It’s been over 3 months since I departed for the Exumas on what would turn out to be an unforgettable adventure full of new experiences, new friends, lessons learned and a whole new perspective on life. I’ve had time to reflect on what is important and meaningful in this life. Time to really process what I take for granted, what my priorities are, and what I really need vice what I actually just desire. Unfortunately, like so many others, I had to remove myself from my current environment to understand this. I had to step outside of my comfort zone, release the security blanket, and stare risk right in the face. Derek Sivers, a serial entrepreneur that I find extremely fascinating says, “if you’re scared of something, go do it.” Only then will we really discover what we’ve been missing and/or what truly makes us happy.
So now I’m back in the states and I no doubt look at life through a new lens. As if I spent years on a deserted island and then rescued one day and dropped right back into the hustle and bustle of the U.S. (which for the record I still believe to be the greatest country on Earth). Just a 3.5 week trip was all I needed to re-evaluate my priorities. In just 3.5 short weeks, I discovered the laundry list of things I take for granted that others aren’t so fortunate to have.
But are we really the fortunate ones?
It is now crystal clear that my level of happiness is in direct proportion to the number of options I have to choose from each and every day, whether it be what to have for breakfast or where to buy new shoes. In the U.S., we are faced with hundreds and thousands of choices on a regular basis. On top of that we are inundated with the noise of advertising, social media, politics, and depressing news coverage. And I am a sucker for it. I’m convinced that the answer to my happiness is simplicity. Given my neurotic nature, choices are the enemy. Give me more than a few choices and I become anxious that I won’t make the right one. I fall victim to “choice overload” too easy and I know I’m not the only one. Others just don’t realize it yet. This idea, called the Paradox of Choice, hypothesizes that “too much of a good thing has proven detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being” and that “eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives.”
There’s something to say about less is more. It seems to be true in so many ways, figuratively of course. What I find most appealing about living in Great Exuma, is the shift from an extrinsic based life to a more intrinsic one. The last thing I worry about in Exuma is what I’m driving, what I’m wearing, and how nice my dishes are. My focus is more about where I will snorkel today, who I am going to have peas and rice with, and how I can make a difference. I am captivated by how resourceful one must be. You can’t just go to Napa Auto Parts to get that much-needed engine part, or to Walmart to get new window curtains, or to Five Guys for the best little bacon cheeseburger ever made. Islanders have to consistently reuse, recycle, or invent. And I appreciate the heck out of that. Imagine a world where we have to actually use our creativity to solve a problem instead of just going to the store to buy it. What a concept. Perhaps I should have been born 200 years ago. Maybe my personality would have been better suited to live when we weren’t faced with so many choices.
When we strip our lives of these choices and external noise, we can finally enjoy the little things that we take for granted…the stars in the sky, the honey bees drinking from a puddle of water, or the storms that roll across the water. All acts of nature that I observed intently and with much delight during my trip. Rosemary is to thank for that. It really makes life that much brighter and that much lighter, and that, friends, is why the simple life is my new mission. Thanks for reading and stay tuned. Now get your ass to Exuma.