For the most part, you might think that living on a tropical island is pretty glamorous. Picturesque views of the volcano, warm weather (despite the annual 6 months of rain), 24 hour pool and gym. Onsite bar. In addition to all this, there is the major benefit of 12 weeks holiday per year, where you can leave said island behind and travel pretty much anywhere you like.
Yet, it turns out there’s a reason why those holidays are in place. It’s to combat against the dreaded Island Fever. Now this fever doesn’t come from the mozzies or drinking the water (which is potable on compound, by the way). Rather, it comes from being stuck in the same fricken routine day in, day out for weeks at a time. A routine that pretty much looks like: wake, gym, work, TV, bed. Repeat.
Of course, I know that most of our lives involve some form of routine, many of which probably resemble the one I have just described. To be honest, before we came here my routine was pretty similar; it just involved longer days. Then it would end with me spiralling into a pit of despair every Sunday afternoon, where I would find myself stuck ironing the mountain of our corporate workwear dreading and dreading soon starting another week of the same.
On the island there is, I’m happy to confide, no weekly pit of despair. At its worst, the current routine leaves me just a tad irritable (or some may say un poco cranky). This irritation comes from living in a gated environment, where, although it’s possible to leave, it’s a pain in the ass to do so. It comes from working and socializing with the same group of people every other day (lucky that most of those people are somewhat normal, and generally more amiable than yours truly). It comes from having limited options of entertainment. Which is why I found myself squatting on the floor on a Saturday afternoon poring over a jigsaw puzzle.
Let’s just say it. Island life can be fucking boring. And while I wouldn’t go back to my previous life, where the concept of spending two hours on a jigsaw puzzle was buried underneath the piles of ironing, house cleaning and garden maintenance; at times, it can be a struggle to keep oneself occupied. Basically, your options for a lazy weekend on compound are exercise, watch bad TV (thank God for Judge Judy) cook, mess around on the internet, read, or drink (and I’m not talking cups of tea). All things I would have considered a totally decadent way to spend my weekends once upon a time.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely thankful for my free weekends, and to not be spending my Sunday afternoons up to my teeth in business shirts. Weekends should be about relaxing; finding balance (and accepting every social invitation that comes your way, even at times if you feel like you’d rather not).
They’re about appreciating what you have and relishing time that is purely yours (at least, within the confines of the fence).
And sometimes they’re just about finding that next piece of the puzzle.