Thursday, June 24, 2004

Sleepwalking through Paradise

As I was walking on the beach early yesterday evening, I thought: if people could see where I am right now, I'm sure they would find it hard to understand why I didn't choose to spend every day of the past four years here. And I thought about all the times I've stayed away from my favorite beach. How sometimes months would go by between my visits. Months. It seems insane to me now, but then I remember how I felt during those times...and how I was just trying to hold on.

It's easy to observe someone's life and think how 'lucky' they are in certain ways. I'm as guilty of that as the next person. And living in the Caribbean makes me a big target for those kinds of thoughts, because lots of people fantasize about leaving the 'real world' behind and spending their days lolling on a warm, tropical island. But unless one is independently wealthy, living here isn't a whole lot different than living anywhere else. We still get up and go to work at regular jobs--we just do it in a place where it's warm every day and where we're surrounded by gorgeous water which gives us beautiful beaches. It's possible to sleepwalk through one's life regardless of the setting. And I did that for a chunk of time--probably about two years, to be exact.

As some people know, 2002 was one of the hardest years of my life. I won't elaborate here on why that was...but it was. And it was made even harder because I live in the tropics. Some people have a hard time understanding how one could possibly be depressed when one lives in 'paradise.' But I was deeply depressed, and in keeping with my character hardly anyone knew it. I kept up a very good front and went about my life as if it was business as usual...by day. But once I was home, I rarely left.

The whole north side of our condo is floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. And since we prefer fresh air over air conditioning, we have the sliders open 24/7. It's a small condo but it feels larger than it is because of the windows--and having the doors open gives us the effect of always feeling like we're bringing the outside in. Every single day of the year, we feel the breeze and hear the sounds of our surroundings. It's been an absolutely lovely way to live...and it's been my sanctuary through some rough times.

Last year, things began to get better. Some things changed and I began to rebound. And maybe because I've had a peaks-n-valleys kind of life -- because it's been filled with some fabulous highs and some heart-wrenching lows -- I savor the good times even more. Because truth be told, I wouldn't enjoy walking on the beach as much as I do now...if I hadn't spent that time sleepwalking through my life.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

O Marilyn-- I hear you. How we experience life is within us and not the environment. But it is nice to know that when you came out from that "valley you were in such a beautiful paradise. -- bluepoppy

7:42 AM  
Anonymous MSB said...

So sorry to hear that 2002 was a hard year for you. Glad things are better now.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous MSB said...

So sorry to hear that 2002 was a hard year for you. Glad things are better now.

10:58 PM  

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