Stop searching, you’re living in paradise
(Perfect place: people travel thousands of miles to visit Bermuda (Photograph by Bill Rosser))
Have you ever accidentally eavesdropped and discovered something deeply surprising about yourself? I have one instance in my memory that I return to from time to time. If you live here in Bermuda you will understand why.
A couple of months ago I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel, waiting for my husband. He was late and I used this time to flip through my Facebook timeline, responding to comments in passing.
From time to time I looked up at the people who came in or leisurely passed by. Across from me, a handsome young man in his 30s flopped on the couch and smiled at me affably, continuing his lively conversation on his phone. He was laughing and gesturing and I involuntarily listened. I remember thinking how happy and relaxed he was, his conversation so different from the usual business discussion.
“We are in a five-star hotel!” he exclaimed, unable to sit still. “If you could just see the view from my room! Perfect green golf course and this vast blast of turquoise water! The ocean here is so incredible … we literally sat on the balcony all evening. We just sat and looked at it. When was the last time I did something like THAT!”
He paused listening, and then laughed again. “No, I didn’t have my phone, if you can imagine that! No pics. This great band played in the lounge, Bob Marley and all, so we went down and danced till we dropped. Then I tried this local fish soup. It was seriously strange looking, but you add black rum … yeah, BLACK rum and this spicy stuff and it rocked! Hey, we weren’t so lucky with the weather, but we still spent a lot of time on the beach. So gorgeous! I mean, it was still way warmer than DC. I have just one world for this place: PARADISE!”
I looked around with great surprise. What hotel is he talking about? This one? Of course, it’s this hotel! Bob Marley, my favourite artist I have heard a million times; fish chowder, which I love but take for granted. Outside, the same weather we complain about because it’s too windy and cold to swim. I sat and breathed deeply. How perfect. What a reality check.
The enthusiasm with which this man spoke about all he experienced here on the island, his sincere praise and appreciation, sobered me. Everything suddenly came into sharp focus. It was like opening the window after realising the glass needed a good cleaning. I looked outside and felt his same certainty: Bermuda is paradise.
How can we be lulled into ambivalence about our great good fortune? Is it really inevitable that you get used to everything? That we yawn in the lovely face of beauty? Do we think we will live for ever? How can we stop noticing? At what point do we fall asleep, oblivious when we are in a place that people travel hundreds, even thousands of miles to visit?
We start wanting something else more fascinating or exciting, with another tantalising taste or brighter colour. In this race, we can spend a lifetime forgetting that here and now, in the spot where we are at this very moment, we can already be happy.
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her here: ninalondon.com