Friday, February 6, 2015

Island time, defined.

 Island time

I'd never heard of the term "island time" until I spent some time in the Caribbean, in the islands. When I first heard the term, it was often spoken with Western values...fellow boat owners or ex-pats who were trying to get something done, on Western time, and it just wasn't happening. Long lunches, siestas, red tape, power outages, spontaneous national holidays, etc. From a Western point of view, residents of the Caribbean islands operate at a totally different pace than residents of, say, Washington DC or New York City. (Heck, doesn't everyone operate at a different pace than New Yorkers?!) I get it. Born, raised, and having spent the majority of my life stateside, being impatient is almost like an inherited character trait.

Definitely not on island time. Image courtesy of
You should have seen me in line at Starbucks the other day. (Yes, that was me. Loudly sighing, tapping my foot, checking my phone, sighing again.) By the time I got to the car and gave the girls their promised cake pops, I was ranting up and down about indecisive people and bad customer service. Then I laughed. The girls were happy and my husband was taking a minute to check facebook. The only person who was upset was me. Hang on, didn't I just write and publish a book all about how to live on island time in the rat race?

Island time, as a state of mind

So what does island time mean? It certainly doesn't mean getting all huffy while I wait in line at Starbucks. If I type "island time" into my Pinterest account, I get flooded with images of turquoise water, hammocks, and white sand beaches. Yeah. That's island time. But, to me, it's so much more than that. It's a state of mind. And if it's a state of mind, it can be independent of geography. Of course lounging in a hammock and sipping a rum punch are very conducive to island time, that's not necessary. How do you feel when you're lying in that hammock?

Connected to nature.

Easier said than done

I type this as one of my girls is napping on the living room floor after screaming for half an hour that she wasn't going to sleep and the other one is on and off fussing in her bed. Typical toddler: deliriously happy, no, wait, furiously angry. I have a lot of background chatter that pulls at my heartstrings and makes it very difficult to achieve that kind of hammock relaxation.

Relaxing in a hammock, figuratively

Hanging out with my girls. Not on a tropical beach, but definitely relaxed and happy.
But I also know what relaxing like that feels like, and I try to order my priorities and my to-do list to be more conducive to internal island time. I cross things off without doing them. If it needs to get done, it'll get done. I go outside, a lot. I meet with friends, a lot, and create and embrace my community. I do things that make me happy - I cook, I bake, I write. I embrace the concept of mañana, mañana. And I still get stressed. There is always a million things to do and places to be and people to see. But I try to prioritize the here and now with the goal of living the good life today. Being happy, today.

How about you? What does your island time look like?

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