings in different stages of disrepair.
Our conversation moves to our temporary visit to paradise and how even searching for a simple bag of ice can become an adventure.
“Someone needs to drop a couple self-service ice machines in this place,” I said in a statement intentionally laced with both jest and seriousness.
My new friend laughs.
The man from the land of tall buildings mentions he personally knows someone who actually made the jump to paradise only to discover there are some diseases a shot from the local health department can’t protect you from.
“Yeah, a friend of mine one tried to move his business down to a place like this once,” says my new friend. “Said after a while he contracted ‘Keys Disease’.
At one point or another, everyone dreams of chucking it all and moving to the place of their dreams. Sure, we tell ourselves, I can make a living there, these people just don’t know what they are doing. Just wait until I get there.
“Yeah, he moved down to the Florida Keys with intentions of doing some building and living in paradise.”
“He was making a go of it until he slowing began finding himself a beer or two in the afternoon. And before long, he found the Keys changing him. In the end, he became one of them.”
I think of his words as I look around at this place where an old woman owns the key to only ice shed in town and the phrase ‘hours of operation’ is an unfamiliar string of words.
I guess my new friend is right. I’m pretty sure the fire burning in my belly would eventually cool over time. And with that cooling, the fresh inventory of ideas I’d plan to import would fade as paradise’s invisible influence began to change me.
In the end the attraction to paradise is probably more between the ears than in the actual surroundings of where your feet stand. Paradise is a state of mind – a place where our dreams live and thrive in a blend of the unknown reality. And in the end, thinking we can change paradise to our expectations is probably the worst thing we can do.
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