Whaddyadoallday? Real Life on a Desert Island Rotating Header Image

Milestones

I’ve been remiss in writing. I apologize. I’ve been distracted and busy with things. Not entirely ‘I’m living on a desert island’ kind of special circumstances things (though there have been the usual suspects of internet problems and cable issues and trying to get a wee retaining wall built). These have just been general living things and planning special occasion things. In addition to the minor milestone of this week marking the 12th anniversary of our coming to live in Anguilla, Michael and I will be celebrating a big wedding anniversary in May and are planning an indulgent one-month holiday in Italy. Coincidental to that, I wanted to send Michael on a special (we won’t mention the year) birthday bonding trip with his children. So he is just finishing up a week in Scotland with his son and a week in Italy with his daughter.

It’s always funny and sad how time gets away from you. Michael’s kids are grown now, really grown, married adults with grandchildren thrown in, living their own adult lives. Shockingly, my stepson is now as old as I was when we moved to Anguilla with a son of his own who’s going to be a teenager himself this year; and my stepdaughter is right at that point in her mid-thirties where she is exuberantly happy in her career. She’s feeling competent and challenged and appreciated – that perfect trifecta in one’s professional life. She loves where she is living. She loves her husband. She’s enjoying her life.

I can still remember being at that stage – vividly, in fact. I actually remember my specific moment of clarity. I was driving home in Northern California after a long but fulfilling day saving little animal lives. I was in my used but treasured red, convertible Mercedes 380SL. I was stopping at the dry cleaner’s to pick up my husband’s freshly pressed, Nordstrom suit. And it hit me. This, THIS, was my real, grown up life. All those years spent actually growing up and working towards getting there, and wondering what it might be like…how it would turn out…and suddenly there it was, clear as day, right in front of my eyes. I was in my mid-thirties, I was happily married, driving my dream car, living in California and feeling competent and challenged and appreciated in my career. That was my grown up life. And it was fabulous.

Then just a few, short years later, I walked away from all of it….from the car, from the house, from the job, even from a dry cleaner’s. (Well, not from all it. I still have the husband! ) It turned out, however, that on the other side of that inspiring pinnacle was the gnawing desire to do something else -to turn around and to create another kind of life. And that life, this life, certainly has its own kinds of challenges; but thankfully, it also has its own unique rewards.

For instance, the other day I was going to work in St. Maarten. I woke up in my oceanfront bedroom with my refreshing tropical breeze. I ate my breakfast of fresh papaya from my trees. I threw on my Bermuda shorts and sandals and drove my nearly twenty-year old, beat up, rusted out jeep to the harbor. Then I took the ferry from my British island across a channel in the Caribbean Sea and cleared immigration into French St. Martin. I strolled along the quiet, early morning streets of Marigot past the little café where Frenchmen were drinking coffee and smoking tiny European cigarettes to catch a public bus full of people speaking three different languages in order to travel over the hill to yet a third country to arrive at work (saving little animal lives).

And that’s when it hit me. This is my real, growing older life. This is it. It may not always be easy, but it certainly is interesting- my fabulous, uncommon, growing older life.

(Thank you, Michael.)

One Comment

  1. Mike Paul says:

    Georgia does a great job of sharing what iris like to live in Anguilla.
    This entry has gone a long way toward showing that changes are ultimately internalized and living on an island leads to that island living in your heart.
    I should know…I am the lucky guy she shares her life with.