I got about 10 hours of vacation time on my 10 day work trip. I worked ungodly hours in a place some people would call paradise and I finally got an opportunity to actually see some of it. I used that free time and took a ferry to a nearby island. White sand beaches, a hilly countryside, vineyards everywhere.
I got off the boat and walked to a local beach. Then walked to a hill on the top of the island with a 360 degree view of the ocean. It was incredible. Every turn I took, there were breathtaking views of the ocean or the landscape. Then I walked to a vineyard for lunch. I don’t even drink wine and I drank it. And it was spectacular.
There is something about walking in a place which really gives you a feel. I hoofed it a pile of miles that day. And I loved every minute of it.
But on my walk, a few different times, I heard the sound of a truck rumbling. And the all too familiar sound of glass bottles clanging into other glass bottles as they were tossed into it. It was literally garbage day in paradise.
That truck passed me once…and smelled eerily similar to the garbage trucks in New York City. I imagine the inside of that truck looked the same too.
It was a great reminder that paradise doesn’t really exist. Not in the form that I picture it in anyway. When I think of paradise, I’m really thinking of vacation. A place where your bed is made for you every day. A place where you don’t have to clean up. A place where it’s sunny most days. Where the views are prettier than home. Where you eat out all the time. A place where you don’t have to take the garbage out.
It was a lesson that a life without responsibilities doesn’t exist. That I need to build my paradise into my regular life. Into my regular responsibilities. This is much easier said than done. But paradise won’t ever really exist without doing this.
I’ve documented my thoughts on just changing your mindset. I don’t know how that’s possible if you are in really bad situations in several aspects of your life. This is as much or more about your physical surroundings (job, home, health, financial security, etc.) as it is altering your mental state. But it is some combination of both.
You cannot just change your job and expect to be in a great place. You cannot just move into a better apartment and expect the rest of your life to be all roses. They did a study on lottery winners, and they found that 2 years after they win the lottery, they go back to the same level of happiness they experienced before they won. The luster of the new money wears off. You need to work on changing your mindset as well as your situation. You need to work on building paradise into your everyday life.
A vacation, an escape from every day responsibilities, will most times be a welcome break. It gives you a rest. A chance to catch your breath. But just keep in mind that there is a garbage day in paradise too.
If your version of paradise doesn’t include garbage day, then you are thinking in fiction. The trick is to find paradise within your reality.