Well…not really. There is no real trouble with paradise, it just seems like it sometimes. After all, paradise is pretty much that…paradise. The sun rises, the palm trees sway, the turquoise sea sparkles like a jewel. Paradise never really changes. You do. Or at least your perspective does. And there’s a name for the phenomenon…
Are you familiar with it?
If you are, then my guess is that you’ve lived on a rock yourself for an extended period of time. (In which case, congrats! Good choice!) Or you know someone who has. (Again, congrats! At least if they hosted you for a nice vacation. If they have not, well…)
If, however, you are asking yourself what this particular malady is, then read on…
In a nutshell it is the suffocating feeling you get that your rock of choice is closing in around you and that paradise is now anything but, making you question why you moved there in the first place.
You no longer appreciate the sparkling water. Blah! Nor the swaying palms. Annoying! Nor the sunny skies. Bloody hell it is hot! At which point, the inevitable occurs. You develop an undeniable urge to flee. An urge that you ignore at your peril. In fact, failing to treat Rock Fever in a timely manner can lead to a more permanent malady known as Leaving the Island for Good (another topic for another blog, my friends).
Rock Fever can strike without warning, but is usually preceded by one of three things.
- You haven’t left your rock for a long period of time. (Long is subjective, by the way. 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Totally depends on the type of rock dweller you are)
- You have recently tried to get shit done on your rock
- The weather on your rock is becoming unbearable (a/k/a “summer”)
If you’re truly unlucky, all these phenomenon will occur in quick succession (or simultaneously), causing an extreme case of Rock Fever. This will prompt you to feverishly hit refresh on the travel website to see if airfare has dropped. To anywhere. It doesn’t matter. The objective, as noted above, is to flee your current rock. As quickly as possible. In any direction.
But there are occasions when, due to circumstances beyond (or, let’s be totally honest, within) your control, you simply cannot get away. Perhaps you spent the last of your discretionary income on your latest Amazon order (and the exorbitant shipping charges – based on weight – to get said order to your rock doorstep…but hey, you really DID need that 20 pound Kitchen-Aid Mixer, didn’t you? Didn’t you?). Or you’ve already used up all your vacay time. Or you can’t find a pet/house sitter. Or whatever. You get the idea.
The bottom line is: You. Cannot. Get. Off. Your. Rock. (cue foreboding music: dum, dum, dummmmm……)
Unfortunately, Rock Fever doesn’t usually cure itself. You need to do something. Something to break up the monotony (yes, Virginia, there is monotony in paradise). You need to give yourself some sort of new experience, something that provides the (relative) distance from which you can glance lovingly back at your rock life and think “damn, I DO have it good back ‘home’!” Thus making you eager to return to your daily rock routine.
It can be a challenge dealing with Rock Fever, especially if you find yourself without a “get out of jail free” card, redeemable at your local airport. But rejoice island sisters and brothers, I have found an alternate cure! And it is both (a) easy and (b) affordable. Even better, it does not involve any shady TSA pat downs or overpriced drinks to kill time during an extended layover. Win!
What is this magical cure, you ask?
Find something “new to you” to do on your home rock. Pretty simple, no?
Now I can already hear you saying, “easier said than done,” and perhaps you’re right. I can’t promise you it will be simple to find that new adventure/spot/activity/place to “discover” so close to home.
Especially because, as anyone who has ever suffered from Rock Fever knows, when caught in the throes of this illness, one common side effect is whining “been there, done that” at any suggestion of possible rock entertainment (or is that just me?). But in the interest of your mental health, you need to expend that extra effort to find something interesting and out-of-the-ordinary to do on your rock.
Which is what I did the other day. Accidentally, as it happens. And it was ah-mazing!
I attended a wedding reception at a new oceanfront venue. (Yes, the wedding reception itself was amazing with a beautiful bride, way too much gin and a lost Sunday spent recovering on the couch.)
But for purposes of this tale, my ah-mazing discovery has more to do with the venue itself. It is a place I drive past countless times in my daily island life routine. Yet, until a few days ago, I never gave the place a second thought, because honestly…one oceanfront resort is just like the next, right? Ah, the arrogant folly of assumptions.
Attending the wedding reception revealed a little slice of paradise I’ve been wantonly ignoring for months since the venue opened. Turns out this resort (a) is super quiet, presumably because nobody else knows about it yet (so….shhhhh…let’s just keep this between you and me), (b) has killer views – views I have not already seen approximately one bajillionzillion times before from the other oceanfront resorts here, and (c) has the most luxurious cabanas that my Island Girl self has ever had the joy of relaxing in on this rock.
And I found out that for a mere $25, you can reserve your own cabana – WITH power outlets, WiFi and a great music playlist – for the whole day AND get two complimentary drinks, too. Right? Sign me up! Oh, and did I mention the nearby beach & swimming pool? And the delicious food served to you in said cabana? Say no more.
I immediately scheduled a cabana work day in my head. And actually followed through on it a few days later (another fault I have…great ideas that never get executed). I traded my iMac for my laptop, packed my bag and settled in for a chill “work” day in a totally new environment. And it was paradise. (All that was missing was a cute cabana boy to do my bidding, but I’ve suggested it to management and they said they’d work on it. Fingers crossed!)
Which brings me to the whole point of this story…there is no trouble with paradise (a/k/a where you exist…rock, mainland or otherwise)…just the occasional need for a mental reset. Which is what I did with my little cabana escape. And it worked.
And even if you’re not an island girl (yet! what are you waiting for?!), I think this strategy works for any situation that is feeling mundane, whether you live on a rock or elsewhere. Keep finding new stuff to do/try/experience to shake things up. Keep things fresh. It’s the secret to keeping life interesting. And avoiding the discontent that seeps in…no matter where you happen to call home.
As for me, I plan to make these cabana work days a regular part of my routine. I mean, somebody has to do it, right? There’s nothing lonelier than an unoccupied cabana by the sea. 🙁 And with a creative accounting approach, this is a legit business expense, right?
If you need me, you can find me in the cabana furthest to the left.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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